Cosmopolitan history and culture by the sea
A seaside town not far from attractive mountains and idyllic villages, Rethymon is a destination for the more discerning traveller who wants to stay in Crete. Lying serenely between Chania and Heraklion, it has no airport of its own like the other two main cities, a fact which makes it more attractive in some ways. The old town has captivating charm, with architecture that borrows from both Venetian and Ottoman styles where fountains, minarets and cobblestone streets meld to create a true feeling of wanderlust.
As you walk through Rethymnon, you will come across the Fortezza, a Venetian fortress dating from the 16th century, as well as the Venetian Loggia, once a meeting point for noblemen in the 16th century and today hosting the archeological museum with great Cretan finds. You will also find yourself face to face with the elegant Rimondi Fountain and the Porta Guora or city gate, as well as Ottoman Baths and a gallery for contemporary art. If you like museums and want to explore the town by foot, do pass by the Ecclesiastical Museum, Museum of Cretan Lyra (an traditional guitar-like instrument), and the Historical and Folklore Museum.
For seaside lovers, there are companies that will take you on sailing tours, complete with a skipper. Snorkelling and scuba diving are also on offer, keeping in mind that the town has many long beaches. Apart from the town beach, Enetiko beach is within walking distance from the town, while close beaches by car include Misiria beach, Perivolia beach, Pigianos Kampos beach, Platanias beach and Adele beach. Most are organized with beach chairs and umbrellas in summer, with cafés and restaurants not far off.
Not far from Rethymnon is the Arkadi Monastery, which is well worth a visit, even if you aren't the spiritual type. The monastery played a brave role in the Cretan Revolution against the Turkish Ottomans in 1866 but today offers serene grounds with Venetian architecture, friendly cats, and manicured gardens kept by the monks. The greater Rethymnon region also boasts a mythological cave known as Ideon Cave in the village of Anogia, as well as a wax museum in Zoniana if you want to travel into the depths of Crete. Half an hour in the other direction, i.e. towards Chania, you can also visit Kournas Lake which is a natural wonder in the middle of the Cretan mountains and have a meal around its shores with a spectacular view.
There are many authentic guesthouses dotting the landscape, as well as some good hotels and resorts close to the beach. Our offices at Akron Travel can tailor a very attractive package to your needs, so don't hesitate to get in touch.