Rethymnon: the city of old-world charm and lively Cretan life
With the Mediterranean Sea lying at its feet and the mythical Mount Idi defining its cityscape, Rethymnon has a rich Venetian heritage blending harmoniously with its vibrant city life making it a popular destination in Crete. Discover the essence of one of Greece’s most beautiful medieval towns and let yourself be enchanted by the vestiges of Rethymnon’s cultural past combined with the dazzle of the exuberant Cretan life.
Walking alongside the stunning fortifications and arcade passageways of the 16th century Fortezza, perched on top of Paleokastro hill, your visit will take you through the journey of the fortress’s mighty military past.
Nowadays, the fortress stands as a symbol of the past, overlooking the Rethymnon of today, contributing to its rich and multifarious culture. The high ramparts offer an unparalleled view of the azure water of Crete and the picturesque scenery of the town below. Leaving behind this landmark, the road will lead you to the ancient but effervescent Venetian Harbour with its countless seafood restaurants. The sight of the colourful fishing boats, bopping against the waves and the delicious fresh fishes on display, paint a picture both quaint and authentic, true to daily life in today’s Rethymnon.
Dive deeper into the heart of the old town and get lost in the narrow alleys adorned by fuchsia hues of bougainvillea, to find locals sitting on chairs outside buzzing coffee places, having high-spirited conversations next to ancient doors and arches from the Venetian and Turkish eras. The Petychaki Square is a prime example of old and new Rethymnon merging together: At its centre, the 16th-century Rimondi fountain anchors stylish contemporary restaurants and bars, where locals and tourists enjoy a delicious Cretan meal or a drink or two with their friends. But there is more: much more such vignettes, medieval and modern, ornate and minimal, always alluring, always welcoming await to be explored.