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Go to Rethymno!!!
Rethymno is a mini-Chania, it is more quiet (I did not say quiet, I say MORE QUIET) than Chania. You can see more local people on the streets of the Old Town. Not every building in the Old Town is converted into a hotel, people actually live there.
Harbour is much smaller than the one in Chania, but the beach is bigger. Harbour restaurant stuff try really hard to get you, but don't let that bother you. I go there usually for coffee, to look at the water and to relax in the shade during the day.
Rethymno is also easier to park and get around.
It is definitely place to visit during your summer vacation.
Check out my Rethymno tips on my Rethymno page.
The old town of Rethymnon is another beautiful mixture of Venetian and Turkish architecture. Just wander through the narrow streets and enjoy the athmosphere. I found the visit to the big Ventian fortress a bit disappointed as there are no tables with information. But on the other hand, there's not really much to see inside anyway.... Admission to the fortress is 3 Euro.
- Budget Travel
Rethymnon, Neratzes Mosque
There's quite a few attractive, historical buildings in the Old Town too, such as this former mosque (Nerantzes Mosque) which is now used as a concert hall and music centre. This was right behind our apartment and the minarette filled the view from our bedroom window. Lovely.
Rethymnon, Rimondi Fountain
The Rimondi fountain is a set of lions heads (the lion of St Mark, the symbol of Venice) that spout water into a trough. It's set amongst the remnants of some archways and against a very pretty pink rendered building. Nearby in the small square is one of our favourite eating and drinking places, Gallerie 1926.
Rethymnon, Venetian Harbour
The harbour is lined with restaurants and tavernas, mainly specialising in seafood. The views across the harbour to the lighthouse are very nice, especially in the evening around sunset when the lighthouse is bathed in a warm glow.
The waiters/front men at these places are very pushy though, and physically block your path as you try to walk along the harbour side. This is very frustrating when all you want to do is walk round and have a look at the views etc!
I would have liked to have eaten here one day but there were so many other places to eat that we never got round to it.
Rethymnon Old Town
Rethymnon Old Town is a warren of narrow streets filled with colourful buildings, many of which seem to be tavernas, restaurants or shops, though there is plenty of residential housing too around the fringes. It's lovely to just wander through them all, finding what is around the next corner.
This is a very important and beautiful town in western Crete, about 2 hours by bus from both Chania and Iraklio.
Rethymno is an academic city. It boasts a large Venetian fortress. I loved the narrow streets of Rethymno and the panoramic views from its fortress. Rethymno is Crete's another must-see :-)
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The Fortezza was built around 1570 by the Venetians and is considered to be the biggest that they ever built. Inside it is sprawling, with a mixture of open land and scattered buildings. Amongst these is a mosque, a theatre and a couple of churches, and the open land is a nice place to bring a picnic and relax for a while. The views from the ramparts of the Fortezza over the whole of Rethymnon are spectacular.
Rethymnon, Venetian Gate
There's really not much left to see of this, but it's the only remaining Venetian gate into the city. The others have been dismantled over time to give improved access to the city. Just beyond the gate are a number of shops selling fruit, veg, fish, bread etc. from open frontages. It gives the area an air of a market square and in addition there are other good gift and craft shops around this area.
If you go back (turn 180 degrees from this view) and up to the main road (maybe 80m or so) and turn right, a little way along is "Select", the best cake shop we found in Rethymnon (and maybe Crete).
Walk around the streets of Rethimno.
Walk around the streets of Rethimno is very nice especially in the evening when you can end your walk in one of the nice Greek taverns and restaurants. In the Old Town of Rethimno there are a lot of really nice taverns with the romantic atmosphere and it is really worth to drop by to have a dish or drink there.
You can also see the 16th century Venetian Loggia, one of the most important Rethimno's historic monument . It was an elitist club of Venetian nobility in the past and there is a gallery now and you can buy there a copy of antic stuff.
The other famous historic monument is a Rimondi Fountain from 1629 year which you can see during your walk around the Old Town of Rethimno (it is nor far from Loggia).
- Arts and Culture
- Historical Travel
Rethymnon Venetian Harbour
The Venetian Harbour area at Rethymon is very attractive, built as it is of very warm coloured stone that looks especially good at sunset. The most prominent feature on the harbour is the lighthouse (shown here) and this is also the best place to go to get a good view back across to the harbourside restaurants, which themselves form an attractive view.
Rethymnon, Church Of The Four Martyrs
Nothing too fancy from the outside, the Church Of The Four Martyrs is quite literally a work of art inside. I've never seen such bold and intricate decorations in a church before, and the fact that they're painted onto arches and domes gives them an almost 3-D effect. They seem to reach out and engulf you. It's quite wonderful. It's fairly modern though, no great history associated with it.
Rethymnon, Kara Mousa Passa Mosque
A bit of a mouthful, this old derelict mosque stands at the eastern end of the old town just before you hit the beach resort. It's quite pretty but hemmed in by and overgrown garden and trees. In its ground are some remaining moslem gravestones.
The cathedral was right behind our apartment. We guess that it was maybe the cathedral clock that chimed every half hour, 24 hours a day. We expected this to keep us awake at night but ample helpings of wine and cakes usually saw us out like a light each night.
The interior of the cathedral is quite lovely, but for something even better seek out The Church Of The Four Martyrs (see next tip).
Rethymno town, with appoximately 30.000 inhabitants, is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and it is built between two other large cities of Crete. In the east is Iraklion (80 km) and to the west is Chania (60 km).
Rethymno offers two styles of visit: the endless big beach hotel strip that stretches from the east end of Rethymno, lapping up the coastal "villages" of Perivolia, Platanias, Adelianos Kambos, Pigianos Kambos, Sfakaki, Stavromenos, Skaleta... and the Rethymno that shows you the character of the old town with it mix of architecture and history, cultural influinces and styles ranging from Venetian to Ottoman empire.
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