Rethymno

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Rethymno (Ρέθυμνο) is a popular city in the heart of Crete.

Understand[edit]

The town of Rethymno has a rich history; it was occupied by the Romans, the Venetians and most recently by the Ottoman Empire. Rethymno was founded by the Minoans who are also credited as being the first civilisation in Europe.

Today Rethymno is a modern Greek city full of life with a steady influx of foreign visitors. The local university attracts many students from all over Greece and also internationally.

Rethymno combines old city charm, historic landmarks, and proximity to traditional villages as well as some of Crete's finest beaches.

If you want to spend most of your Cretan holiday in one place, then Rethymno town is the ideal choice. It also provides easy access to other major cities for day trips.

Get in[edit]

By Bus[edit]

You can reach Rethymno by public bus from Chania or Heraklion (both have an airport). To get to Rethymno from Heraklio it takes 90 minutes and costs 8,30€ while from Chania it takes 60 minutes and costs 6,70€. Public buses in Crete are run by KTEL company and you can find the bus schedule online. You can easily buy a ticket when you are in Crete. There is no need to book online.

By Plane[edit]

Rethymno has no airport of it's own, but it is easily accessible by bus from Heraklion (80km away) and Chania (56km away). Chania airport is much smaller and far less busy than Heraklion airport, but both are served by multiple airlines including easyJet, Ryanair, Monarch Airlines, and Aegean Airlines.

By Ferry[edit]

Ferries run daily from Athens Pireaus port to Crete. The ferry boats arrive in either Chania or Heraklion ports. Ferry tickets may be acquired through Minoan [1] or Anek [2] ferry companies. You can also buy a ferry ticket from one of the many travel agencies around Greece.

Get Around[edit]

By bus[edit]

As with most places in Greece, tickets must be purchased at a shop before boarding public buses. For information it is best to attend the counter in the Public Bus Station of Rethymno (KTEL). Public buses in Crete are generally comfortable, reliable and the ones on longer routes come with air-conditioning during summer months.

By taxi[edit]

Almost all taxi fleets in Crete are comprised of modern Mercedes vehicles with air-conditioning and leather seats. Taxis can be hailed on the streets or at designated pickup points (known in Greek as "taxi piazza"). It is advised to always ask for a fixed price to your destination before entering the taxi to avoid unpleasant (and costly) surprises. You are entitled to the entire cab so if the driver attempts to pickup additional passengers you should refuse. You can ask for a printed invoice when paying cash. Since most taxi drivers own their taxis and work for themselves, it is unnecessary to tip.

By car[edit]

Many car rental companies can be found along the beachside of Rethymno. Some of them operate as private businesses while others are international franchises. It is advised that you request full insurance to be included in your car rental price. Also if you choose a private car rental shop you may be able to ask for an additional discount. Remember to inspect the car for any damages before you sign the contract.

See[edit][add listing]

  • Old Town Being the historic centre of Rethymno, this is an area full of life. There are various landmarks from different eras of this ancient city. Most notably one can find Venetian, Roman and Ottoman remnants. Rethymno was originally founded by the Minoans, the first civilisation of Crete and Europe. Apart from history, one can visit various small shops, cafés, bars and restaurants. There are many locals living in the Old Town and plenty of apartment rentals for tourists. The Old Town of Rethymno is perhaps the most interesting area of Crete. A popular swimming beach can be found in the borders of the Old Town.
  • Fortezza Castle The acropolis of Rethymno, this Venetian era citadel was built in the 16th century. Visitors can enter and explore the entire area within its massive walls, offering great views of Rethymno city, surrounding mountains, and coastline. There are only a few remaining buildings within the castle. Concerts are frequently held in the castle's arena.
    Rethymno Fortezza gate
  • The Venetian Harbour A notable remnant of the Rethyno's Venetian period with an antique lighthouse. Though the taverns around the harbour are tourist traps and you are better off avoiding them.
    Rethymno Lighthouse
  • Rethymno beach The swimming beach of Rethymno begins in the outskirts of the Old Town and extends several miles to the east, with various hotels and resorts alongside. Part of the beach comes with sun beds, food and beverage service.
  • Parks You can find rich wildlife in the villages near Rethymno city. There's also a public park in the heart of the town with a playground for young children.
  • Gorges The region of Rethymno is home to numerous beautiful gorges, all of which make for delightful walks. Some popular gorges are namely Mili and Patsos.

