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If you want a balance of a beautiful small town, excellent food, affordable and a central location, Rethymno is easily the best place to stay in Crete. We stayed here for most of our time in Crete and absolutely loved it. It is a ridiculously pretty Venetian town which lies half-way between Chania and Heraklion, nestling between the Mediterranean Sea and the foothills of the White Mountains. So what did we see and do in Rethymno?
Rethymno (or Rethymnon) is everything a Greek town should be and more. It’s one of the best preserved medieval towns in Greece and was once a bastion of the Venetians who left a mighty legacy – the large Fortezza (fortress) which guards Rethymno from the top of an imposing headland. The town was also ruled by Turks for a time so you’ll find a scattering of Ottoman domes and minarets peeping from behind 16th century buildings.
n the town there’s a honeycomb of cobbled alleyways dappled with vines and bougainvillea. They’re lined with cute cafes, shops selling local crafts and restaurants dishing up the best of Cretan eats. Ancient doorways and arches in mellow stone walls lead to enticing courtyards and 16th century buildings and churches line pretty plazas. There’s a stylish side to the town with contemporary restaurants, cafés and bars. The newly developed part of town has a vast sandy beach which gently slopes into the sea. It’s lined with hotels and restaurants and stretches east for 22km to Panormo – the contrast of new and old makes it the perfect base for both families and couples.