Dates & Prices

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Dates: 3 – 10 Apr 2021

Price: £1,295 Places available

Single Room Supplement: £none

Deposit: £150 per person


Price Includes: All meals, accommodation, all ground transport including transfers, services of guides, holiday report & charitable donation

Not Included: Flights, travel insurance, drinks & any other personal items

Conservation Donation: 10% of profits donated to a wildlife project or charity

Leader: Dr Yiannis Christofides & Jon Dunn

Group Size: Minimum of 4 and a maximum of 12 guests plus 1-2 leaders

Grade: Gentle paced walks in a variety of terrains

Holiday Highlights


  • Led by Yiannis Christofides (botanist, naturalist, guide & author of The Flora of Cyprus) + Jon Dunn (Botanist, naturalist, birder, guide & author of Orchid Summer)
  • Discover 30-50 of the islands 70+ Orchid species
  • Endemic / regional Orchid species such as Ophrys colossaea, Ophrys oreas, Ophrys lucis, Ophrys regis-fernandii, Ophrys candica, Ophrys cretica ssp. beloniae, Ophrys attaviria & Ophrys reinholdii
  • 1,490 plant species on a small island, including rare & endemic specials such as the Rhodes Peony & Rhodes Fritillary.
  • Enjoy spring butterflies, such as Lesser Fiery Copper, an endemic form of the Cleopatra, Green Underside Blue, Long-tailed Blue, Large Wall Brown, Eastern Festoon & both Scarce and European Swallowtail
  • Birds such as Long-legged Buzzard, Woodchat Shrike, Crested Lark, Lesser Kestrel, Alpine Swift and Crag Martin

Enjoy the beauty of Greece in spring and spend a relaxing week discovering the richness of Orchids and other flora of Rhodes!


Holiday Guides

Yiannis Christofides is a botanist living in the Troodos Mountains of Cyprus. Having obtained a degree in Chemistry from the University of London he returned to his mountain village where he took up botany. This led to a new book on the Orchids of Cyprus.  Several new plants were recorded for Cyprus and new locations were found for old ones. He has since published a new book in 2018, The Illustrated Flora of Cyprus.

His interests include Orchids round the Mediterranean, the Floras of Cyprus, Greece and Turkey and also the flora of European Mountains. He takes a keen interest in other life-forms such as Butterflies and other Insects, Reptiles, Dragonflies and even Lichens. He likes to share his knowledge with members of his groups and his infectious enthusiasm makes him one of our most popular leaders. Yiannis is also knowledgeable about the geology and history of areas he visits. He currently leads on our Cyprus, Lesvos, Crete, Rhodes, Peloponnese, French Pyrenees, Alps and Italian Dolomites trips.

Jon Dunn

Jon Dunn is a natural history writer, photographer and experienced wildlife tour leader based in the Shetland Isles, but with strong links in mainland Europe and North America that see him travelling widely in search of memorable wildlife encounters.

An accomplished all-round naturalist and Fellow of the Linnean Society of London, Jon is the author of the critically acclaimed botanical bestseller “Orchid Summer” (Bloomsbury, 2018), and is also the author of the “Britain’s Sea Mammals” field-guide, and co-author of the “Britain’s Mammals” field-guide, both for Princeton University Press. Jon writes weekly “Rarity Round-Ups” for Rare Bird Alert. His writing and photography feature in many popular wildlife magazines, including BBC WildlifeBirdwatching, and British Wildlife, and he is the wildlife columnist for regional airline Loganair.

We invite you to join us for what will be our 8th consecutive year on Rhodes, for a wonderful week of Greek spring flora and other wildlife!

Greece is a botanist’s paradise. There are around 6,000 plant species. On top of that, more than 700 species are endemic to Greece. This degree of endemism makes it almost unique in Europe!

In Greek mythology the island of Rhodes belonged to Helios (God of the Sun). Helios requested from Zeus and the other Gods for any land that was to rise from the sea to become his. As he spoke a beautiful island slowly emerged from the bottom of the blue sea, Rhodes. Helios bathed Rhodes with his own radiance and made it the most beautiful island in the Aegean Sea. Indeed, it is blessed with over 300 days of sunshine a year and spring is a wonderful time to appreciate the natural beauty of this jewel in the Aegean!

