Visit the palace of Knossos
Excavated in the year 1900 by an English archaeologist by the name of Sir Arthur Evans, this is a most impressive palace, and we recommend that you hire a guide in order to benefit from their wealth of information
A cunning plan .....
The Fortezza (fortress) overlooking Rethymnon town was built by the Venetians (1573) to protect the city. Not only are walls, church and the remains of its buildings of interest, the views from it to the town are a great way to start planning your tour of the town. There are also sweeping sea views
Visit the Venetian Loggia in the heart of Rethymnon
dating back to the 16th century. Used as the archaeological museum's shop. (Books, models, jigsaw puzzles and cards) this is a good landmark as a meeting/rendezvous place. There is a travel agent opposite with a Piraeus Bank cash machine and on the opposite corner a shop with maps, guidebooks in several languages, foreign press rack and magazines
Spend a hour or two browsing through the Folklore and History Museum
In Rethmnon, it is housed in a restored Venetian building with an interior courtyard. Eight halls with collections that include textile and basket weaving, embroidery & lace, costumes, ceramics, historic photographs and maps, weapons and coins. Next door is a bakery where the baker keeps his ancient door open and is happy to show how he makes the traditional "fyllo" pastry leaves!
Try a tasty tipple or two...
In Rethymnon, in the shop Raw Materials, which is owned by the Avli restaurant owners. An amazing array of products and produce from Crete and all over Greece. A great place to buy things for people who like cooking, food and wines. At the back is the wine cellar - the dramatic and large wine tasting room sees wine-tastings in progress every Tuesday. There are more than 460 Greek wines (labels) in the shop.
Souliou street in the heart of Rethymnon A wealth of jewellery and large selection of English titles at its bookshop. If one street is to be the single place for gathering all the gifts you need to complete your shopping tasks this is it: gather herbs, cosmetics, books, a variety of jewellery, pottery and for shoeaholics there are quite a few streets leading off Souliou Street that might tickle your fancy...
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 16 th century is found near the village Pangalochori, some 5 kilometers at 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.
Visit the magnificent Cave of Melidoni
The cave of Melidoni, or Gerontospilios as the locals use to call it is 31 kilometers from Rethymnon at the East and 2 kilometers far from the village of Melidoni at the Northwest. It used to be an important ritual place in the Neolithic times, whereas 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 weak population.
Experience the Arkadi Monastery on your doorstep
As you are in the Arkadi Region of the Rethymnon prefecture, it seems only fitting to visit the the Holy Monastery of Arkadi that the region is named after. An impressive building, it is one of the most important historic monuments of Crete, an eternal symbol of sacrifice for freedom, as it is here that Constantinos Ghiamboudakis, the Cretan hero, blasted the powder-keg during the revolt of 1866, so that the Ottomans would not capture the people who had found refuge there. The Monastery is found at the Northwest side of Psiloritis, at a height of some 500 meters. Tradition states that the Monastery was established by the Byzantine emperors Herakleios and Arkadios, after whom it has been given its name. However, it is more possible that the Monastery was named after a monk called Arkadios.
Drive down South to
Frangokastelo to see the old fortress - or rather its surviving walls, it's 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).
Try the Cretan hooch!
Raki or Tsikoudia is distilled from the stalks and skins of grapes left over from wine pressing. It is drunk widely and you are likely to be offered a thimble-full glass of raki wherever you go. It can contain anything between 35-65% alcohol - you have been warned!
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.
This is one of the best Minoan palaces to visit. It has been less "enhanced" than Knossos that makes it easier to imagine it in days gone by. The scenery on the drive up to it is beautiful and its location is stunning. Information panels are all all around to help you make sense of it all, although a guide book can be handy. One thing is that there is not much shade, so if you are there in the summer maybe get there early before the day heats up. There is a nice snack bar to refresh you once you have seen it all, and a good size gift shop to stock up on souvenirs.
Have a splashy day out at "Water Park "
This water park is past Heraklion so a bit of a drive but it is a great fun day out for couples or parents with children! Plan to go for the day and take food and drink as it can be pricey. We're advised by some experts (average age 8-10) that the best slides are Sidewinder, Hyper race, the Black hole, kamikazee and free fall. Be ware of the Turbo guns, the white one is so slow you have to push yourself along - you have been warned!
Peddaloes 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 peddaloes or a small boat for half an hour and row yourself around the lake, and work up an appetite for supper!
Journey to Anogia in the Psiloritis Mountains and
enjoy a Greek coffee at the square in the upper village (Agios Georgios square), the atmosphere here is wonderful - hospitality and welcomes are surprising in their warmth. 740 metres up on the north face of Mount Psiloritis to be precise. It's a short hop from here to the stunning Nida Plateau, the Ideon cave (mythology: Zeus grew up here), the observatory at the top of the Skinaka as well as the ancient settlement of Zominthos. In Anogia, excellent local cheese and Raki are available to buy, at the shop on one corner of the square. You are more likely to see men wearing the Cretan baggy trousers tucked into their boots, heads decorated with nets, here than just about anywhere else. This is miles from "designer name" mecca. The small church of Agios Georgios is worth a visit if it is open.
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!
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 a great way to spend a lazy afternoon.In Rethymnon, down the side of the mosque runs Othos Vernadou - a particularly pretty place to come and eat, there are shady courtyards and imaginative cafe interiors here, try Minares, or the Ouzeri/Mezedhes place further down the street.
Rethymnon wine festival
The last 7 days of July sees this annual event unfold in the public gardens. Be prepared to drink all the selection of wines from the same plastic cup direct from the barrel, and the local folk dancing will help to provide some focus!
A bit of a mouthful in both senses!
Visit any Zaxaroplastio for a sweet pastry! This complicated word denotes popular pastry shops that have a large array of tiny, sticky, confections, using filo pastry, nuts, honey, figs and raisins, some cakes ooze chocolate - – naughty but nice….
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