Under the shade of Psiloritis
Rethymno is one of the four prefectures of Crete. It is situated between the prefectures of Chania and Heraklion, abutting the Cretan Sea in the north and the Libyan Sea in the south. Its capital, which has the same name as the prefecture, is situated 58 km from the town of Chania and 78 km from the town of Heraklion. The central part of the town of Rethymno is built on the cape of the northern shore of the prefecture. The developing town stretches along the northern sandy beach, which has a total length of 13 km, whilst a range of low mountains, rises up south of the town centre. Three other notable towns in the Rethymno prefecture are Plakias, Spili and Agia Galini.
The prefecture terrain is mainly mountainous with small but interesting morphological changes such as imposing gorges, a large number of caves, lush valleys and small rivers. Areas of flat land can be found primarily in the northern coastal region as well as between massifs. Equally restricted is the number of rivers. The Geropotamos, or Avlopotamos from the mountainous area of Mylopotamos flows into the sea west of Panormo, and the Megalos Potamos flows into the lagoon at Preveli. All the other rivers in the northern part of the prefecture are of minor importance and usually carry water during the winter period only.
Mountains and mountain ranges dominate the terrestrial morphology of the prefecture. In the east Mount Ida, or Psiloritis, rises up. With a height of 2456 m it is the highest peak of the island of Crete, its massif covering approximately 1/5 of the total territory of the prefecture. The mountain range of Kedros (1777 m) rises southwest of Psiloritis. Together the two massifs border the beautiful valley of Amari. On the northeasterly border of the prefecture is Mount Kouloukounas, also called Talaia Mountain (1083 m), and south of the town of Rethymno is Mount Vrysinas (858 m). Mount Kryoneritis (1312 m) lies south west of the town and is the most easterly peak in Crete's second tall massif, the White Mountains.
Due to the hot summers and the long periods of rainfall, which lasts from autumn almost to April, the climate can be characterised as "temperate Mediterranean". Temperatures range around 14 Celcius in winter and 29 Celcius in summer. Furthermore, strong northerly and southerly winds play a significant role in this area with respect to meteorological phenomena.
The Prefecture of Rethymno is ideal for summer holidays since it boasts a large number of beautiful and clean beaches. Magnificent sandy beaches can be visited on the north coast, at the Cretan Sea as well as on the south coast of the island, at the Libyan Sea. The beaches in north are open to wind and mainly sandy. The beaches on south, are quiet and tougher to reach. Preveli, Plakias, Agios Pavlos and Agia Galini are the most renowned beaches of South Rethymno.