It would be tempting to simply enjoy the delights of sun, sea and the gently shelving sand that stretches for 13 km east from Rethymon’s Old Town but it would be a tragedy not to brush off the sand and head for the tangle of Venetian and Turkish buildings that line its narrow streets.
Eventually you will arrive at the charming harbour where tavernas and cafes ring the waterfront. Soft hues of the ancient Venetian buildings reflect in splinters of colour between the bobbing fishing boats and when day turns to night, the sea virtually sparkles with light.
Market day brings another atmosphere to the town, and tourists rub shoulders with locals and taverna owners, making their way to the market square. Here, the senses are assaulted by the aromas of cheeses, fish, olives, herbs and spices and the colours of locally grown fruit and vegetables, all temptation to the ‘foodie’ – whilst there is an ample choice of leather goods, clothing and household goods for the souvenir hunter.
Presiding over all, is the Venetian Forteza atop a small hill overlooking the sea and a visible landmark of the cultural depth of this historic City, the third largest in Crete.
Located centrally on the North coast, the towns of Chania and Heraklion are both little more than an hour away, in either direction, whilst a scenic drive through the centre of the island brings you to the south coast within a similar timescale. To the south of Rethymnon, a hike through the Mili gorge will tempt the active whilst the ‘very active’ may like to take a night hike to the top of Mount Psiloris, arriving at its 2456m summit, at sunrise with almost the whole of Crete revealed below.