10 days in Rethymno, Crete

We spent 10 days in August in Rethymno, 3rd largest city in the Greek island of Crete. It is a lovely university and touristic centre of the island and a great choice for family vacation.

We landed on the Heraklion Airport and came to Rethymno by bus, which took about an hour of drive. Whole town is full of small-medium size hotels and if your hotel is located in the town, everything is on the walking range.

We had around 20 mins of walk to get to beautiful sandy beach which is a few kilometers long. Beach is really stunning, take a look at the pictures:

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What to say about this sand, we built a big castle!

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There are some places on the beach which are encircled by the small fence – these are places where sea turtle has laid their eggs, just walk through the beach and you will find it.

But beach is not the only thing, Rethymno has much more to offer. You can enjoy a walk by the sea or walk in the shopping streets (Arkadiou and Varnali) which are full of restaurants and shops. The Old City is built in Renaissance style by Venetians and it is so Venetian! When walking in Old City you will pass by many old fountains, Byzantine churches, Ottoman mosques and many colourful buildings.

Nice stop before going to beach is a coffee house “Barista Brothers” near the Town Hall in Kazantzaki street.

We booked two excursions (via local agency – it could be easily found on many places in town centre) to Chania and Heraklion (with Knossos), two biggest towns on the island. I will write two separate stories about those trips.

We spend few evenings in shopping. We liked Greek sports brand Admiral, local accessories store Doca and many souvenir shops.

A long line of restaurants and bars is located near the seafront. In the Venetian Harbour (built around 1300 with its lighthouse – the landmark of Rethymno) where you can find many fish restaurants. Some bars have local Rethymno Brinks beer, try it.

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Main historical attraction is Fortezza, Venetian Citadel, near it you can find Archeological Museum. Fortezza is a nice place to spend and hour or two, but don’t forget a bottle a water as it can be really be hot up there 🙂

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Second line of restaurants is located near Fortezza, west of the Old Harbour. This is the best place to watch the sunset and drink fabulous cocktails.

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We enjoyed 10 days in this beautiful city, the weather was hot, but not too hot and without any clouds. There was 3 days of big waves on the beach (yellow flag was on) and kids was enjoying this too. Certainly a great place to spend vacation with 9 and 7 years old boys!

Our recommendations:

  • Beautiful sandy beach
  • Shopping: two main shopping streets in old town
  • Excursions: Chania (1 day), Knossos+Heraklion (1 day)
  • Food: Greek specialities, fish restaurants in Old Harbour
  • Drink: Cocktails in bars near Fortezza, local beer in bars on seafront, Coffee – Barista Brothers near Town Hall
  • Sightseeing: Fortezza, old fountains, Churches, Mosques, Renaissance architecture
  • Walking: everything in walking distance (Beach/Old town)
  • Sunset: bars west of Old Harbour or promenade west of Fortezza

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