Rethymno town in Crete: The town is a rare combination of history and modern-day luxury, with its Venetian-era Fortezza and old town, tropical beaches and exquisite Cretan cuisine.
The Fortezza (fortress) sits atop Rethymno’s magical old town like a crown. It’s like travelling back in time, to the period of the Venetians. You’ll climb to the fortress and hear the echoes of the sea. You’ll walk along the Venetian port with its old lighthouse and get lost in the maze of walkways, admiring the ornate doorways and the Venetian crests that decorate them. You’ll visit the mosques and their minarets and hop among the dozens of shops, restaurants and cafes.
Rethymno Town, the capital of Rethymno Greece, is the center of activities. Strongly influenced by the Venetians, Rethymno Town boasts elegant architecture and a picturesque port. Off Rethymno Old Town, there are many cosmopolitan beach resorts, such as Bali, Agia Galini, Plakias, and Adelianos Kampos. If you prefer laid-back places, a drive around the prefecture of Rethymno will bring you to many secluded coves, where you can enjoy total privacy.
If you manage to peel yourself away from the beautiful Rethymno beaches, you should set off to explore the region! In Rethymno Crete, you’ll find many sights, such as the Monasteries of Preveli and Arkadi, the Ideon Cave, where Zeus grew up according to mythology, as well as many gorges.
One of the most luxurious destinations in Greece, Rethymno will welcome you with its hospitality, high standards of service and Cretan cuisine. To the east, the longest beach in Crete (12km) awaits you. Here your dreams of a luxurious beach holiday will become a reality.
Where is Rethymno
Rethymno prefecture lies on the western side of Crete, between the prefectures of Chania and Heraklion. Full of beautiful beaches, archaeological sites, Byzantine churches, quaint villages, and cosmopolitan resorts, Rethymno is one of the most beautiful places in Crete.
How to Get to Rethymno
Travel to Rethymno, Greece: Rethymno is a picturesque location on the lovely island of Crete, with strong Venetian influences, when it comes to architecture. On this page, you will find out in which ways you can reach and explore this unique place!
Ferries to Rethymno
Since there are no direct ferries to Rethymno, you need to reach either Heraklion or Chania first.
You can easily reach those destinations from Athens by ferry, as there is an almost daily connection with Piraeus port, all year round. During summer, you can reach Heraklion Port from some islands of Cyclades and Dodecanese, like Santorini, with which Heraklion is connected on a daily basis. Once per week, Heraklion is linked by ferry with Mykonos, Paros and Milos, while three times per week Heraklion is connected with Karpathos, Kassos and Rhodes.
However, there is no ferry connection between the port of Chania and other islands.
Upon your arrival, you can reach Rethymno by taxi, by KTEL bus or by car. About itineraries of KTEL buses, you can find out more on www.e-ktel.com.
Flights to Rethymno
Since there is no airport in the regional unit of Rethymno, you need to reach either Heraklion or Chania first.
Chania International Airport “Ioannis Daskalogiannis” is the sixth busiest airport in Greece. It receives domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki all year round, as well as seasonal flights from many European countries during summer.
Heraklion International Airport “Nikos Kazantzakis” is the second busiest airport in Greece. All year round, it receives flights from Athens, Thessaloniki and Larnaka, while during summer it also receives flights from many countries around Europe.
The flight time from Athens to Heraklion or Chania is about 45 minutes. Upon your arrival, you can reach Rethymno by taxi, by KTEL bus or by car. About itineraries of KTEL buses, you can find out more on www.e-ktel.com.
Things to do Rethymno
Chances for things to do Rethymno vary. In the beach places on the northern side of Rethymno, there are some diving centers that offer courses, rent equipment and organize diving trips to interesting spots, like old wrecks and reefs.
Another popular activity in Rethymno is hiking, especially in autumn and spring when the weather is not very hot. The inland of Rethymnon provides nice places for hiking and trails pass through impressive gorges, ancient sites, and authentic villages.
Sightseeing in Rethymno
The island of Crete is an extremely popular area, visited by lots of tourists every year who want to enjoy the long beaches, scenic landscapes, and mountainous villages. Rethymno, in particular, is an area of great historical importance and natural beauty, with many sightseeing worth to visit. The historical Monasteries of Preveli and Arkadi are very important places to visit in Rethymno. Visitors should also not miss a stroll to the Old Town of Rethymno with the Venetian style and the picturesque old port, as well as to the Fortezza above the town. Apart from the sandy beaches, very beautiful are the seaside villages of Rethymno, such as Bali, Agia Galini, and Plakias.
