Tourist’s guide to Rethymnon, Crete: what to see and where to go

Rethymnon is a settlement in the western part of the island of Crete and a regional administrative center, which has preserved the comfort and charm of small European towns. Located midway between Heraklion and Chania. The sights of Rethymnon (Crete) reflect the centuries-old history of the city, the influence of different cultures and religions.

Rethymno, Crete


One of the most beautiful settlements of Crete captivates and attracts tourists. The architecture has preserved elements of the Roman, Minoan, Turkish and Venetian cultures. Excursions from Rethymnon – a great way to get acquainted with the history of the village.

Related entries:

Rethymnon Old Town

In fact, the historical part of Rethymnon – this is an open-air museum – a maze of narrow streets where you can easily get lost, so it is better to take care of the map in advance. The abundance of Venetian churches, Turkish mosques, Catholic churches, skillful fountains and amazing architectural monuments will surely force you to get a camera and enjoy a walk along the Greek streets. The overall picture of the old Rethymnon harmoniously complement the harbor and the lighthouse on the waterfront.

Rethymnon Old Town

Good to know! All the most famous attractions are within walking distance of the harbor, so a walk or tour of Rethymnon is recommended to start from here.

Where to go in Rethymnon? First of all, you need to see the Venetian fortress Fortezza, which is recognized as the largest building on the shores of Greece.

Good to know! The construction took seven years, 110 thousand people were involved.

At the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon
Archaeological Museum

Opposite the Venetian fortress is the Archaeological Museum, previously there was a city prison in this building. On Arapatzoglou Street you can go to the Museum of Marine Life, located in a restored monastery. On the next street is the Municipal Gallery, where canvases by contemporary Greek artists are presented. Be sure to visit the Square of the Four Martyrs and go to the church of the same name. You can also see:

  • Historical and Ethnographic Museum on Vernandou Street;
  • Venetian Loggia on Palelogou Street, today open a gift shop here;
  • Guor gate;
  • Mosques of Neradze and Kara Musa Pasha.

It is important! If you want to see as many attractions as possible in Rethymnon, be sure to bring along a navigator, guidebook or map. You can also buy a tour and not only enjoy the beautiful views of Crete, but also learn historical facts and hear local legends.

Fortezza Fortress

Venetian Fortress Fortezza, Crete

The excursion to the unique fortification in Rethymnon begins at the Paleokastro hill, which is located in the northwestern part of the city. The name of the hill in translation means – the old fortress. Excavations in this part of the city are still ongoing, and archaeologists find important historical exhibits.

Good to know! According to one legend, on the hill was the temple of Apollo, the sanctuary of Artemis, and Zeus was born in the mountains nearby.

The main gate of the fortress

The fortress has the shape of a pentagon, and on a vast area there were barracks, churches, hospitals, wells, warehouses. Fortezza is the largest Venetian building that has survived in Europe to this day.

The main gate is between the bastions of St. Mary and St. Nicholas. In the center of the fortress you can visit the mosque of Sultan Ibrahim, nearby is a small church of St. Catherine, rebuilt from a water storage tank.

Guns on the territory of the fortress

Numerous cultural events are organized on the territory of the fortress. The Erofili Open Theater hosts a renaissance festival every year.

Practical information:

  • Address: Leof. Emmanouil Kefalogianni 27;
  • work schedule: daily from 8-00 to 20-00;
  • ticket price: adult – 4 EUR, children – 2.60 EUR;
  • You can enter the territory of the fortress from the embankment or from the side of the old city.

Useful information! Entrance from the embankment is preferable, since the ascent to the top is more gentle.

Venetian harbor

After leaving, the Venetians left many architectural sights in Rethymnon. The Venetian harbor is undoubtedly on their list. It was built in the Middle Ages, still on the promenade you can see small old Italian houses.

Venetian harbor
Venetian Harbor Lighthouse

This is the oldest part of Rethymnon and Crete, but ships enter the harbor today. Its area is only 5.2 thousand m2, and the length of the pier is 390 m.

A lighthouse dating from the 17th century was built at the entrance, and along the coast there are a huge number of cafes, taverns and souvenir shops. There is a fishing market in the southern part of the harbor, where you can buy fresh and inexpensive seafood.

