On trip to Albania and Greece last summer, Dan and I spent a few nights in Ksamil, Albania, a small beach town on the Albanian Riveria, just south of Sarandë, next to Butrint. We stayed at what may be Ksamil’s nicest hotel: the Poda Boutique Hotel. As I could not find much good information on this hotel online, here is my review of our four-night stay stay.
PODA BOUTIQUE HOTEL: LOCATION AND HOTEL BUILDING
The Poda Boutique Hotel is located right in the middle of beachfront Ksamil, just behind the insanely busy and Instagrammable Poda Beach. Seriously, its a 1 minute walk from the beach and Adriatic. There are numerous restaurants and bars within a five minute walk (although some an uphill walk), as well as the tacky Ksamil vendors hawking trinkets and carnival rides at all hours. Despite the crowded beach and busy area, we found Poda to be pretty quiet at night and the hotel itself never felt too busy. Ksamil proper, including grocery stores, gas stations, banks, etc., are located an uphill walk from Poda. We made the walk pretty easily, but it would be annoying for anyone with any mobility issues, especially in the summer heat.
A wine town in the mountains of Rhodes, Greece probably does not come to mind when thinking of this beachey destination just of the coast of Turkey. However, there is such a town, named Embonas, in the mountains about an hour outside Rhodes Town. Embonas is famous for its wine and grilled meats! Its also a small town and an easy way to spend a morning or afternoon on Rhodes. We planned a morning wine tasting in Embonas on our recent trip to Greece!
I guess this means winery in Greek!
As Embonas is located about an hour from Rhodes Town, on some very twisty roads, we hired a driver to drive us around and stop at wineries that the driver had picked out and reserved in advance. This was super helpful, because we would not have known where to start. Information online is…sparse at best. We left Rhodes Town around 9:30, stopping for some fantastic coastal pictures en route, and ended up at our first winery about 30 minutes later (outside of Embonas).
Leaving Rhodes Town and driving to Embonas. This is a view point en route.
While in Rhodes, Dan and I took a day trip from Rhodes to neighboring Symi Island, as it was ranked as one of the top “things to do” on Rhodes. All, in, it was a good day trip, but I’m not sure its worth the time if you only have a few days on Rhodes. The day trip to Symi is better suited for those spending a full week on Rhodes, IMO. That being said, I did find Symi stunning and would love to return for a few quiet days of relaxation.
Arriving in Symi via boat from Rhodes.
WHAT IS SYMI ISLAND?
Symi Island is a tiiiiiny Greek island 25 miles from Rhodes, very close to the Turkish coast. A visit to Symi a popular day trip from Rhodes, due to the islands’ proximity. Despite being neighbors, Symi Island has a totally different feel than Rhodes, being much, much smaller and more Italian than Turkish feeling. While Symi almost exclusively a tourist island now, Symi has historically been known for sponge diving. It’s also well known for its tiny Symi shrimp.
Dan and I finally returned to Europe post-Covid over the American 4th of July holiday 2021, a little over a month after Greece re-opened to tourists. Our trip began in Rhodes, Greece, a Greek island very close to Turkey, and we spent one day in the lovely town of Lindos, Rhodes!
When Dan and I visited Greece last summer, we spent a fair amount of time in Athens’ Schengen terminal, flying from Athens to Rhodes and then from Rhodes to Athens to Milos. For Priority Pass members, the Schengen terminal has two lounge options, neither of which are fantastic: Goldair Handling CIP Lounge and Skyserv Melina Merkouri Lounge. Of the two, I slightly preferred Goldair for drinks and food and Skyserv for the space. I wouldn’t go out of my way to return to either, but for free it was fine to wait out our layovers. This article details our experience in both.
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