One of the most relaxing places and with views that will stay with you forever from Rhodes. The area of Kritinia Castle In Rhodes offers tranquility, history and picture postcard views that will take your breath away!
Kritinia is located on the west coast of the island and is a little over 50 Kilometers from The City Of Rhodes and 10 Kilometers from the wine making country of Embona. It also lies a little further north on the island of another beautiful place named Monolithos Castle.
It has a population of approximately 650 people and has a small harbor called Kamiros Skala which will take you to the island of Chalki (which is clearly visible as it is only a short distance away). You can also see other non inhabited islands from here.
Kamiros Skala should not be mistaken for the Ancient City Of Kamiros however. Many people confuse this, but the Ancient Kamiros is approximately 15 kilometers away and further North!
The village of Kritinia sits beautifully on the top of a hill and the dwellings there are built on the grounds inclines and overhang the slopes looking out over the beautiful blue waters. You will also find here a small selection of beautiful Greek Tavernas and Cafeterias.
The word ‘Kritinia” actually means ‘New Crete’. This came about during the Turkish Rule here on the island, as families had escaped Crete and made the island of Rhodes their new residence.
In actual fact, when these families first arrived in Rhodes, they settled in the area which is known today as Kamiros Skala. They moved however onto the hills soon after as a protective measure against pirates.
History Of Kritinia Castle
The key attraction of Kritinia is of course, the castle itself. Kritinia Castle (known as Kastello to the local people) sits a little over 130 meters above the village of Kritinia on a beautiful hill looking out west towards Turkey!
The castle was built by The Knights Of Saint John and it possesses both Venetian and Byzantine Architecture. It was built over three different floors and each area was designated to a different Grand Master of The Knights Order.
The location of the castle was carefully considered too, as it was built to defend the west side of the island against pirates. The view from here allows you to see all of the sea areas around 360 degrees, which made any approach very difficult by enemies of that time.
Back in 1480, The Ottoman Empire actually attempted to invade the island of Rhodes and a lot of soldiers were dispatched to Kritinia to take hold of the castle. Despite being outnumbered, The Knights fought well and after many battles and lives lost, The Ottoman Empire retreated.
Unfortunately, the castle was left in ruins. This did not deter The Knights however. They got to work on making restorations, eventually restoring it to its original state.
Kritinia Castle Today
As it stands today, the castle sits as an empty shell with the memories of what once were.
The entrance to the castle, although old and laying broken, still clearly shows two coats of arms. One is for the Grand Master Origny (from 1467 to 1475) and the other for Grand Master D’Amboise (from 1503 to 1512).
Inside the castle walls, you can also still witness remains of a chapel which was dedicated to Saint John and held some 16th Century paintings.
Also, during the summer months, you will find festivities taking place here especially one that is organized in June each year. This is known as The Medieval Rose Festival! This is really worth seeing if you are in Rhodes during this period.
Thankfully, it has been understood and acknowledged, the importance Kritinia Castle has played in years gone by. It is an icon on the island and it has been said that work will be carried out to preserve and strengthen the castle. I am yet to hear more on this, but the people here are very proud of their history, so I have faith that this place will be here for many more years to come for people to visit and enjoy!
Getting To The Castle Of Kritinia
The village of Kritinia itself is served by a bus service, so getting to and from this area is not too much of a problem. The castle however, is only accessible by venturing up a dirt track.
The is not too challenging, but it is worth keeping your wits about you if you have children or elderly people in your company. It is easy to trip and fall. So you need to take care.
For this reason, sometimes traveling here by car/scooter is better, as you can get most of the way on this road with transport. Buses do not go down this track. Just something you need to be aware of.
Also, you will be pleased to know, there are no entrance fees or charges to see this location. It is open to the public and the parking is free. Where else can you see 14th Century ruins for nothing? 🙂
Watch The Video For A Tour Around Kritinia Castle
In my opinion, Kritinia Castle hold an important part of history on Rhodes. I believe everyone should make an effort to see it.
Traveling there is easy, and there are some gorgeous views down the west coast as you make your journey.
Once there, you will be confronted with history, architecture and views that are difficult to see in most places. Do not miss out on Kritinia Castle if you are ever on the island
If you have any questions be sure to leave them in the comments below and I will get right back to you.
Have you visited Kritina Castle? Or are you planning a visit maybe? I would love to hear from all of you out there.
