Carlton Centre Travel Branch's Assistant Manager, Dan O'Hagan holidayed to Greece in September 2020, when travel was permitted with restrictions. Read how his experience differed from pre-COVID holidays, and find out how he was still able to enjoy the beautiful island of Rhodes.
Rhodes is a great choice for the holidaymaker looking for idyllic beaches as well as rich cultural history to explore. With its rolling hills, uninterrupted miles of golden shores, and excellent facilities for tourism, Rhodes has something for everyone. The island’s unique contrast of cosmopolitan and traditional, and numerous cultural and archaeological sites make it the perfect holiday destination.
Although travel may have been quite different when I flew to Rhodes in September 2020, I was still able to enjoy my holiday and the beautiful sights of the island in a safe way, thanks to a number of new COVID-secure processes.
When I arrived in Rhodes I was blown away by how beautiful the area was. We stayed in a quiet resort right next to a sandy beach surrounded by bars and restaurants. About 60 per cent of them were open at the time and despite the laid-back Greek culture, had all implemented face coverings, table service and a midnight curfew - all very reassuring.
I spent most of my holiday enjoying gyros - a traditional Greek cuisine of pitta stuffed with meat, salad, tzatziki and chips. Of course I also treated myself to the odd pint of the local beer - Mythos. The Greeks tend to chill their glasses before serving, so the drinks are extra refreshing!
I went on a full-day excursion to the picturesque island of Symi via a lovely boat trip. The ferry was at 40 per cent capacity and included track and trace procedures, as well as mandatory face coverings.
The island of Symi is breath-taking - you'll probably recognise it, as it's the image they use on all the postcards. It's only a small town and most of the action revolves around the harbour so it was a nice change of scenery and I got to enjoy many of the quaint little family-run cafes in the area.
I'd highly recommend a visit to Rhodes Old Town. You really feel like you're stepping back in time when you enter the walled medieval town. Few destinations can boast so many layers of architectural history, with relics of the Classical, Ottoman and Italian eras entangled in a mind-boggling maze of twisting lanes. Obviously it was quieter than usual, but in normal circumstances the cobbled streets are buzzing with life. You can also find a variety of market stalls with local produce and handmade keepsakes to take home with you.
I'm definitely planning on going back to Rhodes and I've got my heart set on visiting Lindos village to see the dramatic archaeological site of the acropolis... I'll just have to pull myself away from my sun lounger first!
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