Rethymno is the third largest city in Crete after Heraklion and Chania. Vissited by a lot of tourists during the whole summer, has a large number of hotels of all categories offering high quality services. The more than 2,500 students Rethymno's entairtainmend alive all year. You will definetely be amazed by the old town of Rethymno, the "Fortress", the museums and the endless beaches. Most of the county is mountainous, (Crete's highest 2,500 meters), with villages untouched by the advent of tourism and friendly people.
The Venetian Fortezza castle is a landmark of the city of Rethymno, one of the most prominent monuments, which dominates the hill Paleocastro in the heart of the city, offering impressive view of the harbor and the valley. In antiquity acropolis of ancient Rithimna was located on the hill, perfectly organized with houses, barracks, warehouses and shelters, as well as aTemple of Artemis. Unfortunately nothing has survived.
The Venetian Port with figures and buildings of Venetian and Turkish architecture, is certainly one of the most idyllic settings. The jetty was built by the Venetians in the 13th century and standsl in very good condition until today. The lighthouse was added later by the Turks in the 17th century. Along the harbor you can find many taverns and cafes to enjoy a meal or a drink next to the boats.
It is a very welcoming village and a famous resort. In the streets you will see the old houses of the village, you will hear stories of fishermen and you will experience an authentic Cretan experience. What makes Agia Galini unique, is the amphitheater arrangement of the houses, offering lovely views of the harbor and the bay of Messara, while equally beautiful is the view from the harbor to the village. Other wonderful villages of the region are: Agia Fotini, Agioi Apostoloi, Saint Paul, Akoumia, Adele, Amari, Anogia, Gerani, Eleftherna, Zoniana and many more.
The beach of Preveli is located in the south of the county, in a green area in the outcome of Kourtaliotiko canyon. After the palm forest stretches a sandy beach with magnificent waterfalls that pour into the sea. Lake Preveli make the landscape look like tropical, and many characterize the region of Preveli, as an earthly paradise!
South again, is located the beach of St. Paul, a quiet sandy beach with no noise and crowd, ideal for lovers of quiet landscapes. Passing the quite tall dunes you reach the beach which including other things, offers a beautiful sunset. The site is being visited also by several friends of Yoga around the world, taking part in seminars and events.
On the north side, this time, between Rethymno and Heraklion is Bali, a beautiful small village which in recent years has become a lively tourist attraction. The main beach of Bali with small pebbles, is one of the most beautiful beaches of Rethymnon. It is crystal clean and organized for watersports. In the area there are restaurants, cafes and large hotels.
In about 50 km from the city is located the idyllic beach Triopetra. The view is wonderful, the water crystal clear and the beach is santy. You will find umbrellas, sun loungers and a tavern for your food. We syggst you to stay up late and watch the famous colorfull sunset.
Plakia beach is one of the longest beaches in Crete with very clear water and sandy beach. If you like nudism select the eastern side of the beach. In the surrounding area there are other beautiful beaches like Damnoni and Amoudi.
The beach of Agia Galini is located about 55 km southwest of Rethymnon on the homonymous village. It is a sandy beach, organized and with too many options for food, accommodation and entertainment. It is also a classic choice for divers. Following the river of Agia Galini, there is another beach, which in contrast to the main, there is no protection from high winds, it is not organized but it is a quiet beach, ideal for those who prefer a tranquil bath.
During the summer months there are routes linking the port of Rethymnon with Piraeus. Ticket prices are not particularly high, but vary depending on the type of ferry boat. Rethymno has no airport and is served by two international airports, Heraklion and Chania. Buses on the island of Crete are perfectly organized. There daily buses connecting Rethymno with Heraklion and Chania every hour, whereas buses are connecting Rethymno with all of the county. The car is the ideal way to discover for yourself the beauty of Rethymno, cause the distances are long and you'll need freedom of movement. You can either bring it by boat, or rent one in the city of Rethymno.
Along the coastal road, you can enjoy traditional cuisine of Crete in many restaurants. Restaurants can also be found in the Venetian harbor, where you can enjoy your meal by the sea. On the picturesque streets of the old town, you will find taverns and snack bars with traditional music, while many coffee bars are located on the beach road (Eleftherios Venizelos street), where one can choose among many options, depending on the style and music he likes. During the winter months you'll find clubs in Melissinou street in the old city, while some are located in the old port, and during the summer most beach bars and clubs are outside the Rethymno area mainly in Misiria and Platanias.
Flavors and Shopping Guide
Oil is dominant throughout the Cretan cuisine, accompanying unique salads and appetizers as dakos (rusk with tomato and sour cream cheese). It also highlights famous cooked meals. From greens try stamnagathi, while don't miss trying snails that are normally in the pan with lemon and rosemary or with red sauce. Sheep and goats are the backbone of Cretan cuisine, famous no only for their meat but for the variety of cheeses produced from them, like gruyere and stakovoutyro which mades the traditional Cretan gamopilafo. Drink raki from local producers whille you enjoy these tastes, but try stay sober.