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Rethymno Crete

Preveli Crete - palm forest and beach at the southern end of Kourtaliotiko Gorge

Rethymno Crete is a beautiful land in the central west of Crete, with its beautiful Venetian capital of the same name on the north coast, lush agricultural valleys, historic sites, harsh mountains and gorges and hundreds of beaches.

This part of Crete offers cuisine and culture, mountains, history and hiking, not to mention the clear blue seas and the sandy beaches.

Here you will find:

  • The Old Town of Rethymno
  • Plakias Beach
  • the Psiloritis Range and Mount Psiloritis
  • Zeus Cave
  • Nida Plateau
  • Preveli Palm Forest and Beach
  • the historic Monastery of Arkadi
  • Ancient Eleftherna and Museum
  • beautiful villages,

Here is a land of untold fascination, with new discoveries awaiting you at every turn.

Served by both the international airport CHQ of Chania and HER Heraklion, this region of Crete is full of great sightseeing.

Rethymno Crete
Venetian Old Town

Old Harbour and lighthouse

Rethymnon Old Town is full of surprises amongst its narrow twists and turns. The little harbour (above) is Venetian, as is the fortezza at the top of the knoll, with a beautiful view over the harbours, rooftops and coastline east and west. There are many fine examples of this beautiful architecture dotted around the township. Ottomans also left their mark as the history of Crete unfolds before your eyes whilst wandering the lane ways.

With a high standard of luxury accommodation within the old walls, as well as plenty of beach side or budget accommodation options, Rethymnon suits all sorts of travellers. Lively tavernas with traditional music give a local flavour, whilst there are many modern cafe bars and clubs too.

The University of Crete is located just out of town, while the vibrant cultural life hosts many festivals in the city such as the annual Carnival, the Rethymnon Renaissance Festival, Summer Festivals and The Cretan Diet Festival.

The coast to the west and east of town has many beautiful beaches, inland is the Amari Valley and the south coast has many sandy, stunning beaches on the Libyan Sea.

Rethymno Crete Beaches

Rethymnon Beach, CreteRethymnon Town Beach is a long wide sandy beach

There are many beautiful beaches in Rethymnon region:

Preveli Beach CretePreveli Beach and Palm Forest is in the south of the Rethymno region

Mountains and Gorges

Psiloritis - Mt Ida in snow (image by Dimitris Pachakis)

Mount Ida or Psiloritis is the highest mountain in Crete. Sitting looking down over the whole island, at an elevation of 2,456 m, with Zeus Cave near the peak overlooking Nida Plateau, all of which are snow bound in winter and well into spring.

Exploring Rethymno Crete

Margarites Village (image by Yiannis Makrakis)

Margarites Village is known for its idyllic rural setting, and colourful pottery. A 30 km drive from Rethymnon town, local sights include a cave and gorge. A visit to Μαργαρίτες can be included in a trip to Arkadi Monastery and Ancient Elefterna.

Arkadi Monastery grounds

Arkadi Monastery has a beautiful facade built in the Venetian style, due to damage from rebellions, of which is was the centre during Cretan clashes with the occupying Turkish forces in 1866. Μονή Αρκαδίου is 22 km south-east of town.

Spili Village fountain - an oasis of cool during summer

Spili Village has lush green and a trickling fountain, sit next to the cooling waters during summer for a meal. Σπήλι is 27 km south of Rethymnon town in the centre of the island and at the entrance to the Amari Valley.

Anogeia Plateia

Anogeia Village high in the mountains near to Mt Ida and Zeus Cave has a sorrowful yet passionate history. Visit here to feel the very heart of Kriti.

Avli Lounge Apartments

Top Tips from We Love Crete

Accommodation Rethymnon

Experience Rethymno Crete

From gourmet cooking and wine tasting to beach swimming at Preveli Palm Forest, walking through rugged gorges, get out and see Rethymno Crete today.

Rethymnon Ρέθυμνο is a thriving modern capital town with plenty of colour and vibrance, beautiful architecture and layered history to explore. We suggest staying within the walls of the Old Town, sitting by the Venetian harbour or by the Fortezza and soaking up the atmosphere in the laneways.

To get the guidance of a local, choose your town or country tour below.

Rethymnon Conquered Morning Tour with Wine and Food Tasting

Rethymnon Old Town and Food Tasting Private Tour - this walking tour of the old town of Rethymnon will show you the city the way locals see it. Stop at traditional food stores to sample local delicacies, stop for coffee in a cafe, and finish off with Cretan meze in a taverna. 4 hours.

Barbarossa Pirate Ship Cruise from Rethymnon Old Port

Barbarossa Pirate Ship Cruise - take  yourself and your family back in time on the Black Rose replica Spanish galleon. Visit pirate caves, snorkel and swim in some of the prettiest coastline in Crete. This is a 1 hour cruise.

Arkadi by Lostajy

From Rethymno: Arkadi, Melidoni, and Margarites Tour  -

  • Explore the village of Margarites and admire the local pottery
  • Discover the magnificent Melidoni Cave
  • Explore Arkadi Monastery, the oldest monastery on the island
  • Enjoy lunch at a family-run tavern and listen to live music typical of Crete
  • 10 hours

Preveli Beach and Palm Forest is like a secret hideaway on the south coast of Crete

Preveli Palm Beach and Plakias Experience - visit the south coast of Rethymnon:

  • Pass through the Kourtaliotiko Gorge
  • Free time on Preveli Beach & Palm Forest
  • Enjoy free time at Plakias Beach
  • 8.5 hours

Videos of Rethymno Crete
Town and Country

Enjoy a calm video of one day in town.

Highlights of the region.

Enjoy the Cretan Diet Festival - All about local food and customs!

Enjoy Carnival!

On the Map

See the beaches of Rethymnon on the map below.

Rethymno Crete Images

All around the region

Mountains from Plakias Bay (Image by rgfotos)

Mountains from Plakias Bay

Damnoni Cove (Image by Wolfgang Staudt)

Damnoni Cove

The old town with Venetian fortezza on top of the hill

The old town with Venetian fortezza on top of the hill.

Venetian Fortezza is in ruins now

The Venetian Fortezza looks over the Med and the Old Town.

Rethymno Beach Restaurant

Enjoy long summer days on Rethymnon Beach.

Arkadi Monastery

Arkadi Monastery tells a story of rebellion.

At the place of embarkation of troops during WWII, a monument to peace, Preveli.

At the place of embarkation of troops during WWII, a monument to peace, Preveli.

Triopetra Beach

Triopetra Beach is long, wide and sandy.

Getting to Crete

Rethymnon is served by two international airports. The town is 70 km from Chania Airport and 82 km from Heraklion Airport. Local buses and transfers operate regularly from each place.

Ferries from Athens Pireaus Port dock at Souda Port of Chania and Heraklion Port, the journey takes around 9 hours.

Details of flights and ferries below.

The local bus from Chania to Rethymnon takes 1 hour and services are frequent.

The local bus from Heraklion to Rethymnon takes around 90 minutes with regular services departing from Bus Station A near the port in Heraklion.

Car hire in Crete is a really good idea as it is a large island 60 km by 260 km. There is so much to explore.

When you book with our car rental partners - Rental Centre Crete - you are supporting a local company with excellent service and easy online booking. We are sure you will be well looked after by the team. Choose from hybrid, electric or regular vehicles.

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We trust you have enjoyed these tips from the We Love Crete team. Evíva!

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