Thanks for reading. Until next time!
I love history and I’ve always wanted to visit Greece and it’s beautiful islands. Thank you for giving an overview of the history of the castle.
I’d never heard of Kritinia Castle and it looks fascinating. You have some great photos of the place! I’ve visited lots of castles and cathedrals in other countries, but this one has now captured my attention. It makes me want to go to Greece (particularly Rhodes) even more.
What is the Medieval Rose Festival? Now I’m curious about that as well. Thank you for highlighting such a beautiful and historic place.
Hello Wendy and thank you for reading. I am happy Kritinia Castle has captured your attention. It is an amazing location and the views are spectacular. You will not be disappointed 🙂
As for The Medieval Rose Festival, it is a traditional festival that takes place annually. Lots of actors, musicians etc get together and they lay on performances relevant to medieval times. They dress up and also they line the medieval streets with outlet stalls where you can taste different dishes from these times.
Here you can also witness nice exhibitions and buy small souvenirs and crafts.
This is well worth attending if you are on the island during the festival. It takes you back and offers you a real taste of the past!
Thanks Wendy. It is really nice to hear from you.
Hi Chris, It’s awesome work! It is very informative. We can see the magnificent views of the place. Great job!.
Thank you 🙂 I am happy you enjoyed your visit.
The views from Kritinia Castle are quite magnificent, also from Monolithos Castle too.
Come back soon 🙂
I would love to travel there someday as it looks like a lovely place.
Exploring the castles and ruins would be very interesting.
When I was in the army stationed in Germany I had lots of time to explore the castles there and found it all quite fascinating.
Maybe one of these days I’ll make it!
Hello Craig. It is nice to meet a military man. I assume you were/are in the military as you say you were stationed in Germany.
Well, I too was stationed in Germany when I was in the military. I was in the British Royal Air Force and served in Germany for 5 years.
During my time I also visited many places including castles. My favorite was The Neuschwanstein Castle in Bavaria. I have many photos from my visits there. I loved it.
Although the sites and castles on Rhodes are much older, they are very much worth visiting. Kritinia Castle does not have the glamour that some of the more modern castles have, but the history is vitally important to the island.
Great to have you here Craig, many thanks.
Hey Chris, this was a really cool post once again.
Kritinia Castle definitely looks like a place that should be visited. I always think it is important to know about the history of the place you travel to.
Plus I bet that I can make some slick shots with my camera. I think it would be a photographers dream here.
Hey Aaron, indeed it is a perfect location to have your camera at the ready.
The last time I was there I managed to capture some amazing pictures. It really is a beautiful place.
A lot of people do visit certain locations such as Kritinia Castle while on holiday, and some of them do come away again not knowing too much about what it is all about.
Hopefully the information here can change that 🙂
Thanks for prompt reply. I was last there in 2016, will be there in September this year, and would love to share a drink or two! Kritinia seems like a good spot for it.
You seem to know as much as my relatives about the island…I literally have hundreds. I bet you’ve run into one somewhere – one uncle is the priest at the main church, Evaggelismos. Another was the area manager for Olympic Airways back in the day. I have a cousin who manages a major hotel, others with tourist shops, bars, jewelery stores…
My DNA reveals the ‘minestra’ that is Rhodes with only a minority being Greek. I expected some middle eastern however was blown away with significant Georgian, Italian and Sardinian components.
Deep analysis revealed patrilinial origins in Azerbaijan region approx 25k ago, and matrilinial from Iberia about 3k years ago. A small Jewish component has opened up research on the Jews of Rhodes, which is better documented than other communities, with waves of migration pre Christ, late 1400’s and early 1500’s due to persecution.
Plagues that wiped out a large portion of the population in Rhodes circa 1800 saw migration from Sicily, which had ancient links to Rhodes. Further migration from Sicily occurred after the unification wars of Garibaldi as not all Sicilians were happy to cede privileges to Rome.
All this information is available online, so I’m getting itchy feet to get some real ‘leg work’. Did you know that near the village of Arnitha (where we most recently hail from) has been recorded in the 19th Century archaeological manuscripts that there existed another smaller (ancient) satellite settlement of Lindos?
The baptismal font fountain located in Argyrokastro Square is from the ruined church of St Irene, which was the church for this settlement up to the era of the Knights.
