Monolithos .jpg

What is left of the castle stands upon the rock that gives this charmed spot its name mono lithos, meaning ‘lonely rock’. It can be reached by way of a narrow, steep staircase hewn out of the cliff face. Parking at the bottom of the crag we began the trek upwards. A lighter lunch might have been sensible, but the breathless hike to the top is worth it, not least to take a look around the ruined walls that encircle the remains of two small chapels and the cisterns, which would have provided for the basic needs of the garrison stationed here. The real reward for the climb, however, is the view. Beneath the vertiginous, 300-ft cliffs tiny, secluded beaches burrow into their secret coves. Out to sea, peeking through the heat-haze of breathless air, are two small islands moored offshore, and inland a lush pine forest floods the foothills of Rhodes’ second highest peak. Mount Akramytis rises some 2,700 feet above the tiny village glimpsed beneath us inland. The forest is so different from much of the landscape elsewhere on the island. It comes as a shock after the barrenness of the south from where we have just come.

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