Do[edit][add listing]

  • Boat Trips Boat trips are available from the harbour, including one rather flashy pirate ship ride.
  • Paragliding Several local groups offer paragliding, best arranged through your hotel or accommodation.

Buy[edit][add listing]

A lot of visitors choose to buy Cretan olives, cheese, raki and wine to bring back home. The best quality and prices can be found when shopping in a local Greek supermarket (not the ones found in resorts). Many Greek wines cost 10€ per bottle or less. Despite of the low price, the quality of bottled Cretan wine is really good. Beware of buying wine or raki draught as you can't be sure of their origin. Also, you should avoid buying spirits from souvenir shops.

The flea market of Rethymno (known in Greek as "Laiki") can be found about 1 km from the Old Town centre. It usually operates on Saturday and one may find local produce, from vegetables, to meat and cheese. It's good to shop around a bit in order to find the best quality and prices. Beware of buying clothes in the flea market as these are usually low quality replicas. One great product that one can buy in the flea market is Cretan goat cheese. Cretan oranges are another great product recommendation. You can banter the prices a bit and you should avoid paying the original price offered. One trick is walking away before buying something. The merchant then might offer a better price to make a sale.

Leather goods and Greek sandals is a great gift idea. Always check the label and certification and make sure what you are buying is Made in Greece / Made in Crete. Avoid buying imported leather goods in order to support the Greek economy and also because the quality is not great.

When buying food and beverages to bring back to your home country make sure to keep them sealed in their original packaging. If you only have carry-on luggage you may not be allowed to carry liquids above a certain limit.

Eat[edit][add listing]

A popular category of restaurants are the meze places below Neratze Mosque. Meze are various small dishes (like appetizers) usually shared between many people. They are almost always combined with tsipouro, wine or other Greek spirits. Some of the meze restaurants offer a hookah service (called "nargile" in Greek"). Sometimes you may also find meze restaurants that offer live Greek music. Many students prefer this type of restaurants for the relaxed atmosphere and the low prices. Meze style of dishes can be compared to tapas. Choose a meze place where the local university students go as these are usually the best.

When it comes to food, Rethymno offers a variety of choices for all budgets and preferences. Restaurants in the heart of the Old Town tend to be better than those along the touristy beachfront. Especially the ones in the small alleys. Go to restaurants where you see other Greeks going, to avoid tourist traps.

  • Alana Restaurant, Salaminos 15 St, 2831027737. Popular Greek restaurant with a very good reputation. €€.  edit
  • Fanari Restaurant, Em. Kefalogianni 15 St, 2831050070. Family owned Greek restaurant that offers local cuisine and some fish dishes. €€.  edit
  • Fournaki Pizza, Em. Kefalogianni 18 St, 2831057357. Popular pizzeria with seaview. All pizzas here are made to order with fresh dough in a wood burning oven. It also offers a large variety of beers. A very affordable choice as well. .  edit
  • Passepartou grill, Arkadiou 242, 6980605557. Popular fast food joint that offers Greek gyro at low prices. It stays open until 5 am and gathers a young crowd. .  edit
  • Petite Fleur, Eleytheriou Venizelou 36 St, 2831306868. Although it has been only around for a couple of years, this French-styled restaurant has earned positive reviews. It is a nice spot for a romantic encounter with your significant other. €€€.  edit

Avoid eating at the Venetian Harbour. [3] Although the harbour itself is picturesque, the majority of the adjacent fish taverns offer severely overpriced food and mediocre quality. Always order what's on the main menu. If you order the "daily fish special" without asking for the price, when the bill comes you may be up for a very unpleasant surprise.[4]

Drink[edit][add listing]

Beverages in Rethymno are affordable, especially if you choose the establishments that locals prefer.

