About Afandou Beach
Afandou, on the island of Rhodes in Greece, is a village lying 2km (1.25 miles) inland from the coast. In Greek, ‘afanto’ means ‘invisible’, and in the past it was strategically placed so that marauding pirates could not see it from the sea. Today it is a bustling, workaday Greek village with a permanent local population of 7,500, offering a good selection of bars, taverns, restaurants and supermarkets. Since the 1980s it has also turned into a popular holiday resort, thanks to its impressive 4km (2.5 mile) stretch of beach. Through high season, a miniature train makes regular runs from Afandou’s main square, shunting visitors 2km (1.25 miles) between the village and the beach, and using a flyover to pass over the busy main road. For many visitors, Afandou’s main draw is its 18-hole golf course, overlooking the sea.
One of the less-developed beaches on Rhodes, Afandou Beach is a 4km (2.5-mile) stretch of fine pebble and sand giving way to a clear, shallow, calm sea. Several sections of the beach have been awarded a Blue Flag for cleanliness, and are equipped with sun beds and umbrellas, watersports facilities, and overlooked by a handful of informal tavernas and snack kiosks. Other sections of the beach remain untouched by development. The local council have initiated a scheme to plant more palm trees along the beach.
Beyond the beach:
The old village of Afandou, lying 2km (1 mile) inland from the beach, is a typical Greek settlement with its own workaday atmosphere. Although there are no buildings of great architectural importance here, visitors might check out the 16th-century frescoed church of Pagagia Katholiki, built on the site of an early Christian basilica on the road down to the beach, or walk up to the hilltop church of Profitis Ilias, offering impressive sea views.
Afandou Beach is perfect for kids, being a safe distance from busy traffic and offering calm, shallow water. The miniature train running between the village and the beach is bound to appeal to kids too. Just 5km (3 miles) south of Afandou lies Faliraki, home to Faliraki Water Park (www.water-park.gr), a vast complex of pools, giant Jacuzzi and slides, said to be one of the biggest water parks in Europe. There is also a Luna Park funfair and go-kart track in Faliraki.
The island’s elegant capital, Rhodes Town, is contained within impressive medieval fortifications and is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The cobbled streets of the atmospheric Old Town lead through a labyrinth of souvenir shops and tavernas, across leafy squares overlooked by mosques with proud minarets, and up to the monumental 14th-century Palace of the Grand Masters. From mid-June to late September, the green valley of Petaloudes (Butterfly Valley), located 25km (16 miles) southwest of Rhodes Town, is worth checking out for its black-and-white striped butterflies. There are also organised one-day boat trips departing from Rhodes Town. These take visitors to either the unspoilt island of Symi, northwest of Rhodes, or to Marmaris in Turkey to explore the bustling bazaar and the Marmaris Castle Museum above the harbour.
Play a round of golf at Afandou Golf Club (www.afandougolfcourse.com). This 18-hole, 72-par course was designed by Donald Harradine and overlooks the sea. Carts, clubs and trolleys can be hired, there is a clubhouse with a bar and the golf course is open all year.