Rethymno is one of the four prefectures of Crete built at the north of the island. It is situated between the prefectures of Chania and Heraklion, abutting the Cretan Sea in the north and the Libyan Sea in the south. Its capital, which has the same name as the prefecture, is situated 58 km from the town of Chania and 78 km from the town of Heraklion.
The central part of the town of Rethymno is built on the cape of the northern shore of the prefecture. The developing town stretches along the northern sandy beach, which has a total length of 13 km, whilst a range of low mountains rises up south of the town centre. The district of Rethymno extends from Lefka Ori to Psiloritis and it is 1.496 km with 70.095 people.
The town of Rethymno on the island of Crete represents a place of contrasts, boasting a long and remarkable history as well as untouched places of natural beauty and living traditions. This small Mediterranean town will enchant you with its centre dating from the period of the Renaissance, its fortress and museums as well as its beaches, not to mention a visit to the wider area of the prefecture. Where to begin is a difficult decision to make: In the picturesque villages, the areas of natural beauty, the caves, the beaches or the mountains and the gorges? The inhabitants will become your friends. They will offer you a glass of "tsikoudia" and invite you to their home.
You can travel to Rethymno by choosing one of the many flights, which are scheduled daily to the nearby cities of Chania and Heraklion. Service is run on a daily basis. The distance from the airports of Chania and Heraklion to Rethymno is 60 km and 75 km respectively. The flight from Athens is 35 minutes.
Why to visit Rethymno
Rethymno is a very picturesque small town (it looks like the Chania city) with a very beautiful waterfront (lovely cafes, tavernas and shops are located here), a long, sandy beach in front of the town and a lovely old Venetian town, similar to Chania old town; it is characterised by picturesque streets with small cafes, shops and traditional tavernas, and many renovated Venetian buildings; the Venetian fortress (Fortezza) above the town and the fine Lighthouse are the landmarks of Rethymno. Like the rest of Crete in Rethymno you can find blue and clear sky and sea, light sun and intense nightlife; almost whatever you can dream of.
While staying in Rethymno you will try the romantic atmosphere of the old town, you can relax in the excellent sandy beaches in the seaside villages east and west of the city (you can also try the sandy beach in the city), you can visit the fine remote sandy beaches to the south of the prefecture near Plakias, the famous archaeological sites of Phaistos and Gortys, and the historical monasteries of Arkadi and Preveli. During the night you can either have fun in the town of Rethymno or visit the nearby waterfront village of Platanias to the east of the town.
Rethymno is also an ideal location to explore the rest of Crete since it is roughly in the middle of the island and the distances are not really a problem; you can find some of the most unique sights and sandy beaches of Crete in the west and south of Chania or in the south of Heraklion, the famous archaeological site of Knossos nearby the Heraklion, the remaining of the Turkish and the Venetian castles dispersed in many remote villages of the island, the existing Venetian Monasteries and Churches and some excellent traditional villages (see the Anogeia). In Chania area you can also try to pass the longest gorge of Europe - Samaria Gorge.