Cobbled streets, colourful neoclassical houses with balconies overflowing with flowers, shady squares, and a maze of small narrow laneways are what you get when you visit Rethymnon, the third largest town on Crete. If that weren’t enough, the city’s scenic Venetian Old Port and the imposing Fortezza make it easy to be charmed (likely instantly) by Rethymnon. For anyone even just thinking about a visit to Rethymnon, here are four of the best reasons to book your ticket now.
The old town is delightful
Start your visit to Rethymnon’s picturesque old town early in the morning and stroll around the endless narrow streets packed with some of the town’s main attractions, like the magnificent Venetian Rimondi Fountain, the Historical and Folklore Museum of Rethymnon housed in a charming Venetian mansion, the impressive church of San Francesco, and the Mosque of Gazi Hussein Pasha.
The Fortezza is impressive
The indisputable jewel of the city for centuries, the Venetian castle rising high on the hill of Paleokastro dates back to 1573. The imposing complex includes many important structures such as the artillery warehouse where guns and armour were kept, the residence of the advisers where the Venetian Councillors of the city used to live, the residence of the Rector in the central square of the fortress, the Khan Ibrahim mosque, and the Erofili Theater, which hosts many of the events of the Renaissance Festival of Rethymnon, held every summer. Don’t miss the impressive views from the edge of the castle.
The Old Venetian Harbour is beautiful
With colourful pastel buildings that overlook the sea, Venetian and Turkish architectural influences, and a picturesque lighthouse built in the 17th century on the edge of the Venetian breakwater, the old harbour is one of the most beautiful spots in the city. The bustling waterfront is a meeting point any time of the day or night for locals, and a great place to sit down for a meze and some local raki.
The Rimondi Fountain is full of stories
The Rimondi Fountain is located at the north end of Petychaki Square, in the centre of the old town of Rethymnon. Don’t search for any grand building, as what you see is what stands on the site of an older fountain, believed to have existed since at least 1588. Loaded with history and local myths and tales, the fountain’s central location will not only give you some nice photo-ops, but also the chance to walk in the heart of what used to be the Venetian centre of the city, and what is now one of the busiest streets not only for tourists, but also for locals.
Want to see these sites (and more) on Crete with a local guide by your side? Book a Crete Urban Adventures tour to see the sites in just one day!
Go beyond the guidebook and get to know the real Crete! You could read pages of history, but they won’t tell you the stories of Rethymnon like we’ll tell you — that’s a task best left up to locals. This walking tour of the old town of Rethymnon will show you the city the way locals see it.