Come to the enchanting resort of Rethymnon to discover a town of contrasts. Here on Rethymnon holidays, the bustling harbour front and vast expanse of sun-kissed beach vie with hushed narrow alleyways and cobbled streets, cooled by the shadows cast by beautiful old Venetian and Turkish buildings. Its historical architecture is today the captivating backdrop to the lively, everyday hustle and bustle taking place in the numerous shops, bars and tavernas around the bay and along the delightful seafront promenade.
Holidays to Rethymnon will soon reveal one of the biggest highlights in this area – the beaches. These gloriously long stretches of sand on the north coast are some of the best beaches on the island and just another reason why, families in particular, love this area of Crete.
Rethymnon is edged to the north by a long, sandy, palm-fringed beach and promenade, stretching eastwards as far as the eye can see. Here happy holidaymakers throng in the sun, enjoying a dip in the clear, warm sea and you’ll be spoilt for choice when it comes to watersports and a good variety of beachside restaurants and cafes.
Hotels, tavernas, bars and shops cluster along this attractive coastline, offering all the discerning tourist could wish for – a place to stay suiting every pocket and preference, and, naturally, plenty of friendly establishments to eat, drink and be merry, in friendly tavernas and inviting open air restaurants.
For a fun day splashing about and shooting the rapids, head to Acquaplus, one of Crete’s largest water parks. Kids of all ages, and that means the adults too, can hurl themselves down dark tunnels, shoot down the Crazy River and whizz down the Kamikaze. If you’re looking for a gentler pace, then there always hydromassage pool, lazy river and sun terraces.
Definitely one just for the adults. You should not visit Rethymnon without trying some locally produced wine from the region’s vineyards. Drag yourself away from the beach and drink in the views from hilltop villages, like Archanes, and try the wine there.
Alongside the whirl and spin of contemporary life, it’s nevertheless easy here to cast yourself back to the slower pace of ancient times. Crete’s third largest city, Rethymnon has been described as the island’s cultural capital for its wealth of history and archaeological attractions – a source of great pride to its inhabitants. A fascinating melange of ancient and modern, the evidence of Venetian and Ottoman rule is all around providing entranced tourists a maze of narrow streets to explore. In the attractive harbour, the Fortezza (the original Venetian fortifications) proudly stand, enhancing the shoreline view. Then, following the cobbles of a narrow alley from the centre of the harbour you arrive at the Loggia, an ancient meeting place where Venetian nobility and officials argued out the political issues of the day. They would no doubt head for the clear, fresh waters gushing softly from the mouths of stone lion heads at the Rimondi fountain, a short distance away, to soothe their parched throats – it has been reviving passers by since it was built in 1626 and continues to do so today.
The open-air market is a bustling scene of business-as-usual, and local artisans ply their crafts with enthusiasm; the traditional customs from long ago are intentionally perpetuated in the modern way of life. Rethymnon is also home to the University of Crete, cultivating a thriving year-round programme of entertainments and activities to keep a young population amused.