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Rethymno Old Town & Fortezza, Crete

Rethymno, Crete is another harbor town that has a beautiful Fortress called The Fortezza and a quaint old town area. We explored some of this area during our 2021 Sept/Oct Greece trip. Actually, Rethymno is one of the towns we choose to stay as our base. Since we had some busy days, we did not have the time to explore Rethymno as much as we would like. We did wander the streets a bit in the evening and enjoyed walking in the fortress one early morning.

Location

Rethymno is a city located in North Central coastal area of the island of Crete in Greece. Situated between Chania to the East and Heraklion to the West, Rethymno is a good central loctation and also a perfect home base for our first few days in Crete. You may also see this town referred to as Rethimno, Rethymnon, Réthymnon, and Rhíthymnos. Regardless of the name, this town can trace it’s roots back to the Minoan era.

Rethymno Fortezza

The Fortezza of Rethymno is the fortified part of the city and is one of the first things we explored in Old Town Rethymno. The Fortezza is built upon a hill that once was occupied by an Accropolis. After the Venetian’s took over the area in 1540, a fortification was built around the city. Unfortunately this fortification was attacked and plundered by the Ottoman’s. In 1573 a new fortress was built and completed in 1580 to protect the city and harbor. In 1646 the Ottoman’s seized the city and took over. The Ottoman’s made a few changes, including changing the cathedral into a mosque and building additional outer walls for protection.

Sultan Ibrahim Han Mosque

Venetian Harbor

The Venetian Harbor in Rethymno is along the water by the Old Town and down the hill from the Fortezza. The perfect place to roam on a great day. The water is crystal clear and you have a great view of the Egyptian Lighthouse.

Egyptian Lighthouse

The Egyptian Lighthouse in Rethymno, built in the 1830’s, is the second largest Egyptian Lighthouse in Crete

Rimondi Fountain

The Rimondi Fountain is located in Old Town and was built in 1629 by the Venetians. The three fountains have water running from lion heads.

Neratze Mosque Minaret

The Neratze Mosque was originally a Venetian church but was turned into a Mosque in 1657 when the Turks ruled the area. A minaret was built with two praying balconies. We did not go past the Mosque but we could see the minaret from our hotel balcony. The Mosque currently is used for musical concerts.

The Streets of Old Town

Of course, what I always enjoy most in these towns is roaming through the narrow streets. There are many shops and also places to eat. We found Ice Cream at Wok Spot one evening which was delicious! Another evening we ate our first Loukoumades with cinnamon, honey and walnuts and they were fantastic.

Meli Melo

Conclusion

Rethymno Old Town and Fortezza are definitely worth a visit, We just wished we would have spent another day here exploring the town.

Where We Stayed

While in this area of Crete we stayed at the Avli Lounge Apartments in Rethymno and could not have been happier. Staying here was very special. The room was comfortable, clean, had lots of space and nicely decorated. The service was outstanding. We enjoyed breakfast in the restaurant each morning and it was so fresh and delicious. I highly recommend Avli when in the Rethymno area.

Enjoying Greece Back Home

The following links are to products I loved from Crete that I now buy by mail. I receive no incentives or commissions and I am not an affiliate of these products. I am just giving them a mention because I love the products and the service!

Carter Imports

I buy Greek Honey, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper Spread from Carter Imports. I have been buying from them for a couple of years and I am more than pleased. This is a family owned business and are prompt, reliable and provide great customer service. Their Raw Cretan Thyme Honey comes from the Saviolakis family in the Sfakia region on Crete. The Saviolakis family has been producing honey for over 250 years. The EVOO I buy is Elia from the Koukakis Family from the Chania region. The Red Pepper Spread is not from Crete but from Florida Greece and the Tsakiridis family. Last but not least Carter Imports also sells my very favorite Greek Cookbook A Drop of Ladi in My Greek Soul written by Chef Krystina Kalapothakos. See below for a link to her site!

Kouzounas Kitchen

Check out Kouzounas Kitchen’s blog. Written by Krystina who authors the cookbook A Drop of Ladi in My Greek Soul. Krystina’s blog has recipes and great stories written with warmth and also with pride in her Greek roots. As I mentioned, it is my favorite cookbook. Her recipes are authentic Greek and any time I follow one of her recipes, my family and guests rave about how good it taste!

Planning & Tips

The following items, (other than True Trips), contain Amazon affiliate links. This means I get a small commission for each qualifying purchase through my links. Thank you!

If you plan on using your cell phone a lot for GPS or taking photos I found this I Walk phone charger to be a life saver. None of the vehicles we drove had adaptable phone chargers to our I phones. This is lightweight and easy to carry.

I do recommend a map. I used the National Geographic Map of Crete and glad we had it as we lost our GPS several times. The map is also very accurate and durable. Although the map is quite large it folds up like a typical map. Half of Crete is on one side of of the map while the other half of Crete is on the other side.

While planning our trips to Crete, I found the travel guide Top 10 Crete to be very useful. For one thing, it lists the top 10 places to go, restaurants, and sites. Additionally, it also lists the top 10 by region and area. Given these points, I felt it was a great planning tool, plus it came with a pocket size map which we did use.

True Trips, Greece Each time we traveled to Greece, we let True Greece plan much of our trip! We had them plan our lodging and also our transfers to and from airports and ferry ports. You can have them plan your tours too and also some dinner accommodations. They know the ins and outs that we would never think of. As a matter of fact, they are from Greece. This is invaluable, as it assures for a smooth trip. I 100% recommend!

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Matala Beach Caves, Crete, Sept 2021

Hike to Martsalos Beach, Sept 2021

The Chapel at Georgioupoli, Sept 2021

Koutalas Beach and Sea Cave, Sept 2021

A Walk Through Chania, Sept 2021

Stavros Beach, Sept 2021

Temple of Poseidon, Sept 2021

You can also follow my other Crete adventures here:

Elounda Peninsula Hotel, Sept 2019

Lasithi Windmills, Sept 2019

Knossos Palace, Crete Sept 2019

Chania Harbor, Sept 2019

Preveli Beach, Sept 2019

Seitan Limania Beach, Sept 2019

Katholiko Monastery, Sept 2019

Balos Beach Sept 2019

Links to our 2018 and also 2019 Trip can be found in this post:

10 Days in Greece Athens, Crete, Santorini 2019

8 Days in Greece, Athens, Milos, Santorini 2018

Diary of a Gen-X recommendations for hotels, restaurants, & tours are based on our own experiences. We do not receive compensation for recommending at any of these nor are we affiliates of any hotels, restaurants, or tours. The only hotels & restaurants we recommend are places we stay which are clean, comfortable, and provide exceptional hospitality.