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Top 10 things to do in Rethymnon

Crete ● Rethymnon ● 31 May 2017

Rethymnon is considered to be among the most beautiful towns in Crete. It has a strong multicultural character, which is combined with the traditional Greek neoclassical architecture and numerous interesting things to do in Rethymnon Town (Crete) as well as in the wider area of the prefecture.


1. Fortrezza

Fortrezza, the castle of Rethymnon, was built in 1573 by the Turks in order to protect the town from the enemies. Today, it is the trademark of Rethymnon, standing imposing at the edge of the settlement, and a nice spot to walk, admire the Ottoman constructions and the view from the top of the cliff.

2. Archaeological Museum

At the entrance of Fortrezza, is located the Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon. It has interesting findings of the history of Crete, from Palaeolithic until Roman Times that was found in the excavations in the prefecture of  Rethymnon.

3. Old Town

A stunning port, elegant mansions, cobblestone streets, old churches and neoclassical architecture create the beautiful and aristocratic atmosphere of the Old Town of Rethymnon, which is perfect for a stroll, relaxation and entertainment. In the Old Town, you will find many traditional taverns, coffee shops and bars.

4. The mosques

In Fortrezza, you can visit the Ibrahim Han Mosque, while in the Old Town of Rethymnon, the Neratze Mosque has the highest minaret of the town and is today the Municipal Odeon of Rethymnon. These mosques will remind you of the multicultural character of the city and will impress you with the history behind them.

Mosque in Rethymno

5. Monastery of Arkadi

The Monastery of Arkadi, located 23 km from Rethymnon, is the symbol of the Cretan revolution against the Turks. In 1866, when the Turkish soldiers violated the monastery after many hours of siege, the besiegers, with a monk as a leader, put on fire a room with gunpowder. The explosion killed all the monks and the Turkish soldiers and is until today a symbol of the desperation of the Cretan people to remain free.

6. Museum of Cretan Lyra

The instrument of Cretan Lyra is strongly connected with the musical tradition of Crete. In this museum, you will learn about this tradition and the music of Crete and you will have the opportunity to see the workshop and the collection of Cretan lyras.

Cretan Lyra

7. Ottoman Baths

In the Old Town of Rethymnon, you will find the Ottoman Baths or Hamam as their Turkish name is. They date from 1670, their floor is made from marble, and the construction is well-preserved. However, you can visit the place only to admire the local tradition because the baths are not open to the public.

8. Anogeia

Anogeia is a picturesque village, located one hour drive from Rethymnon. It is a mountainous village that due to its secluded location, has kept a strong authentic Cretan character. Local customs, traditional costumes and the Cretan dialect can show you what Crete really is. Anogeia has also a great musical tradition and is a major handicraft and cottage industry centre, where you can find many workshops open to the public.

9. Ideon Cave

Ideon Cave is located 20 km south from Anogeia, in the prefecture of Rethymnon. According to the mythology, this was the place, where Zeus was raised, hidden from his father, Cronus. Until the Roman times, this cave was considered to be sacred, and archaeological excavations unearthed votive offerings, like shields, spears and gold figures. The route to the cave is breathtaking, with high mountains and wild rock formations. Inside the cave, are many caverns, which have been sculpted naturally by the water and the snow, as well as stalagmites and stalactites. It is impressive than even during summer, you can find snow blocks inside the cave.

10. Ancient Eleftherna

Ancient Eleftherna is one of the most significant archaeological sites in Crete. It was built where the current village of Eleftherna near Rethymnon is located today. It was one of the most prominent ancient city-states with a fortified hill that protected it from the enemies. The area has been inhabited since 2,000 B.C., but the city reached its peak during the 7th century B.C.