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A beautiful wide and endless sandy beach, picturesque little streets with old Venetian and Turkish houses, the Venetian port and fortress, make Rethymno one of the most attractive places for holidays in Greece. Rethymno combines the sea with the country, surrounded by mountains at its south. Rethymno's location, in about the middle of the north coast of Crete, makes it convenient to visit the most of the island's beauties. Within thirty minutes to an hour, the traveller can visit lakes, archaeological sites, historic monasteries, charming villages, or the wild unspoiled beauty of the south, by public bus, organised tour, or car.

Practical information

Population: About 30,000 inhabitants. Rethymno is the third largest town in Crete, after Iraklion and Hania.

Getting there and getting around: Rethymno, at the moment, has no direct connection with the other parts of Greece. The region of Rethymno could be daily reached through the ports and airports of Hania and Iraklion (more information here). The distance of the ports and airports of Hania and Iraklion from the town of Rethymno is about one hour. For the boats of Anek Lines from the port of Hania and Minoan Lines from the port of Iraklion, there are direct buses to the town of Rethymno. To reach Rethymno from the airport, a taxi should be taken to the bus station at Hania or Iraklion and then a bus to Rehymno. Another way is by taxi to Rethymno (about €60 from Hania airport / €70 from Iraklion airport). Buses, operated by KTEL, run frequently between the major towns and less efficiently to villages, beaches and other places of tourist interest. The bus station (KTEL) (Igoumenou Gavriil St., Tel.: 2831022212), is west of the fortress, 15 minutes walk from the center of the town. Taxis  can be found at their ranks, stopped on the street, or called by phone (2831025000). They have meters, but prices are fixed for the most common of the destinations and should be checked before setting off. There are many agencies that rent cars, motorcycles and bicycles.

Distances: From Iraklion 78km, from Hania 72km, from Agia Galini 59km, from Plakias 41km.

Tourist information: It is offered now from the Town Municipality and hosted at the Greek Tourist Organization's office (E.O.T.). (Sof. Venizelou St. - at the promenade, at the entrance of the marina, Mon-Fri 8am-3.00pm; Tel: 2831024143). No room reservations, only information for places of interest, activities, routes. Free maps of Rethymno, Crete and other places in Greece.

Telephone: The town code is 28310. In Greece the telephone office (O.T.E., 28 P. Kountourioti Ave, daily 8am-10pm) is separate from the post office. Phone calls from public phone stands or OTE's office, can be made only with phone cards. Prepaid phone cards can be bought at kiosks or mini markets, charge less and can be used from any fixed public or private tone phone. Phoning home is cheaper from 3-5pm and 10pm-8am on the weekdays and from 3pm at Saturday till 8am Monday (Greek time). Transferred calls can be operated through the operator, dialling 161. Telegrams can be sent from OTE's office and faxes from OTE, travel agencies and hotels. Emergency: 100, Tourist Police (in the same building with The Tourist Information office): 2831028156, Police department: 2831025247, First aid: 166.

Post office (ELTA): Two offices, at 21 Moatsou St. (main office) and at the beginning of Sof. Venizelou St. (department). (Mon-Sat 8am-8pm). Post code: 741 00 Rethymno. Letter boxes are painted yellow and can be found in the most central locations. Stamps can be bought from the post offices or from kiosks and shops selling postcards and foreign newspapers, with a small premium being charged.

Medical treatment: There is a public hospital at Trandalidou St., near the south side of The Municipal Garden (tel. 2931027491) and many private medical centers. There is always a pharmacy staying open from 8a.m. to 8p.m. and another one from 8p.m. to 8a.m. Lists of these pharmacies, for each day, can be found on the window of any pharmacy.

Weather: With a mild climate, at summer it is fresher than the mainland of Greece (average temperature is 26-30°C) and in winter much warmer (14-18°C). The maximum sea temperature at summer is 24°C and in winter 16°C.

When to visit: Mainly depends on the time that each person's occupation permits. But many people can choose the period they prefer to have their holiday. Life and atmosphere in the town of Rethymno and the whole island, change with the season. The tourist season starts in mid-March and gets busier in April. The weather is warm enough, but there are not so many activities yet and the sea temperature is not so high. This is low season and accommodation prices are low. May, June and October is the middle season, the start and the end of summer. Many people prefer this period because the good weather permits to do and see many things, it is not too busy, not too hot, the sea is warm and the nature takes wonderful colours and smells. The period from July to the end of September is the high season, where the most people take their holiday and the town gets too busy. Availability in hotels gets limited and prices higher (prices in restaurants, museums and sights stay the same during the whole year). This is the period with the most activities though and the best weather. Mid-November till mid-March is the off-season and life takes its native way. Charter flights stop operating, the sea gets colder, rain comes, many shops -those working with tourism only- close, as well as the most of the hotels and sights. Visiting the countryside, dressed in winter colours, could not be convenient by public bus, probably only by renting a car.


The first signs for human life come from the Neolithic years, but the first settlement appeared at the last years of the Minoan civilization (1350-1100 BC). The ancient town, called Rithymna, developed during the classical years (470-323 BC) and after lost its prosperity. At 1204 AC Crete came under the Venetian domination. The island was very important to Venice, due to its geographical position, in their merchant activity with Peloponnese, the islands of the Aegean Sea, the Arabic countries and India. During this period, the fortress and the defending walls were built to protect the town from the turkish and algerian pirates as well as many other important monuments. There was an economical growth and in the last years of the Venetian occupation many people could study at Italian universities, this leading to the development of the arts - literature, theater, painting, architecture. The Cretan Renaissance flowered at this time and in 1561, the ViVi Academy, the first cultural corporation in Greece after the fall of the Byzantine empire, was founded. In 1646, Rethymno was conquered by the Turks, the economy became agricultural and education was ceased. After many revolutions, the town was occupied from the "Great Powers" and Rethymno was taken by Russia at 1898. Crete united with the rest of Greece at 1913 and from 1941-1944, the island was under the German occupation. In the last 25 years, Rethymno has seen a significant growth, in economy by the development of tourism and in culture by the operation of the university.

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Last revised: 26 January 2010