How about the village of the Dwarves? Towards then end of their reign, the Knights partook a little too much in local wine and mandrake root. So much so that they believed in alchemy, however after no success thought that having dwarves invlolved in the process would assist as they held mystical powers (probably from Irish folklore).
Once overrun by the Ottomans, the dwarves were left to their own devices and were said to have settled in a small village near Embona, where ruins of houses with entrance doors no more that 4 ft high still exist.
Plenty more stories however I don’t want to clog your blog! I think the shots of Ouzo may become bottles if we meet up.
Love your work, so happy to have stumbled on to this site.
Well, I am going to be honest here and say you need to know your stuff Emmanuel 🙂
I have been on the island many years, and with your family being as extensive as it is, there is every chance I have stumbled across a few of them in my time.
I actually live in the Ialyssos area, do any of them live around there? If so, I will go and say hello!
Your knowledge of the history here certainly runs deep. I like to think I know a lot about Rhodes, but you have certainly opened my eyes as there are things you have mentioned here that I did not know. I am always open to new knowledge, so I am grateful for your insight! I will certainly be looking more into the areas you have mentioned here.
This is what I love about Rhodes. No matter what you think you know, or you think you have seen, there are always little secrets to blow your mind.
So, let me know when you are on the island my friend, and we will get together for that Ouzo and a catch up.
Hey Chris. Thanks for the site, information and blog!
I’ve been to Kritinia many times and each time it is more captivating than the last. Now living in Australia, I was born in Rhodes many years ago.
I have recently retired and am tracing my family history which, along with DNA matches to newly found cousins, involves research that has uncovered many interesting aspects of migration to Rhodes from the era of the Knights.
I have ancestry from around the mountains of Kritinia – Embona, Istrios and Laerma. My DNA profile most closely matches a native Cretan, and we believe some branches of the family made their way to to these villages from Crete via Kritinia – all with surnames ending in ‘akis’, typically Cretan.
Does the museum in Kritinia have any history of the village? Are there any ‘old time’ locals that would be amenable to an Ouzo or two in the Platia for a chat?
What great way to find out about the past!
Hello there Emmanuel and thank you so much for getting in touch with your fascinating research!
It is great that you were born here on the island, when is the last time you visited?
It seems that your family history runs deep here in Rhodes. I am sure you are aware that the word Kritinia actually means little Crete, so it makes sense that some of your family members in the past made that journey here to the Kritinia area on the island.
As for the museum, it is called the Laografiko Museum. From what I understand, this displays some wonderful artifacts from the area including silver, clothing and pottery. It also contains a lot of history on the local people going back to the ancient times. I have actually been there, but it was some time ago. In all honesty I do not remember it in great details. I will make another journey though, and even take some photographs.
As for the locals, they are very friendly. Most of them for sure would love to meet a born local and share an Ouzo. i would too if you are ever on the island!
I would love to know more about your family history as and when you uncover it too (only if you do not mind sharing it of course).
Thanks Emmanuel, it is really great to hear from you.
Wow! I am definitely putting Rhodes on my list of places to see.
The views around this old castle are amazing and it would be great to stand in an ancient place like this and wonder what life was like there in the 15th century.
Thanks for sharing and I hope to get there someday.
Thank you Jared, I am happy you found the information interesting.
It is certainly one thing to see it in photographs and another to see it in person!
I hope also you can make it to Rhodes one day and see places such as Kritinia Castle and other ancient sites.
Never say never 🙂
Thanks my friend.
I love your page! Since I live in Cyprus, it won’t be hard for a person to understand my love for Greece as well.
I’m Bulgarian and Greece is not that far away, but I haven’t got the chance to visit yet. When I do, I would know where to go and what places to have a look at first.
Thanks for your article. It’s very well put and a fast read. It kept me interested until the very last word. I love the photos you have used too, it made me feel like I was already there.
Well done on your site and if I may suggest, keep the information coming!
Hello and thank you very much for your kind words. I promise, there is a lot more to come.
I have a lot of information in the pipeline and I will be filtering it onto the site step by step.
I have also been to Cyprus. I was in the military many years ago and had the pleasure of being there. It is a very wonderful place.
You will be pleased to know, that there are a lot of people from Bulgaria that live in Rhodes. Let me know if you make some plans to visit.
