print version

Toggle English/Dutch


(updated August 4, 2007)

Rethymno is a city on the northern coast of Crete. It is located about halfway Heraklion and Chania. It has about 23,500 inhabitants and is the third city in Crete. The name Rethymno means something like 'water'.

RethymnoA view over Rethymno

The place where the city is located is inhabited since the late Minoan period. It was at that time the capital of an autonomous region. The city was pretty important, as, for example, had its own coins. Later, the Venetians had the city in their possession (the year 1210 to 1646). They made Rethymno an important commercial center. During the sixteenth century, the Venetians made various buildings around the city to protect it against the Turks. In 1646 the Turks succeeded to conquer the city.

Especially the old center of the city attracts many tourists. Here you will find a maze of streets with characteristic Venetian houses with some Turkish involvement in between. Here you can find the Loggia, an almost perfectly preserved building, which was formerly a place where political affairs were handled. Around the old Venetian port, Mandraki you can find beautiful houses. Hidden in the old town of Rethymno, you can find the Remondi-fountain. This source from 1623 has a number of taps with beautiful carved lion heads. The water from the source is drinkable. Completely in the west of the city center you will find the Porto Guora (Grand Port) as the only remnant of the old Venetian walls. Above the city towers the sixteenth century Venetian fort, Fortezza. The courtyard of this huge edifice is a hill where a church in Venetian style can be found. The Turks have built a mosque also. From the walls you have a magnificent view over the sea on one side and the city on the other side. Opposite the entrance of the fort you will find the archaeological museum of the city. Here are some old things on display. The collection is interesting. Something that can not be seen in similar museums on the island is the large coin collection.

East of the center the beach begins. The first piece of beach you'll find within the port of Rethymno. To the eastern the beaches seem to be endless. In the high season are thousands of deck chairs for rent. The boulevard is also filled with hotels, which are therefore sufficient in the town. There are also many restaurants. The terraces around the old Venetian port seem very attractive. You can barely walk around without being invited by waiters constantly. The restaurants often offer fresh fish, which must be paid per kilo. In the old center you can also find cozy restaurants but along the boulevard the restaurants are of reasonable quality.

From the ancient port of Rethymno you can make boat trips. There are various cruises offered, including a trip to the Blue Lagoon on a kind of pirate ship made of metal, and a dolphin tour. However, it is not at all certain that you'll see dolphins during this trip. The chance that you will see them is very small. The boat trips will not pass when it's windy.

The airport of Chania lies about 15 kilometers east of the city. There is no public transport from the airport to the center of Chania. A taxi ride to the center costs about 13 euro's. By ferry Chania can be reached through Souda, the port of Chania and the largest port on the Mediterranean Sea. Buses ride from Souda to Chania. By bus Chania is easy to reach from the rest of the island. From Heraklion, the bus drives through Rethymno to Chania. These buses ride very frequently. In the summer about once every half hour. Also, the buses are fast and advantageous. From the popular beach resorts like Chersonissos and Malia, Chania is also easily reached by bus. A transfer is needed in Heraklion. A day trip from the last two places is not an attraction, because of the long travel time. With a rental Chania is also easy to reach. Chania lies at the western end of the main road on the island. From the road the city is easy to find.