Mili Gorge. 7 km outside Rethymno, to the south, up on the hills, it is an idyllic one-day tour for those who like to walk in the country. A real paradise, a place of purifying harmony, beauty and peace, the splendour of nature. A walk to another world, unspoiled and uplifting, untouched from progress or tourism, in the green, between trees and plants, along little steams, under the songs and sounds of many kind of birds. Old and now deserted watermills, along the stream, were supplying Rethymno with flour during the last centuries, giving the name to the old and the new settlements. Taking Theotokopoulou street, passing from Evligias hill, with the pine tree forest, the road comes to the Nunnery of Agia Irini. It was founded in 981 and it is one of the oldest monasteries in Crete. It was completely destroyed by the Turks at 1896 and it was restored on 1989. 2 km after, there is the new village of Mili from where you can get down to Mili gorge and the old settlement. Taking the gorge to the end, it leads back to the coast of Rethymno.
Arkadi Monastery. Originally built in the 14th century and re-built in the 16th century, it is located in an attractive hill, 23 km south-east of Rethymno. In the center of the complex stands the Byzantine church. It is well known as one of the most important centers of the Cretan resistance against the Turkish occupation and a symbol of fight for freedom. In November 1866 the Turks sent 15000 men to besiege the monastery. After two days siege and when the entrance was bombed by the Turkish canons, Cretans chose not to surrender and set fire to the store of gun powder, blowing themselves up. Shot and sword marks can be seen on the door, walls and the table inside the refectory. Monastery, ossuary and museum open daily. Buses from Rethymno: 06.00 (not on Saturday, Sunday), 10.30, 14.30. Return: 07.00 (not on Saturday, Sunday), 12.00, 16.00.
Eleftherna. Some km after Arkadi monastery, it is the most important archaeological site in Rethymno and one of the most interesting current excavations being conducted by the Archaeological section of The university of Crete. Inhabited from the ancient years till the Byzantine era, it is the only site in Crete that can give valuable information to archaeologists in how a settlement developed during the years. There can be seen the ruins of dwelling complexes, sanctuaries, cemeteries, the ancient wall, the aqueduct, the huge cisterns and the bridges and an early Christian basilica. Eleftherna is not yet an organised archaeological site.
Margarites village. Continuing from Eleftherna, a characteristic Cretan village with long tradition in hand-made pottery. Buses: 06.30, 12.45 -not on weekends. Return: 07.15, 14.00.
Panormo. Quiet fishing village and currently tourist resort, 19 km east of Rethymno, on the north coast. Taking the bus to Iraklion.
Bali. 8 km after Panormo, the second main resort on the north coast of the prefecture, after the town of Rethymno. Very picturesque, with wonderful bays and port, it is built in the ancient site of Astali. Taking the bus to Iraklion.
Melidoni village. Typical Cretan village, interesting for its cave, inhabited since the Neolithic years and a place of worship during the ancient times. During the Turkish occupation, 370 people were killed by Turks, inside the cave, after refusing to surrender peacefully. Interesting cave, with many stalactites and stalagmites. 140 m long, 6 chambers.
Axos vilage. Small village, 44 km south east of Rethymno, on Idi mountain, at the site of the ancient settlement of Axos, the refuge of the Minoans to be protected from the Dorian invasion. During the venetian occupation the population moved to Anogia. Many byzantine churches can be visited.
Anogia village. One of the most famous Cretan villages for its tradition in the Cretan way of life and music. 8 km after Axos, it is a starting place for visiting the very impressive Idi (Psiloritis) mountain (2452 m), the cave of Ideon Adron, an ancient place of worship and where according to mythology Zeus grew up, the Nida plateau (1500m) and, during the winter, the ski center. Bus: 05.30, 14.30 - not on weekends. Return: 07.00, 16.00 - not on weekends.
Zoniana cave (Sfedoni). Beautiful cave, on the slopes of Psiloritis mountain, at an altitude of 630 m. It is 10 km west of Anogia, 52 km south of Rethymno. The cave has 14 chambers and covers an area of 3000 sq. m, but the walking route is only 270 m.
Amari. The old country road from Rethymno to Agia Galini, passes from many picturesque characteristic Cretan villages and a wonderful scenery. Prassies, Potamoi area, Thronos with the archaeological site of Sivritos, Pandanassa, Patsos and the wonderful gorge of Agios Antonios, Meronas, Amari, Ano Meros, Agios Ioannis, Fourfouras, Kouroutes could offer a very refreshing trip, away from the common tourist attractions. By renting a car.
Argiroupoli. West and south of Rethymno, on the mountains, at the site of the ancient town of Lappa, which prospered during the Roman years. Before entering the village, on the right, the road turns to the sources of the The Holy Power, where the springs of the mountains, running fom everywhere, join in small waterfalls and powerfull streams. The sound of the impetuous water, the greenery and the freshness make this place a small oasis during the summer heat. From inside the village, a foot path 2 km long, brings to the site of the ancient Necropolis, with hundreds of tombs.
Kournas lake. 28 km on the west of Rethymno, 4 km from Georgioupolis, very beautiful lake surrounded by The White Mountains. Should be visited for the wonderful scenery.
Georgioupolis. Big village on the north coast, which grew to a tourist resort, during the last years. 24 km west of Rethymno. Here ends Mouselas river. Taking the bus to Hania. 4 km south, there is the picturesque village of Vrisses and 5 km west, the village of Vamos with a special interest in Cretan tradition.
Petres. Long sandy beach, starting 12 km west of Rethymno, spreading until Georgioupolis. Taking the bus to Hania.
Late Minoan Armeni cemetery. Taking the road to the south, 7 km from Rethymno and 2 km before Armeni village. Large burial site, with many rock chambers been excavated. Many of the findings, nature monument waterfalls of decorated earthenware, seals, jewellery and tools, are exposed at the Archaeological Museum of Hania. Bus: to Plakias or Agia Galini.
Last updated: 16 May 2009