When you want to see “another” Rhodes and turn away from the coastal resorts, the mountain village of Embonas will be a suitable option. Its location has helped it to maintain the traditional way of life — it concerns traditions, cuisine and clothing. Isn’t it an ideal destination for a day trip in search of new experiences?
The climate of Embonas is milder than on the coast. It is always cooler in the mountains, so the average temperature in summer reaches +21 °C / + 26 °C.
Who should visit this place? Those who are tired of big cities, looking for a place to go with the whole family, and who like long walks: the surrounding area of the village is a good place for trekking.
How to get
The village of Embonas is built on the slopes of Attavyros — the highest mountain in Rhodes, at an altitude of 850 m, 50 km from the capital of the island. You can get here on the buses of the RODA transporter, which serves the western coast of Rhodes. The bus departs from the RODA bus station located at Averof Street. Travel time is 1 hour and 25 minutes. The ticket costs €5.
Although it is cheaper to get to Embonas by public transport, this way is not the most convenient. Buses run from Rhodes to the village about three times a day, but within long intervals of each other. The best option is to rent a car. Then you will not have to adjust to the schedule or to be afraid to miss the bus. Instead of doing it, you can stay in Embonas for a night at a local hotel.
How to move?
There is a bus route that crosses the village and connects it with other villages in Rhodes. You can travel around the village by car, it would be even better to travel on foot, by a rented bicycle or quad bike. And park the car on the outskirts — therefore you will not have to look for a parking space.
What to see?
The local wineries are Embonas’ pride. You can learn more about the long tradition of producing the “nectar of the gods”, by visiting the wine cellars. Here they will not only tell you the history of Embonas wine, but also arrange a tasting.
In the central square of the village, there is a small Folk museum with household items and crafts. The main Church of Embonas is located nearby. It is dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. The hidden treasure of the village is a waterfall. It is better to ask local residents to drive you and show this natural attraction hidden in the forests of Embonas.
Within 3 km of Embonas, you can visit protected cypress forest with a 1.35 km2 territory, which has a hiking trail. The path ends at the small but picturesque Church of St. George, which stands on a hill.
Artamitis monastery is located 7 km southwards of Embonas. It was founded in the 9th century. The monastery received its name from the temple of Artemis, on the site of which it was built. During the Turkish occupation, representatives of the intellectual class, scientists, and ordinary residents of Rhodes took refuge in the Artamitis monastery. Today the monastery is known for its iconostasis.
Just 9 km from Embonas, you will find the Kritinia castle. It is one of the oldest monuments in the mountain area of Rhodes. The castle was built in the 15th century at an altitude of 150 m, where no enemy could get. The impressive walls with coats of arms and the chapel have been preserved from this structure.
What to do?
The small but cozy village of Embonas has options to make your leisure time interesting. And so much that you will definitely want to come here again.
How can you spend an active time in Embonas if it is not a coastal village? An alternative to water sports is hiking around the surrounding area. Embonas is surrounded by green hills with citrus gardens and olive groves. Walking here is a real pleasure. If you climb one of the hills, you can get a better view of the village and its famous vineyards.
All shopping in Embonas means buying souvenirs. Of course, there are no boutiques with clothes brands. But there is what is called the soul of the people here. Local shops offer a wide range of textiles: tablecloths, napkins with embroidery, small colourful handmade rugs. It is worth to have a look of ceramics, wood products and silver jewelry. Among the gastronomic souvenirs in Embonas, you can choose wine, which is famous throughout the island, honey and olive oil.
There are no rides or entertainment for children in Embonas. But it will be interesting to visit the vineyards and walk with children along the hiking trails in the vicinity of the village.
Embonas is not the place to go for a nightlife. There are no bars, clubs or night parties in the village. But after sunset, you can go to one of the taverns, where live music sometimes plays in the evenings.
One of the most popular excursions in Embonas is visiting wineries. Many people come to the village from the other end of Rhodes to do it. In local cellars and wineries, you will learn about the characteristics of grape varieties, have a tasting and walk through the basements, having a look into the holy of holies.
Embonas is just 1 km from the highest point of Rhodes. Here, in the mountains, you can see the ruins of the temple of Zeus. You can get to the pagan sanctuary during a jeep tour.
Where to stay?
There is no much option of hotels in Embonas. There are only a couple of aparthotels where you can stay comfortably and feel at home. The number of rooms is small. The hotels are decorated in the traditional architectural style of mountain Rhodes.
What to taste?
Local residents are mainly engaged in animal breeding and viticulture. Therefore, it is impossible to refuse tasting Embonas wine, especially when it comes to traditional varieties of Bonatiko. Afiri wine is distinguished by excellent taste with subtle flairs of citrus and apricots. Today, Embonas is considered to be the centre of wine production in Rhodes. During the harvest season, you can see how the streets of the village are filled with baskets of grapes.
In addition to wine, high-quality olive oil, jams, and thyme honey are produced in Embonas. You will appreciate the variety of local spices by ordering meat with aromatic mountain herbs at the tavern. By the way, it is the meat from Embonas, cooked on fire that makes many people overcome kilometres and come to this hospitable mountain village.
Embonas in Rhodes is known for its holidays. The cauliflower harvest festival is held here in June, and the wine festival is held in August. Any holiday is accompanied by performances of folk ensembles in traditional local costumes;
If you are going to visit Embonas and stay here for the night, you need to make a reservation in advance.