Interesting fact! From the side of Venizelu Street, a pirate ship is moored to the shore – excellent entertainment for children.

Botanical Garden

Chameleon in the park

If you do not know where to go and what to see in Rethymno with children, pay attention to the Biotopoi Natural Park. Here are collected representatives of the flora and fauna of the island of Crete. Among the exhibits are unique tropical plants that can only be seen on the island of Crete, there are exotic species of butterflies, teas of tropical varieties. The park is home to about 50 species of local animals.

Entrance to Biotopoi Nature Park

Good to know! To get to the park, you need to walk about 1.5 km uphill, moving from the hourglass located in the old Rethymnon. Ticket price – 5 EUR. Excursions are conducted by volunteers, they tell a lot of interesting things.

The area of ​​interest is small, so you can see it in 10-15 minutes. Nature lovers will be more interested in acquiring an excursion with a guide. The botanical garden has a children’s playground with attractions and trampolines, souvenir shops and bookstores with thematic literature work.

Rimondi Fountain

Rimondi Fountain

You can see the landmark in the old Rethymnon, on Platano Square. For four centuries, the fountain has provided tourists with fresh water. The building was built in the early 17th century by order of the governor of Rethymnon. It is not known for certain, but it is believed that the fountain was older and the governor simply reconstructed it. The holes from which water flows down the bowls of the pools are decorated in the shape of lion heads. In the center of the architrave is the coat of arms of Rimondi.

Good to know! In the middle of the 17th century, the Turks built a dome over the fountain, but to this day it has not survived. Perhaps it was destroyed by local residents. According to one legend, lovers came to the fountain to drink water from it together. In this case, the girl and the guy are sure to get married.

Video: Rethymno Old Town.

Arkadi Monastery

The attraction is famous all over the world, located 25 km from Rethymnon and covers an area of ​​5.2 thousand m2, it is considered the largest in Crete. Thousands of pilgrims who profess different religions come to Rethymno every year.

Arkadi Monastery, Rethymnon

Today – Arkadi Monastery – this is a large complex, where many rooms have been preserved – cells, dining room, storage. You can also see the ruins of the powder warehouse. The monks still live on the territory of Arkadi, maintain cleanliness and care for the attraction.

Interesting fact! Previously, Arkadi was a center of culture and education, where manuscripts were taught and copied, and a workshop was also built where they were skillfully embroidered with gold.

According to one legend, the founder of Arkadi is the monk Arkadius, it was he who found the icon in this place right in the olive tree.

Church relics

Today the monastery is a unique museum where exclusive relics are stored – church vestments, stock, manuscripts, a tool, icons.

Practical information:

  • from Rethymnon to the monastery buses go – on weekdays three flights, on weekends – one flight;
  • also from Rethymnon can be reached by sightseeing train;
  • ticket price – 3 EUR;
  • work schedule: in the winter – from 9-00 to 16-00, in the summer and in September – from 9-00 to 20-00, in April, May and October – from 9-00 to 19-00 and in November – from 9- 00 to 17-00.

Ancient cave church of St. Anthony

The road to the shrine lies through the Patsos gorge with cliffs, caves, waterfalls, amazing flora and fauna, it is located 23 km from Rethymnon to the south-east of the city. The cave of St. Anatony – the patron saint of children and health – is an amazing place where thousands of people have already been healed, leaving here crutches, canes and other evidence of the disease. Inside the cave there are buckets, where holy water gradually flows.

Scheme of the gorge and the location of the Church of St. Anthony
Church gorge

In addition to the cave, you can go to the holy spring. A small church is attached to the cave, the walls of which are covered with notes with requests for healing.

Good to know! In the cave, archaeologists found a record that confirms that they used to worship Hermes here. During the tour, tourists always leave coinage with a prayer for health.

Practical information:

Entrance to the cave church of St. Anthony
  • the attraction is located in Amari province, between the Potami Dam and the village of Patsos;
  • the length of the walking route is 1.4 km, the road is difficult, you have to overcome boulders, wooden stairs with rope handrails;
  • next to the cave you can go to the observation deck and sit on benches;
  • in guides, the attraction is often indicated as the Patsos gorge;
  • not recommended to travel with children;
  • Be sure to put on comfortable, athletic shoes;
  • you should have a supply of water with you;
  • Be sure to consider the time required for the return trip.

