Rethymno, a charming city located on the north coast of the Greek island of Crete, offers a delightful blend of rich history, natural beauty, and vibrant culture.
With its Venetian architecture, picturesque beaches, and warm Mediterranean climate, Rethymno is a must-visit destination for travelers seeking an authentic Greek experience.
In this article, we will explore the 25 best things to do in Rethymno, Greece, ensuring that your visit is filled with memorable moments.
Table of Contents
- Discover the Old Town (H1)
- Explore the Fortezza (H2)
- Stroll along Arkadiou Street (H2)
- Visit the Rimondi Fountain (H2)
- Soak up the Sun at Rethymno’s Beaches (H1)
- Relax at Preveli Beach (H2)
- Enjoy the Tranquility of Bali Beach (H2)
- Visit the Prasses Gorge Beach (H2)
- Immerse Yourself in History and Culture (H1)
- Explore the Historical Museum of Crete (H2)
- Discover the Venetian Loggia (H2)
- Visit the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno (H2)
- Experience the Lively Nightlife (H1)
- Enjoy Drinks and Music at the Fortress Rooftop Bar (H2)
- Dance the Night Away at Thalami Bar (H2)
- Visit the Erofili Theatre (H2)
- Delight in Cretan Cuisine (H1)
- Indulge in Traditional Meze at Taverna Zisis (H2)
- Try Fresh Seafood at Prima Plora (H2)
- Sample Local Wines at Avli Wine & Food (H2)
- Explore the Natural Beauty of Rethymno (H1)
- Hike through the Samaria Gorge (H2)
- Discover the Melidoni Cave (H2)
- Take a Boat Trip to the Elafonisi Island (H2)
- Enjoy Festivals and Events (H1)
- Witness the Rethymno Carnival (H2)
- Attend the Renaissance Festival (H2)
- Join the Wine Festival (H2)
- Shop for Authentic Souvenirs (H1)
- Browse through the Old Town Markets (H2)
- Visit the Agora Open Market (H2)
- Explore the Handicraft Cooperative of Rethymno (H2)
1. Discover the Old Town
Explore the Fortezza
One of the most prominent landmarks in Rethymno is the Fortezza, a magnificent Venetian fortress built in the 16th century. Take a stroll through its impressive walls, explore the ruins, and enjoy panoramic views of the city and the sea.
Stroll along Arkadiou Street
Arkadiou Street is a bustling pedestrian street in the heart of the Old Town. It is lined with charming shops, cafes, and restaurants, offering a perfect opportunity for a leisurely walk and some shopping.
Visit the Rimondi Fountain
The Rimondi Fountain, located at the center of the Old Town, is a beautiful Venetian monument dating back to the 17th century. Admire its architectural details and take a moment to relax in its enchanting surroundings.
2. Soak up the Sun at Rethymno’s Beaches
Relax at Preveli Beach
Preveli Beach, also known as Palm Beach, is a stunning stretch of coastline featuring a river flowing into the sea and a palm forest. Bask in the sun, swim in the crystal-clear waters, and enjoy the tranquility of this natural paradise.
Enjoy the Tranquility of Bali Beach
Bali Beach is a small coastal village with several beautiful beaches. Escape the crowds and find your own slice of paradise as you relax on the golden sands and take in the picturesque views of the surrounding cliffs.
Visit the Prasses Gorge Beach
Located in the Prasses Gorge, this secluded beach offers a peaceful retreat for nature lovers. Surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs, it provides a unique setting for relaxation and exploration.
3. Immerse Yourself in History and Culture
Explore the Historical Museum of Crete
The Historical Museum of Crete in Rethymno offers a fascinating journey through the island’s history. Discover ancient artifacts, Byzantine art, and exhibits that showcase the Cretan way of life throughout the centuries.
Discover the Venetian Loggia
The Venetian Loggia is an elegant building that once served as a meeting place for the nobles of the Venetian period. Admire its beautiful architecture, which combines Venetian and Ottoman influences, and learn about its historical significance.
Visit the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno
The Archaeological Museum of Rethymno houses a remarkable collection of artifacts from various archaeological sites across Crete. Marvel at ancient pottery, sculptures, and jewelry, and gain insights into the island’s rich history.
4. Experience the Lively Nightlife
Enjoy Drinks and Music at the Fortress Rooftop Bar
The Fortress Rooftop Bar, located within the walls of the Fortezza, offers a unique setting for a memorable night out. Sip on your favorite cocktails, listen to live music, and soak in the breathtaking views of Rethymno at night.