The average price of a small draught beer is 3€ for half a pint (±0.3 lt). A pint (±0.5 lt) costs 4€ to 5€. The best selling Greek beer is Mythos although you can always try lesser known Greek brands. Greece is home to many microbreweries. Brink's is Rethymno's own organic beer[5] but unfortunately it is difficult to find it in the market because of the limited production line.

  • Arokaria Cafe, Salaminos 7 St. A hipster cafe that feels like someone's backyard. Offers a big selection of coffees and alcoholic beverages.  edit
  • Chaplin's Pub, Venizelou 52 St. If you enjoy rock music, Chaplin's Pub offers good value and a variety of Greek and international beers on draught.  edit
  • Metropolis Club, Nearchou 15 St. Dive bar where you may find university students and also tourists. It plays sometimes Greek and sometimes international music. Good for a late night visit but it is tiny and lacks in ambience.  edit
  • Nuvel, Nearchou 47 St. Open from early morning till late night this mainstream bar-cafe is located in the beginning of the Venetian Harbour. In the daytime it's good for a coffee or milkshake and at late night it even serves cocktails.  edit

Sleep[edit][add listing]

In Rethymno Town[edit]

  • Evli Apartments, Ag Ioannou 10 (On the end of Moatsou Street find the Police Academy main entrance at Kazantzakis Street, turn up this street and continue up this road until you see Evli Apartments.), +302831022351, [6]. checkin: 12.00; checkout: 12.00. 800 m from the town center and about1 km from the central beach and away from the main noisy tourist areas in a quite uptown residential suburb,with panoramic view & cool green surroundings just 2 minutes by car. Free private parking and high speed internet. 38€. (35.35842,24.48011) edit
  • Apartment Old Town, Damvergi St, [7]. Self-catering apartment with air-conditioning in the Old Town of Rethymno. The fully-equipped kitchen includes a fridge, an oven, a kettle a French press and cooking utensils. The property comes with a private bathroom, an HDTV, high-speed WiFi and a dining area. The apartment is on ground-floor with direct street access. A super market and a restaurant are next door. The bus station is nearby. The swimming beach is a 5 minute walk from the apartment. 110€ - 160€.  edit
  • Aquila Porto Rethymno Hotel, Sikelianou & Venizelou 52A, +30 28310 50432 (, fax: +30 28310 50432), [8]. Overlooking the sandy beach and the city of Rethymno the hotel is six minutes walk from the old town.  edit
  • City Center Holiday Home, Mesologiou 3, [9]. Self-catering accommodation in the heart of Rethymno's Old Town. A recently renovated townhouse that spreads over two levels and boasts a size of 1650 square feet. The private roof garden offers views to the castle of Fortezza. There are 2 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms with capacity for up to 4 guests. Amenities include air-conditioning in all areas, a fully equipped kitchen, an espresso machine and a home cinema with surround sound. There are various shops and restaurants in the surrounding area. The bus station and the swimming beach are within short walking distance. Prices start at 85€ per night for the entire property. (35.37022517,24.47448805) edit
  • Faros Beach (Rethymno), El.Venizelou 88 (right by the venetian port), 00302831024588, [10]. checkin: 10.00; checkout: 14.00. Faros beach located in the best position in Rethymno town right by the beach in the most important historical venetian old port. Free Wifi & Internet service, free kitchen facilities free sunbathing lounges and most of all the most budget prices for a good clean central location hotel. Free faxing services, panoramic view to the sea, town and beach. farosbeach1@gmail.com; +302831022351. 38.00.  edit
  • Hotel Ideon (Ideon hotel Rethymnon town), 10 Nikolaou Plastira Sq., +30 28310 28667-9 (), [11]. checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12.00. Hotel Ideon is located in Rethymnon town, close to important historical sights and to the Rethymnon market. Prices from 48€. (35.371808,24.47452) edit
  • Youth Hostel Rethymno, 41 Tobazi Street, [12]. The price is €10 per person per night per bed (dorm). High season price (July-15 September) is €12.  edit

Outside Rethymno Town[edit]

