Head for one of Rhodes' many beaches. The east side of the island is blessed with almost continuous sandy beaches and calm waters, whereas beaches on the west are mostly stony. The sea tends to be rougher to the west too, and hence better for surfing and kiteboarding – we recommend Surf and Kite Theologos. Alternatively, head to the south.
Afandou is the island's longest beach, at 4 kilometres, and has both pebbles and sand. It's not too developed but has good facilities, the waters are calm and shallow, and there's a mini-train in season from the shore to the large, attractive traditional working village of Afandou itself, 2km inland, with a big choice of good restaurants, tavernas, bars and shops. Afandou also has an 18-hole golf course overlooking the sea. Nearby Kolymbia retains its authentic charm and has lots of restaurants and cafés popular with locals.
Drive or take a taxi 10 minutes south from Afandou to Tsampika, a lovely long sandy beach surrounded by pretty hills, with watersports, a mini-market and a few snack bars.
With budding surfers, make for Gennadi Beach and Prasonisi, linked by an unspoilt stretch of coast in southern Rhodes. This region has quieter beaches that you might have to yourselves out of high season. Then drive across to Apollakia on the east coast, where the castle of Monolithos is an impressive clifftop ruin with divine views.
Head 5km south of Afandou to Faliraki, with a huge waterpark, a funfair and a go-kart track. The resort itself has a reputation for being a bit lairy and is certainly hectic, but the beach is long and sandy, with lots of tavernas and jet-ski hire. If you do stay here, the hotels near the waterpark are popular more with families than with clubbers.
Discover the popular beach resort, marina and archaeological site of Lindos on the east coast south of Afandou, overlooked by its acropolis, which was fortified by the Greeks followed by the Romans, Byzantines, Knights of St John and Ottomans. The charming if touristy village itself has cobbled streets lined by 16th-18th-century "captains' houses" and old churches, and cars are banned in favour of donkeys, bikes and mopeds – you can hire a donkey to take you up the acropolis, which offers stunning views.
Explore elegant Rhodes Town, the capital, in the north. A UNESCO World Heritage site, it has a remarkably well-preserved and atmospheric Old Town with medieval fortifications, mosques, cobbled streets and pleasant squares.
Between mid-June and late September, venture to Butterfly Valley (Petaloudes) 25km southwest of Rhodes Town, where you may see some of its dwindling population of black-and-white striped moths.
Hop on a boat and head further afield, on day-trips from Rhodes Town to the unspoilt island of Symi northwest of Rhodes or even to Marmaris in southern Turkey.