Those holidays with a little bit of everything live long in the memory. The ones where you can relax on the beach for a few days, head out on excursions to the local area, shop for souvenirs and even stumble across a nightclub. If that sounds perfect, then Rethymnon is the Crete destination for you. As Crete’s third-largest city, there are lots to do in Rethymnon. Whether it’s wandering along cute cobbled alleys, visiting trendy shops or exploring museums, Rethymnon has plenty of activities. Best of all, it’s equally brilliant if you just want to sit on the beach. There’s soft sands and bright blue waters for family fun on the coast. There’s even plenty of rocky coves for snorkelers to explore.
Rethymnon is particularly well-known in Crete for its old town area. It’s a neighbourhood rich in culture. An ancient fortress, historic streets, churches, gardens and galleries are all found in this area of Rethymnon. Not interested in history? No worries. You’ll find chic fashion stores and unique handmade jewellery shops as you navigate the winding alleyways. There’s nothing better than finding a top-notch restaurant in the old town after a hard day working on the tan. Bars and a few clubs can be found dotted around central Rethymnon too. There are also some excellent day trips from Rethymnon. These will expose you to the beautiful countryside of Crete, along with the best local traditions.
Energetic visitors to Rethymnon can get brilliant views over the city by taking an uphill hike. Head up the nearby hills towards the monastery of Agia Irini. Visitors can explore the grounds of the 1,000-year-old monastery. There are also handmade linens and icons. But perhaps the best bit is when you take a breath and look back towards the views over Rethymnon and the Mediterranean Ocean.
Holidaymakers can either hire a car to make the 12-mile journey to the resort of Panormo or simply join the locals in catching the bus. Panormo is a quiet fishing village, which is a cute destination for a wander. A little further along the coast is the resort of Bali. Again, it’s very picturesque with nice beaches and a port.
If you really want to get out into the great outdoors around Rethymnon, then Mili Gorge is a top notch day trip. Found up in the hills, it’s an utterly unspoilt taste of paradise. Picture walking through pine trees alongside a small stream, accompanied by the sound of chirping birds. You’ll find just a few signs of civilisation - the odd abandoned water mill or a nunnery.
If swashbuckling tales of sword-fighting, pirates and invading armies float your boat, then Rethymnon’s Fortessa is a must-see site. Found in the west of Rethymnon, this 16th-century military fortress is surrounded by thick ramparts and the sea. It’s a glimpse into Crete’s past. Still keen to learn more about Rethymnon’s history? Then visit the city’s Archaeological Museum.
A holiday wouldn’t be complete without squeezing a souvenir or two into your suitcase for the return journey home. Souliou Street is a great place to find a bargain in Rethymnon. There’s an English bookshop, countless jewellery stores, along with pottery and cosmetics. If you’re looking for something a little more unique, then head to the open-air market next to the marina on a Thursday morning.
The nightclubs of Rethymnon aren’t the only place to party! If you’re visiting Crete in late February or early March, then the Rethymnon Carnival is one of the biggest events on the island. Thousands of locals descend on Rethymnon dressed in weird and whacky costumes to take part in a huge carnival parade.
Beaches in Rethymnon
Whether you’re interested in building sandcastles and paddling in the sea, or keen to spot underwater life with a snorkel, there’s a beach for you in Rethymnon. The coastline around Rethymnon is made up of large strips of sandy beaches, plus rugged, rocky coves. If you’re in Rethymnon in July and August, you might even spot turtles laying their eggs on the beaches too.
Forget any worries you might have about piling on a pound or two on holiday in Crete. The balanced diet of the Greek island is among the healthiest to be found in the world. The excellent health of the locals has even been the subject of several studies. Expect plenty of vegetables, fresh fish and small quantities of meat such as pork and rabbit. One ingredient which makes the Cretan diet so healthy is olive oil. It’s top notch in quality and exported around the world. You’ll also find outstanding local wine and, for the adventurous, a glass or two of raki. This fiercely fiery spirit will take your breath away!
Restaurants in Rethymnon
Head to the Old Town and Marina areas to find a host of tavernas in Rethymnon. Eating out as the sun sets over the Mediterranean is as good as it gets. If you’re a brave dinner, try the local favourite of chochlious - snails fried in olive oil. A more popular treat for holidaymakers is Kaltsounia; a sweet snack made from Cretan honey.
Spice up your holiday to Crete by soaking in the local culture as well as the sunshine. A holiday in Rethymnon gives you a taste of the island’s traditions, history and, of course, food, while getting plenty of relaxation time on the beach. What could be better for a romantic or family trip to Crete? Booking your trip to Rethymnon with easyJet holidays is the most straightforward way of getting to this must-see destination. When you book your flight and hotel together with easyJet holidays, you can save on your holiday too. If you’re still browsing other holidays in Crete, then why not take a peek at our destination guides.