Rhodes, the capital of the Dodecanese group of islands in Greece, is situated just off the western coast of Turkey. Therefore, it is blessed with an interesting mixture of east Mediterranean and Asian flora and fauna. Although the island is a popular destination for sun and beach loving tourists, there is much natural beauty to discover, if one takes the time! The island is blessed with 1,500 recorded plant species, including well over 50 species of Orchid – an impressive list for an island only 80km long and 30km at its widest point.

Rhodes has many varied biotopes, a factor in the distribution of Orchids on the island, including significant coverage of Pine forest and phrygana. It is one of the best Greek islands for orchids, with a large list of diverse and interesting species, particularly in the genus Ophrys. A visit in spring means meadows ablaze with flowers and alive to the tune of insects and the fluttering of butterflies. The forest floors are also decorated with a dazzling display of Orchids and other flowers. The wildlife and warm weather form a winning combination for a relaxing week of botany. We will of course look at anything else of interest, be it birds, butterflies, or anything else that catches our eye!

Our base for the week will be a family run hotel in a traditional village, nestled at the foot of the island’s highest mountain. From here we’ll embark on daily adventures around the island, followed by relaxing evening meals at our hotel and also in traditional village tavernas, serving local Rhodian dishes, alongside all the usual Greek favourites.

We will find orchids in a variety of habitats including old Olive groves, phrygana, river edges and forested mountain slopes. In the company of Yiannis, our expert botanist, we will tour many parts of the island. Yiannis will lead us to hidden glades and secret corners to show us as many different species as possible. We will of course be looking for some of the local specialities, such as the Colossus Orchid and King Ferdinand’s Orchid, also known as the Earwig Orchid. The island has over 40 Ophrys species recorded, including several which are either endemic or local to the region.

The topography of Rhodes can best be described as moderately hilly, with the highest mountain, Attavyros, reaching 1,215m. During our week on Rhodes we’ll climb to between 600-800m, where there are some fantastically rich floristic areas to explore and the plants to discover include some Rhodes specialities! The Rhodes Paeony Paeonia clusii rhodia, a strikingly beautiful rare and endemic white flowered Peony is one such plant. The perfume from its blooms fills the forest air and it really is a treat for the senses! Another is the Rhodes Fritillary Fritillaria rhodia, an elegant and delicate endemic species. Beneath large and impressive Cypress trees, the forest floor is also carpeted with delicate endemic Cyclamen Cyclamen rhodia. On the limestone cliffs of Mount Attavyros we’ll also see the fascinating Star Thistle Centaurea lactucifolia, endemic to Rhodes and nearby Halki Island.

    

Please note: the itinerary is subject to changes in terms of the daily running order and content. We take the local weather conditions into account, along with how the flowering season is progressing and make appropriate adjustments in order to provide you with the best daily excursions possible.

Day 1: On arrival at Rhodes Airport you will be met by your guides, who will accompany you throughout the trip. From the airport we head south (journey time approximately 45 minutes) down the western side of the island, towards our base for the week. We will be staying at a family run hotel nestled at the base of Mount Attaviros, one of the islands three mountains in a traditional Rhodian village.

Depending on time we may make one or two stops on our journey to view our first orchids, or to look at any other wildlife of interest. Once checked in we will have our first lunch together, including an introductory talk by the guides, followed by our first excursion in the general vicinity of the hotel.

 Day 2: Our first full day will be orchid hunting on Mount Attaviros, the highest on the island – 1215m at its peak. It won’t be long before we are among orchids and our finds should include some or all of Ophrys reinholdii, Ophrys dodekanensis, Ophrys omegaifera, Orchis anatolica, Orchis lactea, Ophrys umbilicata, Ophrys ferrum-equinuum and Ophrys candica.

