Lindos is an important archaeological site and the landmark of the Greek Island of Rhodes.
In fact, visiting Rhodes and not seeing Lindos is similar to visiting Athens and not seeing the Acropolis 🙂
Nestled on the top of the hill, Lindos is a fantastic reminder of the glorious history. Ancient traces, a small village with whitewashed houses and a beautiful sandy beach in the bay make it today a must-see place on Rhodes, the island of the sun and Knights.
Guide: what to know before visiting Lindos
By the way, Lindos is always a few degrees warmer than the rest of the island.
Since it is a very popular tourist site, the best time to visit it is early in the morning, or late afternoon, to avoid crowds and heat as well.
How to get to Lindos
The small town of Lindos is located on the east coast of the island, approximately 50 km from Rhodes town.
There are several ways to get to Lindos.
- By car:
You can rent a car. a motorbike, or take a taxi – it takes about one hour. There is a parking lot near the main road.
Taxi costs approximately 70 EUR from town and about 85 EUR from the airport to Lindos.
- By bus:
The local KTEL bus departs from the centre of Rhodos town, and it takes about 1 hour and 30 minutes to get to Lindos. A one-way bus ticket costs 5,5 EUR in one way. Check the schedule before you go.
- By boat tours:
There are boat tours from Rhodes town to Lindos, and the trip lasts about two hours in one way. Usually, you have about three hours on Lindos and one or two stops for swimming in Tsambika Bay and Anthony Queen Bay, depending on the program. The price of an excursion depends on trip duration, whether it is a group tour or a private tour, etc.
- Organized tours:
You can book guided tours organized by local agencies by bus or minivan. The price depends on the program and usually includes a ticket for Lindos and a visit to other interesting places. Guided tours are a good way more about history, to save money and time, and especially to avoid long lines at the entrance.
So when you come to Lindos from the main road, it takes about 20-30 minutes on foot to get to the Acropolis. Just put on comfortable shoes because the path is slippery and rocky. Don’t forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and water with you, as well.
Opening hours and tickets for the Acropolis
The Acropolis is open during the whole year, but the time for a visit depends on the season.
From April to October, the opening hours are every day between 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Sometimes, like this July, because of the extreme heat, the Acropolis was closed from 12:00 AM to 5:30 PM, so check the opening time before you go. From November to March, it is open from 8.30 AM to 3.30 PM.
The entrance fee is 12 EUR for adults. For EU senior citizens and students, the price is reduced, and it is free for children under 18. You can buy tickets on-site, or online.
Note: Acropolis is not wheelchair accessible because of the steps and rocks. There is a small cafe on the path close to the entrance, but on the site, there are no restrooms or food and drink facilities.
A few words about the ancient history of Lindos
Over centuries, Lindos had an important role in the religious, cultural, political and military life in the Mediterranean.
According to a few findings, the first traces led to the Neolithic and the Bronze Age. Also, it is believed that the prehellenistic cult of Lindia existed in this place, in Mycenaen times.
The first traces of Lindo’s town date back to the 10th century BC when it was founded by the Dorians, one of the four major Greek ethnic groups, led by the king Tlepolemus of Rhodes.
In the 6th century BC, during the rule of Cleobulus, one of the Seven Sages of Greece, the first temple dedicated to the goddess Athens was built there, as a place of worship.
Lindians built ships and fortifications to resist various enemy attacks. During the Roman era, Lindos was a very important port. Becaouse of the strategic position between Asia Minor and the Greek islands and mainland, Lindos became a major trading centre as well. According to some inscriptions, Roman soldiers and emperors visited Lindos bringing offerings to the goddess Athena Lindia.
Also, Lindians were great sculptors. The most famous bronze sculpture was Colossue from Rhodes made by Lindian artist Chares in 280 BC. It is dedicated to the Greek sun god Helios, but it collapsed in 226 BC due to a terrible earthquake. This statue is one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World,
By the way, an Acropolis is a citadel at a high point in the city.
Standing on a high cliff at 116 m on the platform overlooking the sea, the Lindos Acropolis was ruined and restored a few times during its history. So let’s go for a walk through the ancient world of Lindos.
In this photo, you can see how the Acropolis looked like through various periods.
The First photo on the left side is the Archaic phase of the sanctuary. The second photo shows the Hellenic phase and the third photo is the Roman phase of sanctuary.
The photo on the right side shows the ground plan of the monuments of the Acropolis.
Ancient monuments are coloured in green: 1 – Semicirculal exedra; 2 – Relief ship; 6 – Hellenisticc vaults; 7 – Roman temple; 8 – Late Hellenistic stairway; 9 – Hellenistic Stoa; 10 – Propylaia stairway; 11 – Propyliaia; 12 – Temple of Athena Lindia; 13 – Portico of Psithyros.
