Visit the magnificent Cave of Melidoni The cave of Melidoni, or Gerontospilios as the locals used to call it is 31 kilometres from Rethymnon and 2 kilometres from the village of Melidoni. It used to be an important ritual place in the Neolithic times, during the Minoan period it was dedicated to the mythological bronze giant Talos. An inscription found during the excavations in the cave shows that in the Roman era the place was dedicated to the worship of Hermes (Mercury). The cave played an important role during the revolts of Cretan people against the Ottoman domination as it served as a place to hide for the warriors and a refuge for the population.
Palace of Knossos
Excavated in the year 1900 by an English archaeologist by the name of Sir Arthur Evans, what remains of a huge civilization and a most impressive palace, and we recommend that you hire a guide in order to benefit from their wealth of information. We would also recommend that you take a sun hat as the site is very exposed on a hot and sunny day.
A large natural lake which is actually a huge Spring. You can hire kayaks and pedalos and there are some great restaurants around the North shore. Perfect for a non Beach day.
Explore pretty Adele and Pangalochori villages nearby. It is worth seeing the church of St Panteleimonas and the house of Constantinos Ghiamboudakis, the Cretan hero who blasted the powder keg at Arkadi during the revolt of 1866, so that the Ottomans would not capture the people who had found refuge there. The monastery of Agios Arsanios, dating back to the 16th Century is found near the village of Pangalochori, some 5 kilometres to the East of Adele, close to the National Road leading to Heraklion. The Monastery is celebrated in the name of Agios Georghios (St. George) and it is worth visiting it for the original wood carved icon screen and the wall paintings of the Catholicon.
Old town of Rethimnon
Saunter down.... Souliou street in the heart of Rethymnon. A wealth of jewellery shops and a large selection of English titles at its bookshops. If one street is to be the single place for gathering all the gifts you need to complete your shopping tasks this is it: purchase herbs, cosmetics, books, hats, a variety of jewellery, pottery and for shoeaholics there are quite a few streets leading off Souliou Street that might tickle your fancy...
If it gets too hot down by the sea, drive up to Spili, a picturesque village located at an altitude of 430 metres, 28 kilometres south-east of Rethymno.Due to its altitude the village offers an astonishing view. It is surrounded by verdant vegetation and is filled with trees, fountains, springs and chapels and churches with wonderful murals. The main square of the village is lovely and has a fine stone fountain constituted by a row of stone carved lion heads from where crystal-clear water flows.The water guarantees that the air is fresh, cool and pure. It is also known for a unique type of weaving and has a few tavernas and an old fashioned atmosphere.
Drive down South to
Frangokastelo to see the old fortress - or rather its surviving walls,and then a a must-do trip up to Anopolis - the village high above Chora Sfakia. Close to the beginning of the village on the left is the Anopolis bakery - for some of the best sfakian pies and the chance to buy the delicious local sweet rusks, honey and other baked goods. Sit outside and have a mountainscape view and an elliniko (coffee).
Visit the Wetlands!
Ornothologists may spot the glossy Ibis, the crane, the white stork and a variety of egrets and herons, as well as warblers and wagtails. For the dedicated bird-spotters, Crete is one of the last strongholds in Europe of the Lammergeier, or Bearded Vulture – with a wingspan of almost 3 metres. There are 9 to 10 pairs on the island and they frequent higher altitudes.
Try the three Greek"O"s Olives, Octopus and Ouzo!
Treat yourself to a typical Meze a series of tiny dishes that accompany the aniseed based liquor. You can try an Ouzerie, that is similar to a Spanish Tapas bar and a great way to spend a lazy afternoon,. There are plenty in Chania Town in the old sector - try " To Avgo tou Kokkora" - behind the big church, Mitropoli, off Halidon.
The "Cretan Runner" written by Giorgos Psychoundakis is a great book describing some of the heroic exploits the Cretan resistance along with British soldiers and pilots got up to during the second world war. Giorgios was originally a shepherd but became a member of the resistance after the German invasion. His heroic and selfless exploits and the general population are described in the book. It is regarded as a classic book of its type. There are two British War cemeteries in Souda Bay. However, much of the action took place around Maleme where a large German War cemetery dedicated to German soldiers used to be tended by Giorgos himself. The British cemeteries are in a beautifully kept place, moving and humbling.
Ask for Dakos –
A Cretan speciality served in most tavernas as a starter. Dried crusts soaked in tomatoes and topped with crumbled feta cheese – delicious!
Pedaloes across Kournas lake
This breath-taking lake is the only one in Crete, and the brillliant aquamarine waters are a wonderful backdrop for a spot of lunch. Afterwards, you can rent pedaloes or a small boat for half an hour and row yourself around the lake, and work up an appetite for supper!
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