  • Adele Mare, [13]. Located in the Adele Beach suburb, about 10/15 min outside Rethymno, friendly and hospitable 4-star-hotel. Rooms either in main-building (cheap rooms are towards street) or in Greek style bungalows (get the seaview!). Food is breakfast + dinner (daily changing dinner buffet). During daytime, snacks can be taken at the pool or beach bar. Despite being rather rocky (foot protection recommended), the beach is wonderful, great sunsets. Sun chairs are €2,40/day (pool+beach).
  • Aquila Rithymna Beach, Adele, +30 28310 71002 (, fax: +30 28310 71668), [14]. Located in Adele region, 20 minutes by car from Rethymno. Accommodation types from main building rooms, bungalows suites and villas to royal pavilions with private pools.  edit
  • Axos Hotel (Ξενοδοχείο Αξός), 00302831054472 (), [15]. checkin: 13:00; checkout: 12:00. family run hotel.Fully renovated in 2009. It’s suitable for couples and for families. It has 44 rooms (16 apartments -4 persons capacity- +28 studios -3 persons capacity). All rooms have: TV, balcony, self controlled air-condition, satellite TV, extra long beds (2 meters), anatomic mattresses with ISO certifications, direct telephone line, radio, cookers, kitchen, refrigerator, toaster, coffee maker, hair dryer, bath tabs, change towels & linen 2 times per week, baby cot (on request). Reception 24 hours a day. €42-110.  edit
  • Camping Elizabeth, 84 Ionias St (At the end of the Ionas road near the beach), +30 2831 028694 (), [16]. Despite the name it is not just some place for people to pitch tents. Options to stay in a tent (9€), bungalow (27€), or caravan (31€) (tent/caravan provided by them, or bring your own for reduced price of 5€/7€). Located outside of Rethymno this is the oldest campsite on Crete. It's situated on the only stretch of beach untouched by touristy, impersonal hotels. Hot shower, drinking water, laundry, and wifi available for all, along with a delicious, beach-view taverna. Short walk to city center. Friendly, multi-lingual staff. Also the home of the local sea-turtle protection group [17]  edit
  • Creta studios (Calergi Crete apartments), Atsipopoulo Rethymnon, +30 2831 031021, [18]. Small warm hotel located in a small Cretan village near Rethymnon, offering comfortable living and careful personal service  edit
  • Enagron Traditional Houses, Axos Mylopotamou, +30 28340 61611, [19]. In a ranch, which covers an area of more than 50.000 m2 with cultivations such as olive groves, vineyards, etc., lies the Enagron. Located at an altitude of approximately 500m, near gorges and caves, just above the springs of Mylopotamos, the river that gave its name to the region. Located in the village of Axos at the foothills of Mount Psiloritis. 32 apartments distributed over 12 independent buildings, are fully furnished with all amenities (central heating, air-conditioner and fireplace) to make your stay comfortable and pleasant all year through. (35.312884,24.897766) edit
  • Idili Guesthouse (Ξενώνας Ηδύλη), +30 28340 20240, +30 28340 20241 (), [20]. Guesthouse Idili is located in Panormos, a very elegant seaside resort, with careful development of tourism between Rethymnon and Heraklion. The building was recently restored to a B class guesthouse, while keeping intact the architectural features of the building and the effects of the Venetian-Cretan architecture. €60-105.  edit
  • Jo An Beach Hotel, Adelianos Kambos, +30 28310 71487 (, fax: +30 28310 71110), [21]. Hotel Jo-An Beach is build near Adele village at a distance of 3 kilometres from the beach.  edit

Get out[edit]

  • Chania International Airport: From the central bus station of Rethymno (KTEL) you can either take a direct bus to Chania airport or one of the frequent buses to Chania bus station (duration 1 hour, price 6.7€). From there you can take the cheap airport bus.
  • Heraklio International Airport: Go to the central bus station of Rethymno (KTEL) and take the bus to Heraklio (average 90 minutes, cost 8.3€). Get down at Giofiro stop and take one of the frequent and cheap airport shuttle buses.
  • Ferry to Athens: First you need to take a bus from Rethymno to Heraklio central bus station (KTEL). From there, the ferry port is within short walking distance.
  • Ferry to Santorini: There is a direct ferry from Rethymno to Santorini every Tuesday and Saturday. The rest of the days you can take a ferry to Santorini from Heraklio ferry port.