Rethymnon Prefecture is situated between the two highest mountain ranges of Crete, White Mountains (also referred to as Lefka Ori) and Psiloritis (also known as Ida). Although tourism is the main local activity, Rethymno is strongly associated with agriculture as indicated by its millions of olive and fruit trees. From its high mountains to its beautiful beaches there are scattered multiple monasteries, archaeological sites and Venetian and Ottoman monuments.
Rethymno is the capital of Rethymno Prefecture. The old town of Rethymno with its narrow streets is one of the best preserved towns of the Renaissance. Lying in the heart of modern Rethymno, it combines the oriental features of the Turkish period with Renaissance-style Venetian architecture. The layout of Rethymno is directly linked to the sea, with the main Venetian street, the Ruga Maistra (today's coastal Venizelou Avenue) running parallel to the sea. Today the old town of Rethymno is a living museum of monuments of past centuries. Its landmark, the Venetian Fortress “Fortezza” is situated prominently on a rock overlooking the Old Venetian Harbour with the lighthouse. Fortezza hosts Rethymnon Renaissance Festival that takes place every summer. Some of the not-to-be-missed sights in Rethymno are Rimondi Fountain, Loggia and Ideon Antron cave (67 km southeast of Rethymno) where according to the myth Zeus was born.
Some of the popular beaches in Rethymno are Adelianos kampos (a long, sandy beach next to Adele village, 6 km east of Rethymno), Moni Prevelis palm beach (a magnificent beach with a palm forest situated in the exit of Kourtaliotiko Gorge where Megas Potamos river flows to the sea, 34 km south of Rethymno), Pigianos Kampos (a sandy beach near Pigi village, 9 km east of Rethymno) and Mpali (also known as Bali, 33 km east of Rethymno).
The famous Monastery Arkadi (Moni Arkadiou) lies 20km east of Rethymno. This fort-like monastery is the most famous of Crete since it played a significant role in the liberation of Crete that resulted in the reunification with Greece.
Rethymno and its traditional villages are like live postcards pervaded by an unparalleled hospitality, the aroma of Cretan cuisine and the sound of the Cretan lyre. The tourist resort of Plakias offers a beautiful sandy beach, while nearby lies the magnificent Kotsyfos Gorge. Other interesting sights in this area are Preveli Monasteri with its exotic Palm Beach (32 km south of Rethymno), Kourtaliotiko Gorge(25 km) and Rodakino village (42 km southwest of Rethymno). East of Plakias there is Agia Galini village (54 km south of Rethymno) with a small sandy beach and transfer boats to the sandy beaches of Agios Georgios (a pebbled beach with turquoise waters, 56 km south of Rethymno), Agios Pavlos (55 km south of Rethymno) and Triopetra (a silky sandy beach with azure waters, 45 km south of Rethymno). Panormo village (23 km to the east) and Spili village (27 km south of Rethymno) are two traditional villages worth visiting as well.
In order to reach Rethymno you must first land at I. Daskalogiannis airport of Chania and then drive 65 km to Rethymno. On the other hand, you can land at N. Kazantzakis airport of Heraklion and drive 82 km to Rethymno.