The most representative part of the city with its long Golden beach is one of the top places to visit in the beautiful Rethymno town. Around the Venetian harbour you can find many restaurants and cafes where you can have a romantic dinner and have a beautiful view of the city promenade, or go for a sunset stroll most days of the year. In the middle of the harbour you can see The Egyptian Lighthouse, one of the most famous sights in Rethymnon. It was built during the 1830s period when the Ottoman Empire controlled the island and gave it to the Egyptians.
The Venetian Fortezza (fortress) sits at the west side of the city, close to the new harbour. It was built on Paleokastro hill by the Venetians in 1573 to protect the city of Rethymnon from the Turks. By the middle of the seventeenth century, the Ottomans had taken over.
Today the Fortezza is a complex of beautiful historic buildings with stunning sea views. An important site in citadel is the old church of St Nicholas that was turned into the mosque of Sultan Ibraim Han. Nowadays it is a home to cultural exhibitions.
Being on the west makes it an ideal spot to watch the sunset.
The Rimondi fountain sits in the center of the city at Petychaki square. It is one of the best reminders of the Venetian period, built in 1626 by the Venetian governor Rimondi due to the lack of drinking water. The fountain still serves fresh water from its three lion heads into three basins.
Guora Gate or the Great Door was once one of the main entrances into the city and the part of the former Venetian City Walls. Now it is the only part left from the old fortification wall. It can be found at the Four Martyrs square and leads to the main market street.
Very close to the Venetian Harbour you can find the 16th century beautiful square and prominent building in the middle of town. It used to be the place where the Venetian officials and nobility used to meet to discuss important matters. Today it houses a market for art reproductions.
There are many beautiful Greek Orthodox, Catholic, and Islamic religious structures in the city worth visiting. They witness the long and layered history of the city.
Catholic Church St. Anthony of Padua serves a small community of Catholics who still live in Crete island. Despite many Venetian churches were turned into mosques, Catholics built smaller chapels and continued to practice their faith.
Chapel of Agios Spyridon is a tiny Byzantine chapel Built into the cliffs below the Fortezza. Outside of chapel you can see stunning views of the mountains and the sea.
Church of Our Lady of the Angels built by the Dominicans during the Venetian period was dedicated to Mary Magdalene and served as a Catholic church until the Turks converted it into a mosque. It has been Greek Orthodox since 1917.
Hagia Sophia Church was built in the 17th century and despite its simple look from outside, the stunning interior of the church will surprise you. The white Islamic plaque is from the time when this was converted into a mosque.
Neratze Mosque used to be the Catholic church of Santa Maria during the Venetian times. During the Turkish period it was turned into the most prominent mosque dedicated to Gazi Huseyin Pasha, who conquered the city. Nowadays it is used for exhibitions and concerts. It is located on Mikrasiaton Square.
The old town of Rethymno is one of the most favorite places to visit. It is declared as a protected historical monument and a traditional settlement of the city, known as “Labyrinth” as well. Stroll through the narrow alleys full of souvenirs stands, shops advertising local products, wander down Paleologou, streets Arabatzoglou, and if you’re looking for copies of Cretan archeological finds, stop by the Loggia. Here you can admire many buildings that have preserved the Venetian and Ottoman influence.
Walk at the Mikrasiaton Square that hosts some of the best Rethymnon street art, along with the Nezarte Mosque and city war memorial.
Tessaron Martyron Square & the Municipal Garden are situated near the Guora Gate where the old town meets the new city. It is a popular place for children where they can enjoy the playground.
Platanos Square is located by Rimondi Fountain, lined with cafes and shops.
Every Thursday or Saturday morning, you can visitthe open-air market, called the Laiki, while on Wednesday afternoon you can visit the farmer’s market.
Rethymno museums do not require much of your time to visit them and entrance fees are low.
Archeological Museum entrance fee costs just one euro. It hosts objects from the history of Rethymno, dating from the Neolithic era through the Roman period.
Ecclesiastical Museum shows church history and the rare objects from the churches in Rethymnon, icons, coins, and the inner workings of the clocktower.
The Historical – Folk Museum of Rethymno is housed in a 17th century Venetian house. It exhibits objects of traditional handicraft work and folklore art.
Argyroupoli village is located 21 km away from Rethymnon town. It is a traditional village very famous for its springs. It has a rich vegetation, small waterfalls and small springs. There are a lot of restaurants serving a very tasty food.
Margarites is a mountain village surrounded by stunning natural beauty. The village is called Margarites, by the story of queen Margarita who very much loved the locale so she sold her jewellery to build a settlement in her honour.
Another story says that the name of the village comes from “magarika” meaning “clay” during the Byzantine period which might be the true story as the village is famous for its pottery for years.
Explore pottery workshops, village cafés and the range of local churches here.
You will find The Arcadiou Monastery on 23 km away from the town of Rethymnon. It is one of the most important historic monuments in Crete. The monastery played an active role in the Cretan resistance of Ottoman rule during the Cretan revolt of 1866. After three days of battle 943 Greeks, mostly women and children refugees, they blew up barrels of gunpowder, choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender. The explosion attracted the attention of the rest of the world and the monastery became a national sanctuary.
The Preveli Monastery is located 37 km away from Rethymnon. It consists of the Lower monastery (Kato Moni) which is abandoned but can still be visited, and the Rear Monastery ( Piso Moni) that is still in funciton. Close to the Monastery is Preveli beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in South Crete starting at the exit of the Kourtaliotiko gorge where the river Megas Potamos meets the sea. You can walk inside the Palm trees wood and this gives the area a unique tropical look and has made this beach very famous and popular.