Rethymno town - the jewel of Crete and the cultural heart

An Aristocratic City with a Picturesque Blend of Cretan and Venetian Style

 The old city of Rethymnon/Rethymno is the capital of the Rethymno regional unit and one of the most popular holiday resorts on the north coast, located 80 km west of Heraklion, and 68 km east of Chania. The city is built on a 700 m long promontory, embraced by the deep blue Cretan Sea and guarded by Mount Vrysina (858 m) at the South, featuring a geographical position that confers the advantage of particular beautiful landscapes, watching in any direction.

 Rethymno is the ideal destination for visitors who wish to explore the historic architecture, cultural richness, and natural beauties of Crete, at a glance: the Venetian harbor with fishing boats and recreational yachts, bordered by taverns and terraces from which you can admire the multicolored panorama of the city, the Egyptian lighthouse, and the Fortezza - the trademark of the town - together with the Medieval star-shaped defense walls that enclose the well-preserved old city center. With its scenic Venetian architecture and network of narrow streets hiding aristocratic old mansions turned into stylish eating venues, hundreds of lovely boutiques and art galleries to visit, little squares with statues and monuments, surrounded by cozy cafe terraces, this distinct part of the town is a major touristic sight as a whole. An evening in Rethymno is an authentic invitation to wander and shop.

 Acknowledged by historians as the heart of Cretan Rennaisance, not only has it been declared a protected historical area and a traditional settlement, but also, Rethymno is today called the cultural capital of Crete Island. Cultural events lovers may enjoy the exhibits at the Historical and Folk Art Museum, the Renaissance Festival, which takes place in October, with theater events and classical music concerts, the concert program of the symphony orchestra and choir, and the much-loved, cheerful Apokria Carnival Parade, a traditional end-of-winter celebration, which precedes the Orthodox Lent.

 Rethymno is blessed with one of the longest beaches with the finest sand on the island, where a rejuvenating barefoot walk in a romantic twilight is the ultimate pleasure of a lazy sunbathing day... Just 500 m from the old city center, next to the Venetian port, the city beach stretches eastward, 4 km long, well organized and busy, but never too crowded. The beachfront of Rethymno Bay extends for 12 km, with the beach itself stretching beyond the city and forming its western edge.

 To appreciate, the Municipality promotes a healthy tourist development, by pursuing the preservation of the historical vestiges and cultural heritage and encouraging and promoting the traditional hospitality of the inhabitants, so that any visitor feels at home and falls in love with this amazing city, from the very first moment.

Rethymno, the Citadel of Dramatic Past and Rich Cultural Heritage 

 Historically attested from the abundant post-Minoan period (1350-1250 BC) as "Rithymna", the city - as the whole island - had experienced throughout the centuries, a dramatic history, full of battles, sieges, revolts, and massacres, in which the Roman, Arab, Byzantine and later, Venetian and Ottoman invaders, each left a distinct imprint on the local architecture and cultural heritage.

 It seems that the city of Rethymno managed to be reborn, like the legendary Phoenix bird, after two unfortunate historical events: first time, in 1571, in the flourishing Venetian era, when it suffered a violent piracy attack, resulting in a fire that destroyed almost the entire city and, the second time, in the context of the Second World War, when German Nazi army bombed it, in a turning point confrontations that history records today as The Battle for Crete, May 20-June 1941.

 Today, thanks to the development of the tourism and hospitality industry, Rethymno's old city flourished once again and attracts visitors from all over the world, every year.

Welcome to Rethymno!

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