I am happy you liked the photographs I took for this Kritinia Castle post too. I try my best to use all my own photography on the site. So, more coming in this department too!
Thanks and it is nice to meet you.
I am thinking of heading to Greece this summer – maybe a visit to Rhodes is what I should do! What an amazing location this castle is in – I like to think about the hundreds of Knights and others who have been inside it’s walls!
How long does it take to walk up the track to the castle? What other festivities do they have in the summer apart from the Medieval Rose festival? Are they usually open to the public and tourists?
Hello Louis, nice to meet you and thanks for getting in contact.
To be honest the climb to the castle of Kritinia is not as daunting as you may think. Most of the way up can be done by car, and there is only a 5 minute walk or so form their to the entrance of the castle. It is not difficult at all, so do not worry!
Although this Medieval Festival takes place in Kritinia, there are plenty of other festivals that take place all over the island. If you take a look at the Public Holidays section, I have listed some of the important ones. For these, everyone is welcome to attend and/or take part.
If you are on the island during these periods I recommend you head along. You will love it!
Thanks Louise, and it is nice to hear from you.
Hello Chris, WOW, what a beautiful place! Thanks for the great information and visuals.
My wife and I have a passion for travel and we enjoy visiting places that are both beautiful and have a great history.
Your home is one of those places. We will definitely put it on our list. If and when we decide to visit, I have bookmarked your website and I will be in touch.
Hello there Mike, it is nice to hear from you.
It is great to know you have a liking for where I live. With this particular section on Kritinia Castle, you will find this down the west coast of Rhodes, and it is about a 1 hour drive from my home. I suppose I am quite lucky!
The history here on Rhodes is amazing. This location is only one of many places where you can soak up the history of the island. I really hope one day that you and your wife can visit and see it all for yourself!
There are regular updates to my website here Mike, so it is good that you have bookmarked it. I am grateful and I will get more information added soon!
Great gallery! What an interesting spot to visit, a wonderful find.
Architecture is so interesting and full of historical importance and old castle’s like Kritinia seem to have so many hidden secrets (which most you uncovered!).
Amazing to think this island holds so much history. How many castles exist on the island of Rhodes? I took one international trip to Ireland and found the Castle of Malahide – I loved the historical tidbits they had on display there.
I’m wondering if Rhodes is organized by the state? And if they have signs showing info ~ I ask because i noticed the wooden doors are really well maintained. It seems it’s taken care of – thanks for any extra information!
Hey there Chase. Thanks for your interest and for getting in contact too.
On Rhodes, there are a good handful of castles that would be of interest to you. Aside from Kritinia, there is also Monolithos Castle, Faraklos Castle and The Castle of Asclepeion. This is not including the giant Palace Of The Grand Masters and The Castle Of The Knights in Lindos (The Acropolis). There is a lot for you to be getting on with for sure!
When it comes to talking about how the island is divided up, it is a little different from what you would see in the UK, USA or other European Countries.
Because the island is small, it is mainly divided up into different areas by the council. This in Greek is known as ‘Δημος’ (Deemos). For example we have the area of Rhodes Town, Ialyssos, Lindos, etc. It is not done by state, the island is simply too small!
If you are interested though, the island of Rhodes is the largest of the islands in the Dodecanese!
Hope this answers your questions Chase, and if you need something more, do not hesitate to get in touch!
Those are some awesome pictures! Looks like a gorgeous place to visit and one that is full of history!
Its amazing that the castle’s shell is in such good condition and that its free to visit! What a treasure for the locals and the tourists.
Thanks for sharing and thank you especially for giving us some great historical facts and some guidance if we ever get lucky enough to visit!
Hey there, do not mention it, you are welcome 🙂
I agree with you too, the outer shell and medieval walls of Kritinia Castle are in fantastic condition and have been well preserved. Once you are inside there are also some fantastic areas to see, but unfortunately a lot of it is in ruins!
Being there and free to visit though, it is a really nice welcoming location. Just for the views alone it is well worth taking the time to go to Kritinia Castle.
I hope you also manage a trip here to see it for yourself!
Thanks for getting in touch, it is nice to hear from you.
I never knew that there was such a beautiful castle in Rhodes. I understand that you would have to venture up a dirt track to see the castle, would you say you would have to be extremely fit to go up this road?
I would definitely love to visit if I am ever in Rhodes, thank you for the recommendation!