Byzantine and medieval monuments are coloured brown: 3 – Medieval stairways; 4 – Medieval Headquarters building; 5 – Byzantine Church.
Votive exedra and the relief stern
First, at the entrance of the Acropolis, you can see the votive semicircular exedra with a triemiolia (warship) in relief. Actually, exedres were very common in the Greek sanctuaries. They served as a base for a statue, and at the same time, a seat for rest for pilgrims during visiting.
According to the inscription found on the exedra, during the 3rd/4th centuries AD, Aglochartos, one of the priests of the temple was planting olive trees on the Acropolis.
The relief stern was carved into the rock and it dates back to the early 2nd century BC. It was made by the sculptor Pythokritos, known for its statue of Nike of Samothrace, exposed now in the Louvre museum. The triemiolia was the speed Rhodian warship with a crew of 144 men, arranged in three rows.
Next to exedra, there is a stairway leading up to the castle, built by the Knights of Rhodes.
Passing through the dark gate we saw remains of ancient columns and various inscriptions, and we entered the citadel.
So you can turn left to the ruins of Medieval times or go along the winding stone path that leads to the next level, to the top of the Acropolis, as we did. This area is bordered by massive walls built by Knights on the remains of walls from the Byzantine period. Around the path are the remains of ancient columns with inscriptions, bases of monuments, the part of the exedra dedicated to the Roman emperor Tiberius Julie Cezar (42 BC – 37 AC) ), and on the left side are the remains of a stoa.
We climbed the smaller stairs to the upper level of the sanctuary to the most important building, the temple dedicated to the goddess Athena.
Goddess Athene Lindia
The temple in Acropolis is a sanctuary dedicated to Athene, the goddess of wisdom, warfare and handcraft.
She was one of the most famous goddesses in Greek mythology. There are several myths about her birth. One of them is that she was born from the forehead of her father Zeus, the king of the goods on Mount Olympus.
The dimensions of the temple are 8 x 22 metres. It was made of local limestone and marble, just like other buildings in Acropolis.
Once there were six columns at the front and back, and thirteen along each side. In the middle was a statue of Athena Lindia, like a symbol of protection for the town.
Today only several columns can be seen despite restorations of columns and foundations made by the Italians in the early 20th century.
Greek Stoa and Propylaea
The Temple of Athena Lindia was destroyed in 392 BC by fire. Then, the new temple was erected in the late 4th century BC in Doric style with a new Athene statue, as well.
Around the same time, the Stoa, a large Hellenistic building in a “U” shape was built close to the temple. Once it was 87 m long and it had 42 doric columns. Stoa is a covered walkway with columns and inside there was space for various activities and ceremonies.
Standing there, you can enjoy a breathtaking 360 view of the blue Aegean Sea and ancient ruins.
From Stoa, the wide stairway led to the Propylaea. It is a gateway, the entrance to the sacred area of the temple.
Going down the stairs, we arrived at the lower level of the sanctuary.
At this part, there are various ruins: bases and parts of columns, cisterns, Hellenistic vaults, and parts of the small Roman temple.
There are also ruins of the votive exedra of Pamphilidas, the priest of Athene Lindia from the 3rd BC.
Byzantine time and the Church Ayios Ioannis
During the Byzantine time, Lindos was a very important port in the Mediterranean trade routes. It was a period of great prosperity, which attracted many traders, as well as pilgrims. There were schools, libraries, and cultural institutions.
From this period today, you can see ruins of the Ayios Ioannis church, constructed in the 12th or 13th century.
An Early Christian Basilica from the 6th century was believed to be at that place.
During the Ottoman rule, the church was transformed into a mosque.
Just beside the church walls, there are ruins of the votive semicircular exedra of the priest Pashifon,
built in the last quarter of the 2nd BC century,
The rule of the Knights Hospitaller
When Jerusalem was captured in 1300 by Islamists, the Knights Hospitaller had to leave the city. First, they went to Acre and Cyprus, and in 1309, they came to Rhodes Island.
During the 14th and 15th centuries under their rule, Rhodes flourished and became a military force. Knights made a lot of innovations, castles, and fortifications around the island. One of the most important places is the Old Town of Rhodes and the Palace of the Grand Masters.
Also, the Hospitaller fortress in Lindos was constructed under the rule of Grand Masters, Antoine Fluvian and Pierre D’Aubusson.
All around the Acropolis, they built massive walls with towers. Lindos was a refuge place for locals as well.
Next to the stairs that lead to the entrance of the Acropolis, the Knights built their Headquarters building.