Landmarks from many eras
At the Neratzi Mosque (music conservatory), you’ll mark its sky-high minaret (built in 1890) as the meeting point. The New Square is ringed by grand homes, the Catholic Church of St Francis, an Ottoman mausoleum and an Ottoman school. At Platanos Square, you’ll pass bustling restaurants and cafes and arrive at the famous Rimondi Fountain, constructed in 1626. The renowned Makri Steno (long alley) that leads from the National Park to the Fortezza, with its Venetian homes and marble fountains, is one of the most beautiful streets in Rethymno.
The Venetian port and lighthouse
From Nearchou Road you’ll get to the picturesque Venetian harbour with its restored lighthouse, which was built between 1830-40. Behind the port is the 16th-century Venetian Loggia. Rethymno will surprise you with the beauty, sights and attractions you’ll encounter along its streets.
Rethymno’s tropical beach
The largest beach on the island – 12km – stretches along the east side of the city, from Rethymno to Skaleta. You’ll take advantage of the water sports in the Adelianos Kampos and enjoy a quiet swim in the rocky coves of the Pegianos Kampos. All along the beach you’ll find beach bars with umbrellas and lounge chairs, shops and hotels.
A luxury stay in the Mediterranean
In Rethymno’s old town, Venetian buildings with sea views have been converted into elegant boutique hotels. Alternatively, you can opt for large and luxurious, all-inclusive resorts with pools, restaurants and bungalows in lush gardens outside the town.
Cretan cuisine: authentic flavours, paired with raki
In Rethymno, you’ll enjoy culinary treats inspired by Crete’s flavourful cuisine and traditions. Restaurants in Venetian buildings with beautiful gardens, rakadika where you’ll pair meze with the local schnapps-like drink raki, and quaint little tavernas: all serve Cretan dishes made using fresh, local produce.
The Fortezza: built for war, dedicated to culture
The restored residence of two Venetian Councillors, the Ottoman mosque built by Sultan Ibrahim Khan (now hosting musical events), the Bishop’s Palace, the Ibrahim Khan Mosque, cannons, bastions, mansions… are just a few of the attractions that await you at the Fortezza, a 16th century fortress. Many of the restored buildings host exhibitions and major cultural events, such as the annual Renaissance Festival.
Museums with centuries of discoveries
The Palaeontology Museum is well worth a visit during your holiday in Rethymno. Inside the mosque of Veli Pasha you’ll find exhibits from Crete’s history from up to 300 million years ago. Be sure to also make time for the Historical and Folklore Museum, situated in a 17th-century manor house, and the Archaeological Museum, opposite the main gate of the Fortezza.
Sunset by the seaside
As the sun is setting, take a walk by the sea along Kefalogianni St., beneath the sturdy fortified walls enclosing the Town Square and through the old neighbourhood of Toube. Sunset in Rethymno is an experience that will remain with you forever.
Eat & Drink in Rethymno
Places to eat and drink in Rethymno are many, especially in tourist regions such as Rethymno Town, Bali, Adelianos Kampos, Plakias, Agia Galini, and others. These are places with many restaurants and bars that attract lots of visitors every night. However, restaurants in Rethymno are also found in many secluded beaches and villages around the region. These restaurants are actually traditional taverns and serve delicious Cretan recipes. Very cozy are also the restaurants, cafe, and bars in the Old Town of Rethymno.
Magnificent beaches are found along the coasts of Rethymno Greece, both on the northern and the southern side of the prefecture. Rethymno beaches on the northern side are more organized and popular, lined up with hotels, restaurants, cafeterias and water sports centers. Most Rethymno beaches on the southern side remain untouched by tourism and ideal for total privacy. A drive around will bring you to fabulous places to relax. You will find below a list of the best beaches in Rethymno Crete.
Beaches of Rethymno
Where to Stay in Rethymno
You will find below our selection with the best hotels in Rethymno.Want to see more? View all hotels in Rethymno.
The northern coasts of Rethymno are more developed than the southern coasts. Bali, Panormos, Gerani and Adelianos Kampos are great beaches that get very popular during summer. Therefore they are ideal if you are looking for lively Rethymno hotels with many tourist facilities and close to the beachside.
Many luxurious hotels in Rethymno are also found in the suburbs and along the beach of the main town. These places are very convenient for excursions in northern Crete. For something more low-key, Agia Galini and Plakias in the southern side of Rethymno are perfect for peace and quiet. They are both small fishing villages with an authentic character.