Hello Rox, thanks for reading and for your question with regards to the approach to the castle.
To be honest, it is actually very easy to approach this location. Most of the journey to the castle can be done with your transport and there is ample parking too once you are there,
From the parking area, an actual paved road has been put in place to make the climb to the castle easy. It is not difficult at all. It is on a slight incline, but it is a good surface and the peak can be reached without any problems!
Only once you are inside the castle I recommend you take care with your footing. This location after all is an ancient ruin. This can present problems when tackling the rocks to move around. It is not dangerous, but you just need to be aware of where you are putting your feet!
Thanks Rox, I hope this helps you!
This castle looks so so peaceful and quiet because of its location! I’m sure the view from it will be breathtaking especially with the sunset!
I’m also very intrigued by its history. There are so many beautiful places and we usually don’t know why and when they were built.
How do you manage to find the history behind so many things in Rhodes?
Hello there Antonis, great to have you here.
I have been down to Kritinia Castle many times and I have been lucky enough to witness the amazing sunset from this location. It really is something amazing, and should you ever have the chance, do not miss out on it!
I agree with you too, there are lots of locations all over the world that are visited by millions of people on an annual basis. Unfortunately a lot of people leave still not knowing the history behind them and why they were built.
A lot of people that visit Rhodes are also the same. I have a lot of friends that have been to Rhodes, and into The Medieval City for example, yet when I mention The Knights Order they have no idea what I am talking about!
I do not criticize people for this. Sometimes being in a place like Rhodes can be mesmerizing, and you can forget about things as you witness these huge structures.
I made a huge effort (and an enjoyable one too) to learn as much as possible about Rhodes. I wanted to build this site to help people, and I hope i am doing that. I managed to find all the information through wanting to learn it and pass it on to others 🙂
Thanks Antonis, I appreciate you passing by!
Thank you for this lovely and inspiring article about Kritinia Castle.
I was in Rhodes a long time ago with my sisters but we did not visit the castle, however your description makes me want to go back.
I love reading travel information and you have described it well, and the pictures really bring it to life, as it were.
I will have to check out your other posts too and perhaps take a visit here soon.
Hi there Gail and thanks for reading!
A lot of people miss out on Kritinia Caste (and Monolithos Castle too) when they visit Rhodes.
I think because the are located down the west coast of the island and quite a distance from other built up areas and attractions, they are overlooked! It is a big shame!
I am happy you came and took a look at my website, and I also hope it encourages you to return and see the things you missed out on during your first visit.
There is a lot of information on this site (and lots more is coming), so feel free to use it for information and help the next time you visit the island!
Thanks Gail, really great to hear from you.
The view is beautiful!
Grand places in the world still exist, and the ruins of important places in the history of countries tells us data on the evolution of a city and the people who inhabit it.
I hope one day to visit it in person, the architecture of the place is amazing.
Great images and travel.
Hello Karol, yes Kritinia Castle is quite a magnificent place with some fabulous views.
I think it is important to realize that places have history. With modern technology booming like it is today, it can be very easy to overlook what lies in the past.
Personally I find places such as The Castle Of Kritinia very rewarding to visit. Seeing these old ruins and standing in the same places The Knights Order did, well – nothing comes close really!
Without places such as this and the roles which were undertaken hundreds of years ago, Rhodes certainly would not be the place it is today!
Thanks for reading Karol and for your interest!
Wow, this is such a nice and beautiful place, and I cant believe the castle build on top of the mountain.
From your video, i can see many of the amazing views around Kritinia Castle.
I heard that the sunset view is very nice over the distant islands, have you seen it?
Anyway, thanks for this beautiful information 🙂
Hey there Thomas, thanks so much for getting in touch!
The castle is indeed built on top of the hill and if you look at Monolithos Castle too, this also has a similar setup.
With the location of the castle, it offers amazing views and the sunsets are breathtaking. In answer to you your question, yes I have seen them.
Actually, as the sun sets over the West Coast, it offers an orange and red glow, and the distant islands as well as the country of Turkey can be seen clearly.
It is all worth seeing for sure.
Both Kritinia Caste and Monolithos Castle offer not only the views but the history too! Not to be missed if you are visiting Rhodes!
Thanks again Thomas, nice to hear from you!
Thanks for your valuable information too.
Have a nice day 🙂
Anytime my friend! 🙂