Rethymno is the most representative sample of a Cretan Renaissance city.
Rethymnon is the third largest city of Crete with a population of about 30000, built on the site of ancient Rithymna (4-5th century BC). After the Byzantine era, Rethymnon was fortified and further strengthened by the Venetians.
The old town is one of the nicest attractions for visitors to Crete, who have the ability to roam in the past. The town with the quaint streets and the beautiful monuments reserves its Venetian and Ottoman hues, as it was not altered by the modern era. In contrast to Heraklion and Chania, Rethymnon preserved mainly a Greek Renaissance character, as most nobles during the Venetian Period were Greeks.
Near the old town with the narrow streets, the visitor shall visit the largest fortress in Crete, the majestic Fortezza. Other attractions include the small Venetian harbor with the lighthouse, Venetian Loggia, Rimondi Fountain, Rethymno Park, Santa Maria, History Museum, Nerantza Mosque, St. Francis Basilica, Great Gate (Porta Guora), Mosque of Kara Musa Pasha and Venetian mansions in Street Arkadi. Finally, visitors can enjoy their bath in the vast sandy beach starting east of the port of Rethymnon.
The Archaeological Museum of Rethymnon is temporarily hosted in the basilica of Agios Fragiskos (St Francis) in the old town of Rethymnon. It hosts exhibits from various excavations around the prefecture of Rethymnon which represent all periods from the Neolithic Age to the Roman period.
The Historical and Folklore Museum of Rethymnon was founded in 1974 and is housed in a Venetian building (17th century) that is a wonderful example of urban residence of the last phase of the Venetian occupation of Crete, in Renaissance.
The sandy beach of Rethymno is located just 1km east of the city centre, next to the Venetian port. It's a lovely beach with golden sand and crystal clear shallow waters, very well organized and close to all amenities of the city.
The Venetian Harbor of Rethymnon, next to the modern harbor of the city, with the Egyptian lighthouse is one of the most picturesque areas of the old town. It operated in the Byzantine period (after 961), but flourished during the Venetian period. The Venetians in the 14th century started major projects to facing the problem of siltation, which holds till today.
The old town of Rethymnon is a preserved Renaissance city that bears elements from both the Venetian and the Ottoman Era. In the old town there we meet the street markets of Arkadi and Antistaseos Streets. Above the old town we meet the imposing fortress of Fortezza that once protected Rethymnon. The picturesque narrow alleys housemany restaurants and taverns with traditional music.
It is based in the heart of the old historic town, under the Venetian wall and the Archaeological Museum. It is housed in a Venetian building that operated (in the early 20th century until the 70s) as a soap factory and is now a modern museum around covering about 1000 sq.m.
Fortezza fort dominates the hill Palekastro beside the old town of Rethymnon and is one of the biggest fortresses of the Venetian Era. It has been built on the site of the citadel of ancient Rithimna and the Temple of Artemis Rokkea. The grand pentagonal fort was built in the 1573 and has perimeter 1300m long.
The Temple of Mastabas, with the characteristic 9-dome architecture, is an authentic monument of Rethymnon and has been conceded to GNHM following a decision of the Ministry of Culture. Upon completion of restoration and of the relevant museological study, it will operate as a Museum of Palaeontology, being annex of Goulandris National History museum in Crete.
The lighthouse of the Venetian harbor of Rethymno is the second largest remaining Egyptian lighthouse in Crete, after the lighthouse of Chania harbor. It is built on the edge of the old sea wall of Rethymnon and it can be accessed very easily.