Dance the Night Away at Thalami Bar
Thalami Bar is a vibrant nightlife spot where you can dance to the latest hits and enjoy a lively atmosphere. Join the locals and fellow travelers for a fun-filled night of music and dancing.
Visit the Erofili Theatre
For a cultural evening, head to the Erofili Theatre and catch a performance or a concert. This open-air theater hosts various artistic events, ranging from traditional Greek plays to modern productions.
5. Delight in Cretan Cuisine
Indulge in Traditional Meze at Taverna Zisis
Taverna Zisis is a charming family-owned restaurant known for its delicious traditional Cretan meze. Taste a variety of local dishes, including dakos, dolmades, and grilled halloumi, while enjoying the warm hospitality of the owners.
Try Fresh Seafood at Prima Plora
Prima Plora is a seaside restaurant that specializes in serving fresh seafood dishes. Feast on grilled octopus, shrimp saganaki, or fish straight from the Aegean Sea, and savor the flavors of the Mediterranean.
Sample Local Wines at Avli Wine & Food
Avli Wine & Food is a renowned wine bar offering a wide selection of Cretan wines. Embark on a wine-tasting journey, guided by knowledgeable staff, and discover the rich flavors of local vineyards.
6. Explore the Natural Beauty of Rethymno
Hike through the Samaria Gorge
The Samaria Gorge is a breathtaking natural wonder that attracts nature enthusiasts and hikers from around the world. Embark on a challenging yet rewarding trek through this 16-kilometer-long gorge, surrounded by towering cliffs and rare wildlife.
Discover the Melidoni Cave
The Melidoni Cave is a fascinating underground cavern with impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations. Explore its chambers, learn about its historical significance, and admire the natural beauty hidden beneath the surface.
Take a Boat Trip to the Elafonisi Island
Elafonisi Island, located southwest of Rethymno, is a paradise of turquoise waters and pink sand beaches. Join a boat trip and spend a day exploring this idyllic island, swimming in the crystal-clear sea, and basking in the sun.
7. Enjoy Festivals and Events
Witness the Rethymno Carnival
The Rethymno Carnival is a vibrant and colorful celebration that takes place every year in February or March. Experience the joyous atmosphere as the city comes alive with parades, music, dancing, and elaborate costumes.
Attend the Renaissance Festival
The Renaissance Festival, held in July and August, transports visitors back in time to the era of the Venetian rule. Enjoy theatrical performances, concerts, and art exhibitions that showcase the cultural heritage of Rethymno.
Join the Wine Festival
The Wine Festival, held in September, is a celebration of Cretan wine culture. Sample a wide variety of local wines, enjoy traditional music and dance performances, and immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of this annual event.
8. Shop for Authentic Souvenirs
Browse through the Old Town Markets
The narrow streets of Rethymno’s Old Town are lined with charming shops where you can find unique souvenirs. Browse through the local markets and discover handmade crafts, traditional textiles, olive oil products, and local delicacies.
Visit the Agora Open Market
The Agora Open Market is a bustling market where you can buy fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, and spices. Immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, interact with the friendly vendors, and experience the flavors of local produce.
Explore the Handicraft Cooperative of Rethymno
The Handicraft Cooperative of Rethymno showcases the talent of local artisans. Visit their workshop and browse through a wide selection of handmade ceramics, textiles, and jewelry, all crafted with care and precision.
Rethymno, Greece, offers a diverse range of experiences that cater to every traveler’s interests.
From exploring the enchanting Old Town and soaking up the sun at beautiful beaches to immersing yourself in history and indulging in delicious cuisine, there is something for everyone in this captivating city.
Plan your visit to Rethymno and embark on an unforgettable journey filled with culture, relaxation, and delightful discoveries.
1. How do I get to Rethymno?
To reach Rethymno, you can fly to the nearby Chania International Airport or Heraklion International Airport and then take a bus or rent a car for a scenic drive to the city.
2. What is the best time to visit Rethymno?
The best time to visit Rethymno is during the spring (April to June) and autumn (September to October) when the weather is pleasant, and the tourist crowds are smaller.
3. Are there any water sports activities available in Rethymno?
Yes, Rethymno offers a variety of water sports activities such as snorkeling, scuba diving, jet skiing, and windsurfing. You can find rental services along the beaches.
4. Can I visit Rethymno on a day trip from other parts of Crete?
Yes, it is possible to visit Rethymno on a day trip from other parts of Crete. However, to fully explore the city and its attractions, it is recommended to stay at least a couple of days.
5. Are there accommodations available in Rethymno?
Yes, Rethymno offers a wide range of accommodations, including luxury hotels, cozy guesthouses, and budget-friendly options. It is advisable to book in advance, especially during the peak tourist season.