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Rethymnon: A Tale of Two Greek Cities

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Narrow Street RethymnonRethymnon is the smallest of the three main cities of Crete, behind Heraklion and Chania. While it has the smallest population of the 3 major cities in Crete, Rethymnon (also called Rethymno or Rethimno) is steadily expanding. New developments have brought large hotels and other resort properties to the beachfront of the city contrasting with the Venetian-influenced Old Town. Visiting this city, guests are able to toe the line between the past and the present. The old Venetian quarter featuring Renaissance architecture is only a short walk away from the metropolitan beachfront crowded with modern restaurants, hotels, and relaxing resorts.

Getting to Rethymnon

Unlike Heraklion and Chania, Rethymnon does not have its own airport. However, it doesn’t necessarily need one as it’s nearly centrally located between the two cities. The trip from Chania to Rethymnon is about an hour. Should you fly into Heraklion; the trip to Rethymnon will take around an hour and a half.

By Land
Driving to Rethymnon is one of the simplest options for visiting the city, if you are looking to go at your own pace. The city is located on Crete’s National Highway. There is public parking available on the road nearest the sea by the Venetian fortress which is next to the old harbor. There are other parking areas around town.

It is important to note that once at Rethymnon, it is nearly impossible to get around town via car. The streets in the Old Town are reserved only for pedestrians, and few hotels have on-site parking. Due to the parking limitations, it might be easier for those making the trip to travel by bus. There is a bus that runs almost every half an hour from early morning to the evening from Chania and Heraklion, both operated by the KTEL bus line.

By Sea
For travelers who wish to visit Rethymnon from the mainland, instead of flying to the other airports on Crete, there is a ship line that offers daily trips from Piraeus on the Greek mainland to Rethymnon. The trip will take about 10 hours, but will offer you dazzling views of Greece’s picturesque seascapes along the way.

Once You’re at Rethymnon

As cars are not allowed on many of the roads in Rethymnon, walking is your best option for getting around the city. Many of the popular tourist sites in the city are about a 20-30 minute walk from each other. Walking through the narrow streets of Old Town will also allow you to absorb the beauty of the Venetian era edifications complete with archways and fountains from when Crete was under rule of Venice.

If history isn’t your thing, there is plenty to do along the beachfront. The restaurants along the beach are incredibly tourist friendly. The coastline is dotted with umbrellas that cover lounge chairs and tables for the hotels in the area. After walking around the city all day, who wouldn’t want to put their feet up on the beach and enjoy the pristine blue water that Greece is famous for?

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