Monastery of Preveli

The attraction is rightfully considered one of the most interesting in Crete. The temple is built on the side of a mountain with a picturesque view of the Libyan Sea.

Monastery of Preveli, Rethymnon

Useful information! On the way from Rethymnon, you can make an excursion to the Kurtaliiotiko gorge, go to the local beach of Preveli, it is also called Palm Beach.

Monastery Zoo

Entrance for tourists to the monastery is allowed since 2013. There is a church shop at the entrance to the church, and tourists are invited to go to the source with holy water on the territory. The main temple consists of two chapels – in honor of John the Theologian and the Blessed Virgin. To the left of the monastery you can make an excursion to the old cemetery, chapel and go to the crypt. Be sure to visit a small zoo and a picturesque park with roses and exotic plants. Near the church you can go to the bridge, built in the middle of the 19th century. You can also visit the museum of icons and church utensils. The collection of iconography is recognized as unique.

Interesting fact! The main relic is the miraculous Cross of Ephraim of Prevelius, which heals eye diseases.

Practical information:

  • distance from Rethymno to the temple – 32 km;
  • regular buses from the city follow twice a day;
  • a one-way taxi ride will cost 40 euros;
  • for owners of private vehicles paid parking is equipped;
  • the temple can be viewed on its own or purchased an excursion from Rethymnon in Crete;
  • entrance ticket to the monastery – 4 euros;
  • work schedule – daily from 8-00 to 18-30.

See also: Holidays in Rethymnon – beaches, weather, prices .

Kotsifu Gorge

The attraction is located on the route from Rethymnon to Agios Nicholas. The road passes through the Kurtaliot Gorge, the Temple of Preveli and the village of Mirfio. It is from the village of Mirfio that one should head to Agios Nicholas, where the entrance to the natural gorge is located.

Kotsifu Gorge

Interesting fact! In some places, the road narrows to only ten meters, and somewhere it extends to 600 meters.

Here, the whistling of the wind is constantly heard, so locals call the attraction – the Whistling Gorge. On the way to it you can see the Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker, hidden right in the rock.

The Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker in the Gorge of Kotsifu
Church of St. Nicholas the Wonderworker

Asphalt road passes surrounded by beautiful landscapes. At the beginning of the route, you can go to two waterfalls, and at the end of the road takes tourists to Jalias Beach. The route to the northern plateau passes through the villages of Kanevo, Agkuseliana and Agios Vasilos. If you turn left, you can visit the village of Armenikos.

Good to know! It is best to go to the gorge as part of an excursion group. The guide will tell a lot of interesting things about the sights. By the way, excursions to the gorge are sent from many large cities of Crete.

Find out RATES or book any accommodation using this form

Mountain range ida

The mountain range is also called Psiloritis, it passes through the whole island of Crete. Its highest point is almost 2.5 km, the church of Timios Stavros is built here. The snow here does not melt even in June.

Mountain range ida

Tourists are stunned by the grandeur of the mountains, gorges, caves, plateaus and villages that dangerously hang right over the abyss. For many centuries, the mountain was considered a sacred place. According to one legend, Zeus was brought up here.

The main settlement of the mountain range is the settlement of Anogia, you can also visit Nida and see with your own eyes the domed houses. The uniqueness of the houses is that they cost them without mortar, but simply from stones. Also, tourists are invited to visit:

Skinakas Observatory
  • Ida Cave;
  • Zomintos Palace;
  • Skinakas Observatory.

Many caves are open for visiting, for example, Sfendoni, Gerontospilos, Kamares. The gorges of Gafaris, Vorizia, Keri, Vromonero, Platania are very popular. In 2001, another attraction was opened on the ridge – a natural park where you can get acquainted with the wildlife of Crete.

The sights of Rethymno (Crete) allow you to plunge into several eras at once and make an amazing journey into the distant past.

Prices on the page are for May 2018.

All the attractions of Rethymno and the surrounding area described in the article are marked on the map in Russian. To see all the objects, click on the icon in the upper left corner of the map.

Leave a Comment