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Rethymno out & about

by / Juhani

Updated 13.03.2014

The third
biggest city in C
rete is the most versatile of Crete’s tourist cities. The
beach bordering the city, idyllic old town,

and the location of the city in the
centre of the north coast gives visitors a chance to explore both Rethymno and
the whole island
even during a shorter visit.

For the
visitor Rethymno is versatile, rich in nuances and friendly.

city history includes many upsets during the centuries, which

all have left a mark
to the city. The Venetians, Ottomans and Turks have in turn captured and ruled
the city. In particular the Second World War left deep wounds for Crete and

The most
interesting period in the history of the island is the Minoan period. There are
a lot of items from the Minoan period in the Archaeological Museum of
Rethymno. Many of those items have never been photographed and published.

Tavern in the Old Harbor.

Psiloritis mountain is the highest in Crete (2456 m).

Fortezza castle.

Rethymno seen from the Fortezza castle.

ts Rethymno offers the longest beach on the island

The beach reaches about 20 km from
the city to the east.

There is a lot to discover in the old

The old town is located on the cape of Rethymno, and from it spreads out
the newer part of the city and the tourist area along the coast to the east.
The old
town is especially interesting, as the local people live their everyday life
while the tourists walk around the narrow, beautiful streets.

Old Town Tourist

  a market place map
  from Rethymno by clicking

  the icon above!

From the
gate of the Old town

(1) you can get to the Turkish Minaret

(2). There is no
record of the city being destroyed by an earthquake, so the Minaret is still
intact – although its structures were secured in 2006. Next you reach the
historic Rimondi Fountain

(3). After passing many churches and narrow streets
you arrive at the dominant feature of the city, The Fortezza fortress, which
was built by the Venetians. There is an Archaeological Museum by the fortress

(4). From the Fortezza you can descend to the Old harbour, which is lined with
taverns. The Old harbour was built around 1210 AD, and the city was called Rettimo
at that time. Even though the harbour was important for the whole island,
Rethymno kind of disappeared from the map during the Turkish invasion after
1646 AD.

In the old
town the impact of different periods and ruling cultures is easily visible from
buildings and structures. Churches are an important part of the city life, and
the numerous church bells call people to attend church services. The main
church is located at
(5). The Tourist Office is at (A). The city is
alive almost around the clock during tourist high season. The louder
combination of sounds from traffic, talk and other sources changes suddenly to
almost silence, as you turn from the main street into an old narrow alley. This
dramatic change is easy to remember and recall.

Museum near the Fortezza fortress  (See number 4 in the map above)

The Idyllic Old Town


The small stores side by side in the alleyways of the Old town are full of merchandise, often inexpensive souvenirs: lace, ceramics, t-shirts, honey, spices and artefacts. There are also stores selling top fashion clothes and shoes, as well as gold and jewellery. All stores are concentrated on the area around the Old town harbour.

Additional Information:

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