how to go there
North part of Rethymno Prefecture, 62km W of Chania, 79km E of Heraklion
We found a parking lot in the center just opposite the Municipal Gardens.
It was pretty cheap (1,80e for the first hour and then 0,35e/h for 2nd to 5th hour and then 0,70e/h
It’s open daily 7.30-22.00
You can easily catch one of the numerous buses from other major Cretan towns, Chania (60’) and Heraklion(90’). The bus station on the west part of the city, 15’ walk from the port
Although there are some ferries to Rethymno port most ferries from Piraeus arrive at the ports of Chania or Heraklion.
There’s no airport but you can fly to Chania or Heraklion and take the bus from there.
how to move around
we walked around easily with no problem, the city center/Old Town seemed normal in size, I had a simple map to orient myself for some main attractions (churches, museums) but you don’t really need one.
plenty of them as expected, a good alternative to reach fast your destination or your hotel if you're not stay near the harbor
Not a good idea through the small one way streets and the annoyance of rare free parking space. You better leave it at the parking and walk around
we didn’t use any as we just walk in the center but we noticed many of them that serve other districts. Buy your ticket in advance.
There’s also a hop on hop off bus but I see no reason to spend 12euros for a ride that in most part is within the city center anyway but this is a small town not London or Barcelona. But this bus also goes to some Monasteries outside the city so it may be a good idea if you don’t have your own transport.
Airport transfers - shared bus vs local taxi
I wasn't sure whether to list the shared transfer bus under transportation or warnings! I suppose the former is the better choice, since there are some pros to using this service, even if I wouldn't bother again...
The return transfer from Heraklion airport to Rethymno's main town cost me £22 per person, which is far cheaper than a private transfer. I chose it because I assumed it would be more convenient than using the local bus service, particularly given that my travelling companion doesn't walk well.
Just outside the terminal is a row of transfer booths, and finding the right bus was very quick and easy. So far, so good. What wasn't so great was the long wait to get going - we were on the bus almost an hour before we left, and a number of passengers had come on a later flight. After a three and a half hour flight that isn't fantastic, so it's something to bear in mind if you opt for this transfer method.
Worse, however, was to come. The bus doesn't just go to Rethymno, stopping off on the way. I'd taken a transfer that worked like that in Malta. No. It detoured wildly, leaving the main road to go to resorts on the coast, detours that took half an hour or so before rejoining the main road. It took over three hours to reach the hotel.
Ultimately, we couldn't face the return journey, despite having paid the fare, and paid for a local taxi arranged by our hotel at a favourable rate. That cost 80 euros for both of us, somewhat cheaper than the transfer sites were offering for a one-way trip. We arrived in less than an hour.
If you can spare / justify the spend, I would have to recommend the taxi every time. Tellingly, the airport told us passengers are often told they have to wait for late arriving flights even when this is not the case. The bus is simply waiting for more passengers. That was not the case with our trip.
Another good alternative, if more fiddly, would be getting into Heraklion (either by local bus or taxi) and taking the regular bus to Rethymno. I did this journey on a separate day and it was both comfortable and good value (around 7 euros one way).
Rethymno's central bus station
The bus station was my gateway to Crete's other big cities - it's just so convenient. Unlike in many parts of the world, the bus stations in Crete seem to be very centrally located, which means getting around is easy. Rethymno is a good example, being just under ten minutes on foot away from my hotel in the heart of the old town.
This is where I took buses (which are really coaches, and very comfortable) to Heraklion and Chania. Both of these routes run pretty much every hour. Services were very punctual. This site has up-to-date timetables: http://bus-service-crete.com/
There isn't a huge amount to do at the station, just a small cafe and a ticket office. Service is good. I found that when I went to Heraklion (mid-morning) I only needed to arrive five minutes before departure and that was plenty of time to get my ticket and get on to the bus. However, leaving for Chania around the same time the next day was another matter: the ticket office had a huge queue and there were a few buses leaving at once. Luckily, the line moved quickly as I got on the - fully - bus with about a minute to go. It turned out another bus was going to Plakias, another very popular destination. My advice would be to arrive in good time!
Overall verdict: convenient, small bus station with good service. Makes coach travel easy for anyone going to or from Rethymno.
Getting There by Bus
There is bus frequent service to and from Iraklion and Chania, every half-hour from early in the morning until mid-evening. In high season, buses depart Rethymnon as late as 10pm. The fare has been about 12€ round-trip. The KTEL bus line (tel. 0030 28310 22212) that provides service to and from Chania and Iraklion is located at Akti Kefaloyianithon, at the city's western edge.
Getting There by Car
Many people visit Rethymnon by car, taking the highway from either Iraklion (80km) or Chania (70km). The public parking lot at Plateia Plastira, at the far western edge, just outside the old harbor, is best approached via the coast road from the west.
Getting There by Boat
Rethymnon does have two ship lines, which offers direct daily trips to and from Piraeus. The first ship is a high speed vessel called "Aiolos Kenteris I" and belongs to NEL Lines and costs more (5 hrs) and the "LATO" that belongs to ANEK Lines and is an older and much slower but also cheaper ship (about 10 hr.).
KTEL Bus Route
There are no trains in Crete and instead the locals rely on a superior bus service. The main route runs between Chania- Rethymnon- Heraklion but there are plenty of other routes connecting the interior villages and the South, East & West villages also. A map and timetable can be found on the web site below.
On both occasions we caught a bus between Heraklion, where we flew in, to Rethymnon and this proved to be very efficient and inexpensive. The vast majority of buses are new, very comfortable and are fitted with air fans. I think the fare from Heraklion to Rethymnon only cost about 7 Euros each, which is peanuts. For a 3-hour odd journey this is great value.
The journey takes the coastal road and gives you the chance to sit back and enjoy the scenery. The Heraklion bus terminal is situated by the port. You can either take a taxi from the airport, which should cost you no more than 5 euros or a bus. There is a bus stop at the airport and I think from memory you jump off at the second stop (the local ones all run one way into town) and walk right, down the hill and then left along the port road for about 5 minutes.
We used the bus service to go to Prevelli also and it amounts to great value and I would assume that this makes for a large saving compared to ordering a taxi. Well worth it! 7 Euros? That's just silly money.
- Budget Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
- Historical Travel
Parking in Rethymno
I like Rethymno as much as I like Chania. But Rethymno is much easier place to get around than Chania. First of all it is close to the National Hway. You have as much of shopping, restaurants and night life like in Chania. The hotels in teh Old Town of Rethymno are much cheaper then in Chania. It is still close to the airport (about 50 min from Chania and 1 hour from Heraklio). The biggest plus of Rethymno is that you have plenty of parking space on nice clean parking lot right at front of Police station, next to Fortezza. From there you can stroll your bags to your hotel easly and you are sure your car is safe during the night.
Parking lot is located on the corner of Periferiaki Leoforos & Melissinou street
Explore Rethymno by Train
There is a small touristic train that helps you explore the old town of Rethymno, the old port and all the beauties of this town with the help of expert guides.
Taxi´s in Rethymno are relativly cheap and they have fixed rates... So if you wanna go somewhere ask the driver the price before he starts driving! I think you pay more or less 5 euro for 5 km´s...