Overview of Rethymno, Crete
Between Crete’s White Mountains and Mt. Psiloritis, Rethymno prefecture, the smallest of the island, enjoys the reputation as one of the most popular touristic resorts. The reasons are many. First of all, the rich, diverse nature of the area: mainly mountainous, it features caves, rugged gorges, but also lush valleys, rivers and gorgeous sandy beaches. Fascinating monuments (ancient sites and historic monasteries), villages frozen in time, high level infrastructure and the omnipresent Cretan spirit make up an exciting destination.
The capital, Rethymno Town, is one of the most attractive among the Greek islands. Always full of life (thanks to the students of the University of Crete), it maintains a visibly Venetian style, reminding the Cretan artistic Renaissance that flourished in the 16th and 17th century. At the same time, it magically combines mansions and orthodox churches with minarets and mosques, especially in the atmospheric old town. Dominated by the well-preserved Fortezza castle and the Venetian harbor with the lighthouse, Rethymno Town is a true gem, ideal for endless day &night fun. Outside the town, you can visit typically Cretan villages, some of the most beautiful in the Greek islands. Among others, the coastal resorts of Plakias, Preveli and Agia Galini are picturesque and popular for their marvelous beaches and landscapes.
The inland settlement of Amari is the perfect starting point to explore the beautiful Amari valley with its many villages, while mountainous Spili has lush vegetation and offers many facilities. Historic Anogia village, situated at Mt Psiloritis (Idi) – the highest of the island, represents the authentic Cretan spirit, expressed by untamed mountaineers loyal to their customs. In the same way, to the sounds of the Cretan lyre, sipping raki, the rebellious heart of Rethymno is wide open to every visitor.
Find more information on Rethymno, Crete at the official website for Greek Tourism VisitGreece.gr
Photo gallery of Rethymno, Crete
Things to see & do
: The most famous beach in Rethymno is exotic - and one of the best among the Greek islands, too. Located at Preveli lagoon, in a magnificent landscape where Kourtaliotiko gorge ends and river Megalopotamos empties into the sea, it is known as “Palm beach” (Finikas) because of a small grove of palm trees. It is a sandy, fairly crowded cove with crystalline waters. Nearby you can also visit the well-known, historic Monastery of Preveli, built into lush greenery. 10.0 : Small gorgeous inlets of sand –mostly organized- and a relaxed atmosphere can be found in the homonymous coastal village, which is surrounded by mountains. 9.0 : Located at the same name touristic resort, this sandy beach is beautiful and well organized, one of the most popular in Crete.
*Near Agia Galini: Beaches Agios Georgios and Agios Pavlos. 9.0 : It owes its name to the three rocks found in its crystal blue waters (Triopetra means “three rocks” in Greek). It’s a long sandy beach, not organized, ideal to relax, swim and also enjoy a marvelous sunset. 9.0 : Among the prettiest (and longest) sandy beaches of Crete, organized and nudist friendly on the east side. The resort of the same name offers a variety of facilities. *Near Plakias: Beaches Damnoni, Ammoudi and further west, Rodakino. 9.0 : More than 20km of sandy seashore with many amenities. It starts from Rethymno town and continues to the east (Perivolia, Platanes, Adelianos Kambos, Stavromenos, Skaleta). 8.0 : A sandy, organized beach, situated at the northern village of Panormo. Nearby there are also small pebbly coves to swim in. 8.0
: Rethymno Town, Greek cuisine 9.0 : Mariou, Mediterranean cuisine 9.0 : Rethymno Town, Greek cuisine 8.0 : Plakias, Greek cuisine 8.0 : Agia Galini, Greek cuisine 8.0
: A symbol of freedom and heroism, it is a landmark site of great historical, architectural and religious importance in Crete. The holocaust of 1866 that took place here during the Cretan resistance against the Turks, the Monastery’s fortified structure and distinctive Venetian façade, the museum, the ossuary and the temples are a must-see. 10.0 : Situated close to Anogia village, on the Nida plateau of Mt Psiloritis, this cave used to be a prestigious ancient religious centre, associated with the myth of god Zeus, who was said to have been raised here. Many impressive archaeological findings were discovered in the cave, which is also fascinating from a geological point of view.
*More than 800 caves can be found in Rethymno, among which Melidoni, Gerani, Sfendoni and Kamares. 9.0 : Begin with a walk along the coastal road, filled with palm trees. Move to the old town, where you can see the Rimondi Fountain, Porta Guora, Loggia, Neratzes Mosque and the Historical and Folklore Museum. Last but not least, explore the majestic castle Fortezza to see, among others, the building of the Commander, the mosque of Sultan Ibraim Han, the remains of the ammunition depots and the building of the Counselor. 9.0 : In Eleftherna, set in the same name modern village, you can see the fascinating relics of the ancient city (a prominent necropolis, an early Christian basilica and Hellenistic and roman buildings, among others). Outside the village Armeni lies a large post-Minoan cemetery, while close to the beautiful historic settlement of Argiroupoli you can see the remnants of the ancient city of Lappa. 8.0 : Check out (preferably in spring) the Lake Kournas near the village of Georgioupoli. Do some hiking in Rethymno’s exquisite gorges, such as Kourtaliotiko, Patsos, Kotsifos, Prasses, Platania and Petres. Wander around the Amari valley and see unspoiled villages like Meronas, Gerakari, Kardaki, Thronos, Vizari. 8.0 : Don’t miss the Rethymno Wine Festival, dedicated to fine winery varieties from all over Crete – and traditional products, too. Also, the Renaissance Festival held in July at the Erofili Theatre and the Fortezza castle, a celebration of the Cretan arts Renaissance, with music, theatre, dance and exhibitions from all over the world. 7.0
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