Rethymno is one of the most well-preserved Venetian cities in Greece. The attractiveness of the city of Rethimno is formed by the inner harbour overlooked by the Venetian Fortezza fortress, the Venetian and Turkish mansions and the nearby sandy beach. Thanks to these elements of beauty and culture, the city of Rethymno has blossomed into a top summer destination with many hotels by the beach, numerous restaurants in the medieval alleys, lively bars and lots of shops.
The city of Rethymno is situated on the north coast of Crete, on the eastern side of the Gulf of Almyros. Palia Poli (the Old City) has been declared as a traditional settlement and protected monument. It has kept characteristics of the course of the Venetians, while in some places there are obvious signs of the time passage, the Turkish conquest and of course the continous habitation till today.
The numerous hotels and the long sandy beach have made Rethymno one of the most popular travel destinations for summer holidays.
Your tour in the city should start from the Venetian harbor with the fishing boats, the famous lighthouse and the numerous taverns. Continue on Paleologos street to see the "Krini Rimonti" and then the beautiful church "Kyria ton Aggelon" (which means "Our lady of the Angels"). The Historical and Folklore Musem and the Nerantze Mosque are definitely worth seeing, as well as the Venetian "Lotzia", the city's oldest building. There is a public tourist shop hosted there, where you can buy original souvenirs.
The Castle Fortezza is the hallmark of the city of Rethymnon. It dominates on the hill of Paleokastro and is reputed to be the largest Venetian castle ever built. Many cultural venues take place there, including the Renaissance Festival every summer.
The sandy beach of Rethymno extends on an area of 12 km, starting from the city to the Scarleta region. It is well organized and ideal for swimming, relaxing or enjoying your favourite water sport. By car or bus, you can easily access other beaches of the prefecture as well, such as the Platanos, Panormos or Moni Preveli, the exotic beach with the palm trees, which is said to be the best in Crete.
Rethymno offers to the modern traveller everything he needs: different types of accommodation (big hotels, rooms and apartments for rent, studios etc), traditional taverns, elegant restaurants, bars, cafes, everything!
A trip to Rethymno should be combined with excursions to the close areas and the traditional villages of the prefecture so as to admire the natural beauties, the rich history and monuments, as well as to enjoy the locals' warm hospitality.
Rethymno has been occupied since Minoan times but flourished under Venetian rule. The Venetians actually bought it from Genovese but they did not fortify the city only after the first invasion from Barbarossa in 1538 and then a second invasion by Turks in 1562 when Venetians built the fortress of Fortezza. The 16th century is the city’s greatest acne in arts and trading with many artist and scholars from Rethymno working to Venice as well. The city declines abruptly in 1669 when it was occupied by Ottoman Turks who ruled for three hundred years until 1897.
From the indipendence of Crete in 1897, the city began to grow again. Roads, bridges, schools were constructed, but then the growth had to stop for one more time during the Battle of Crete in World War II. The city suffered several disasters. A significant part of the Venetian old city, however, survived and is now considered as one of the best surviving in the whole country.
After liberalization, the city again began to grow, both residential and spiritually. The Faculty of Philosophy and the Faculty of Social and Political Science of the University of Crete gave a significant boost, as well as the opening of the Library which currently operates in the university campus in the Gallou settlement.The city of Rethymno is the capital city of Rethimno regional unit and the third largest city in Crete with a total population of 32.694 residents, 2.500 of them being students in the local University. Rethimno is located on the northern part of Crete facing the Cretan Sea. It is 78 km far from the city of Irakleio and 58 km far from the city of Chania.
Most of the old city of Rethymno is built by Venetians. The delightful Venetian-Ottoman quarter is a maze of narrow streets, mansions with wooden balconies and Turkish minarets. Nerantzes Mosque is the best preserved Ottoman relic which is now a music school and concert hall. Porta Guora which is the only intact remnant of the Venetian city walls leads from the central square of Tessaron Martyron to the old city. The Historical and Folk Art Museum has a great collection of tools, textiles and traditional costumes.
If we were to make a list with the most worth seeing spots of Rethymno, this would include the following:
- The Old City
- The Venetian harbor
- Krini Rimonti at the square of Platanos
- The Venetian Lotzia
- The Historic and Folklore Museum
- The Fortezza Castle
- The church "Kyria ton Aggelon" (Our Lady of the Angels)
The market located on Ethnikis Antistasis street is one of the most interesting markets in Crete with open fronted shops and numerous of Cretan products: herbs, honey, snails, several types of local cheese and of course raki, the famous Cretan firewater.
By ferry boats departing from Piraeus Port in Athens. The trip takes about 10 hours. Alternatively, you can reach Rethymno by aeroplane, via Heraklion or Chania and then by car or bus.
Piraeus Port Authorities: +302104226000-4, 2104511310-17
Rethymno Port Authorities: +302831022276Police: +30 28310 25247
Tourist Police: +30 28310 28156, +30 28310 29148
Port Authorities of Rethymno: +30 28310 22276
Local Buses Services: +30 28310 22212
Hospital: +30 28310 27491Rethymno is worth visiting all year round. For summer holidays prefer the period from May till October. The highlight event is the Rethymnian Carnival that takes place usually in March having its origins in the Venetian Carnival.
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RethymnoRethymno is one of the most well-preserved Venetian cities in Greece. The attractiveness of the city of Rethimno is formed by the inner harbour overlooked by the Venetian Fortezza fortress, the Venetian and Turkish mansions and the nearby sandy beach. Thanks to these elements of beauty and culture, the...
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