Actually, the Knights’ Headquarters was constructed to the north of the Byzantine Church,
and they were connected by a door in the narthex wall.
During the 200-year Knights’ rule of the island, the Ottoman Turks made several attacks trying to capture Rhodes. And then, in 1522, under the command of Sultan Suleiman the Magnificent, Ottomans captured Rhodes.
After six months of siege, the Knights had to leave the island. They wandered for seven years without their capital until 1530, when they came to Malta. The Knights built a new Maltese capital, Valletta, and named it after the grand master Jean Parisot de la Valette. More about their role in Malta you can read here.
Ottomans, Italians and the present time
Life was very difficult during Ottoman rule, especially during the War of Greek Independence (1821–29). A small Turkish garrison stayed in Lindos until 1844, but the Italians took Rhodes from the Turks in 1912. Finally, in 1947, the island became part of Greece state.
By the way, during the Italian occupation, the Lindos sanctuary was excavated by the Italian archaeologists Maiuri and Jacopi in 1910-1932. Later, the Danish archaeologists K.F. Kinch and Chr. Blinkenberg continued with excavations.
During the last renovations from 2000-2005, the previous errors in reconstruction were corrected. Ancient parts were completed using new material and were returned to their original place.
Around the back of the Acropolis, there are ruins of the ancient theatre dating from the 4th century BC, carved in the rock.
Since it was too hot, we didn’t visit it, so we went to the beach 🙂
Take a look at the stunning Lindos Acropolis, village and beach 🙂
The Lindos village
On the way to the Acropolis, you have to walk through the fairytale-like Lindos village.
It is a labyrinth of small houses and narrow cobbled streets.
Houses are traditionally whitewashed with flat roofs, decorated with flowers, and attractive pebbled mosaic flooring. Some of them date back to the 18th century. Actually, they are renovated and transformed into restaurants, bars, apartments, and small boutique hotels.
Enjoy shopping in several shops and find souvenirs, local products, soaps, art pieces, pottery items, and handmade jewellery.
The Church of Panagia is located at the centre of the village and it has an interesting campanile tower.
It was built in Byzantine times, in 1300, on the site of an older church. But it was restored several times, especially during the rule of the Knights of Rhodes, and later in 1927, during the Italian rule. The church is also known as the Virgin Mary’s Church.
The floor in the church is decorated with white and black pebbles in a zigzag pattern. This unique technique is called “chochlaki” and it can be found around Rhodes Island in various designs.
Strolling around the village you can find small restaurants and cafes, and enjoy Greek delicious meals and desserts.
Some of them are located on the roofs, with a fantastic view of Lindos Bay.
At the foot of the Acropolis and village, there are two beaches.
On the left side of the village, there is the bigger Lindos Beach. On the right side, there is the smaller Pallas Beach with a small harbour for tourist boats.
Both of them are organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, showers, public toilets (0,50 EUR), and a few taverns.
Just relax and enjoy gold sand and crystal shallow water, which is perfect for families with kids.
Also, you can try some water sports, such as a banana boat, jet skiing or parasailing.
Usually, both Lindos beaches are overcrowded every day during the summer season. But, because of the terrible fire situation in July this year, that day of our visit to Lindos, it was not crowded.
Small planes flew over Lindos all day to check the situation. Also, we saw planes taking water from the sea, since the area under the fire was a few kilometres from Lindos.
St. Paul’s Bay near the Acropolis
From the top of the Acropolis, there is a stunning panoramic view of the heart-shaped St. Paul’s Bay.
It is located just a short walk from Lindos village. Nestled between cliffs and the sea, there is a beautiful beach with crystal-clear waters and gold sand.
The bay got its name after the Apostle St. It is believed that he came to Lindos after a shipwreck, and stayed on the island for three months teaching locals Christianity. At the end of a small harbour, there is a tiny whitewashed St. Paul’s Chapel. Today it is a popular place for dreamy weddings, both for locals and foreigners.
Visiting Lindos and Acropolis
The last time I visited Rhoded 18 years ago, I was unable to visit the Acropolis because it was closed (probably because of the heat). But this year, despite a terrible situation with fires on Rhodes, my sister and I finally stepped into the ancient and fascinating Acropolis.
It was an amazing experience standing in the temple on the hill. I tried to imagine the goddess Athene Lindia.
The wind on my face carried the spirit of ancient times.
These Hellenistic stairs are known as the “Stairs to Heaven” because it seems that you are walking into the clouds.
And yes, you can feel that you are standing on the top of the world, just like the goddess Athene Lindia.
Definitely, it was worth waiting all these years for a moment between the blue sky and the endless blue sea.