In Greek mythology Althaemenes (son of Catreus, king of Crete) founded an altar to Zeus on the mountain. He was said to have chosen the site as the only point on Rhodes from which his homeland of Crete could be seen. The remains of the sanctuary can be seen near the summit. Upon the mountain there were, it is said, brazen bulls which roared when anything extraordinary was going to happen – we must listen out for them during our visit!

Day 3: Today will focus on exploring various locations in the south of the island in some well-preserved phrygana and sand dune habitats. The orchids we can expect to find are numerous and include Oprhys regis-fernandii, Ophrys cretica ssp. beloniae, Ophrys parvula, Ophrys iricolor, Serapias carica, Ophrys halia and cornutula. We shall also look out for the endemic Fritillaria rhodia & Campanula rhodia.

Day 4: Our destination today is the east coast. We will drive through the centre of the island with interesting landscapes en route. We will explore sites close to the coast as well as drive a short way inland, to look for orchids in olive groves and similar habitats. Orchids we will look for today include Ophrys colossaea, Ophrys rhodia, Ophrys calypso, Ophrys polyxo, Ophrys blitopertha, Ophrys attaviria, Serapias bergonii and Serapias carica.

Day 5:Our destination today is a mountain top in southern Rhodes – a location that is invariably extremely productive for both orchids and other wildlife besides. We will make several stops at various elevations, before our arrival at the mountain-top on which we will spend much of the day. All yielded orchids, and more plants besides. Our orchid finds are likely to include Ophrys tenthredinifera, Ophrys phryganae, Ophrys bombyliflora, Ophrys oreas, and Ophrys sitiaca. We may also find swathes of Orchis anatolica and Anacamptis papilionacea.

Day 6: We will spend some time exploring sites situated along the course of the River Gadouras and its man-made lake today. It is one of the quietest and most picturesque areas of central Rhodes and also home to some fine orchids as well.

 We will be on the lookout for Limodorum abortivum, but especially for the scarce and rather lovely pink rubrum variety. We may also find Ophrys candica in flower here as well. It is usually a good spot to see and hear Karpathos Frogs Rana cerigensi too. Other floral treats should include Anacamptis laxiflora & Orchis italica.

Day 7: Our last full day in Rhodes, and another mountain – this time the well-trodden orchid hunting territory of the easterly elevations of Profitis Ilias. The orchids usually come thick and fast as soon as we start to search the gentle slopes of the forest floor, which is decorated with Anenome blanda & Cyclamen rhodium at this time of year.

We should find a good variety of orchids in flower, including Ophrys cinereophila, Ophrys Persephone, Ophrys lucis, Orchis provincialis, Neotinea maculata, Anacamptis picta and Orchis anthropophora.

Of course, the week isn’t entirely about the orchids and it is impossible to ignore the lush white flowers and scent of Paeonia clusii ssp.rhodia, the Rhodes peony. Depending on the season we hope to see it with fresh flowers.

Day 8: Day of departure. We say our farewells to our hosts at the hotel and head to the airport in the morning after breakfast, with the possibility of a stop or two on the way, depending on our schedule.

Robin, 2018... The Greenwings tour to Rhodes fulfilled our every expectation and more! We enjoyed the leadership of two excellent naturalists, spent each day eagerly searching new sites, with great success, and had every possible help identifying not only the many orchids we found, but every other plant, as well as insects from gorgeous butterflies to beetles and reptiles. Everything went smoothly, the group got on well, and we even managed a final visit to a very interesting archaeological site.

Alfred, 2018… A perfect holiday with wonderful food, excellent guides and plenty of exquisite orchids!

Philip, 2018… A first class holiday for orchid enthusiasts!

Judy, 2018…Do you love orchids? Then you will love Rhodes! My third visit and still seeing new things! Book now, spring will be here sooner than you think! Your expert guides await.

Maja, 2015… For me it was a very relaxing holiday I liked it very much and I’m very happy about all the new Orchids I saw!

Gordon & Diane, 2015… We enjoyed the holiday immensely, due in large measure to your excellent planning, and the nice people who come on your trips!