The History of Faliraki
Faliraki belongs to Kalithies village, and both settlements have around 2,836 residents according to the national 2011 population count. The residents of Kalithies were mainly farmers. In the mountain side fo the village, farming and agriculture were the main occupations, while at the coastal area fishing was more popular among the locals.
The area was initially called “Pachynamos”, which means “thick sand”. Indeed, if you notice the sand grains, they are larger than in other beaches. The area of Faliraki was separated in smaller parts with their own respective names, such as Reni, Vorino, Mantomata, Lagonas, Ammades, Farkia, Mesovouni and other used by the locals for convenience.
In 1912, according to stories told by the village elders that were also confirmed by historical documents, the Italians landed in Rhodes at Faliraki main beach and declared Faliraki as an area of high strategic importance.
The conquerors also appreciated the area’s natural beauty and therefore invested in infrastructure and other projects, as they did all around the island. They chose this part of the island to build the imposing Kallithea monument and the village of Kalithies for the beautiful building which is now the village Town Hall. A lot of buildings of the era were constructed with sand taken from Faliraki beach. There are documents citing that the beach used to be full of sand dunes in winter, because of the sand carried by the heavy waves. Thus, sand was in abundance and was often used as construction material.
After the Dodecanese was freed from the Italians and was united with the rest of Greece, in 1947, the area begun flourishing. A couple of years later, in the small fishing village of Pachynamos, a resident called Panagiotis Statiou, opened the first small coffee place on the beach, where Faliraki centre is now. The man had visited Athens for medical reasons and was impressed by the beach at Faliro area, which as he said, reminded him of his home, Pachynamos. Upon his return to Rhodes, he opened his establishment and called it ‘Faliraki’ (little Faliro).
Since then, the villagers referred to the whole beach area as ‘Faliraki’ as the tavern was one of the few points of reference of the time.
Soon, villagers from other areas took to calling the beach Faliraki, too, until the ‘50s when the name was acknowledged as the area official name. Later, three more restaurants opened, by local fishermen. They served fish and fresh vegetables from their gardens to workers who loaded sand and later to visitors. The pureness and natural beauty of Faliraki begun appealing to the first tourists. By the end of the ‘60s the construction of big hospitality units had begun and development was rapid as the original Greek hospitality created a great demand for accommodation and dining facilities in the area. It is said that the fascist government of the time visited all local establishments and ordered further developments, having foreseen the huge rise of tourism in the area. Indeed, Faliraki soon rose to the first places among the global holiday destinations and welcomed thousands of visitors, among them famous artists, Greek and international, as well as football players, actors, and other personalities that were enchanted by its beauty and made Faliraki famous all around the world with interviews and mentions in the media of their time.
Today Faliraki manages to combine traditional and contemporary features, cosmopolitan with minimal, carefree feelings with adrenaline and has something to offer to every visitor, always with devotion to the values of Greek hospitality, honesty and originality that are typical for Greek people.
You can see how Faliraki and it’s beaches are today via our dedicated Faliraki Beaches page