Rethymno Peymno

pop 28,959

Rethymno (reth-im-no) is the island's third-largest town and one of the most picturesque, with a charming Venetian harbour and delightful old Venetian-Ottoman quarter.

The old quarter is a maze of narrow streets draped in floral canopies, graceful wood-balconied houses and ornate Venetian monuments, with minarets adding a touch of the Orient. While architectural similarities invite comparison with Hania, Rethymno has a character all its own.

HISTORY

The name Rethymno means 'stream of water' and evidence (to be found in the city's archaeological museum) indicates that the site of modern Rethymno has been occupied since Late Minoan times. In the 3rd and 4th centuries BC, 'Rithymna' emerged as an autonomous state of sufficient stature to issue its own coinage. Ancient Rithymna probably lay at the base of Palekastro Hill but its re mains have never been excavated, although later Roman mosaics have been found beneath the modern town.

The town prospered once more under the Venetians, who ruled from 1210 until 1645, and turned Rethymno (which they renamed Castel Vecchio) into an important commercial centre exporting wine and oil. The town flourished artistically under the Venetians and became the seat of a Venetian prefect. They built the harbour and began fortifying the town in the 16th century against the growing threat from the Turks. Michele Sanmicheli, the best military architect of the era, designed the thick outer walls, of which only the Porto Guora survives. The walls did not stop the city from being sacked by the pirate Barbarossa in 1538.

The Venetians then built the massive fortress on the hill, which nevertheless was unable to withstand the Turkish assault of 1646 and collapsed after a 22-day siege. Rethymno was an important seat of government under the Turks but it was also a centre of resistance to Turkish rule. The Turks inflicted severe reprisals upon the town for its role in the uprising of 1821, but the resistance continued.

Turkish forces held the town until 1897, when it was taken by Russia as part of the occupation of Crete by the Great Powers. Rethymno became an artistic and intellectual centre after the arrival of a large number of refugees from Smyrna in 1923.

These days, the city has a campus of the University of Crete, attracting a large student population that keeps the town lively outside the tourist season.

ORIENTATION

Rethymno is a fairly compact town with most of the major sights, accommodation and places to stay and eat within a small area off the old Venetian harbour. Most of the old town is pedestrian-only and parking can be a nightmare so you are better off leaving the car in one of the car parks (see Map ppl24-5).

The old quarter occupies the headland north of Dimakopoulou, which runs from Plateia Vardinogianni on the western side to Plateia Iroon on the east. This is where you'll find the most atmospheric hotels and eateries. Banks and services are to the south on the edge of the new town.

The beach is on the eastern side of town, around from the Venetian harbour. One block back from the beach is Arkadiou, the main commercial and shopping street.

If you arrive by bus, you will be dropped at the rather inconvenientiy located terminal about 600m west of the Porto Guora, the historic gate to the old town. If you arrive by ferry, the old quarter is at the end of the quay.

INFORMATION Bookshops

Book Store Mediterráneo (§ 28310 23417; Mavroko-rdatou 2) English books, travel guides and foreign press. Ilias Spondidakis bookshop (s 28310 54307; Souliou 43) Novels in English, books about Greece, tapes of Greek music; small secondhand section. Xenos Typos (§ 28310 29405; Ethnikis Antistaseos 21) Foreign press, guidebooks and maps.

Emergency

Tourist police (§ 28310 28156; Delfini Bldg, Elefth-eriou Venizelou; S 7am-2.30pm) In the same building as the municipal tourist office.

Internet Access

Cybernet (Kallergi 44-46; per hr €3; S 10am-5am) Galero (@ 28310 54345; Plateia Rimondi; per hr €3; S 6am-late)

Laundry

Laundry Mat (§ 28310 29722; Tombazi 45; wash & dry €9; S 8.30am-2pm &5.30-9pm Mon-Fri, 8.30am-2.15pm Sat) Next door to the youth hostel.

Left Luggage

KTEL (§ 28310 22659; cnr Kefalogiannidon & Igou-menou Gavriil) The bus station stores luggage for €1.50 per day.

Medical Services

Rethymno Hospital (s 28210 27491; Triandalydou 17; S24hr)

Money

Alpha Bank (Pavlou Koundouriotou 29) Has a 24-hour automatic exchange machine and ATM.

National Bank of Greece (Dimokratias) On the far side ofthesguare opposite the town hall.

National Mortgage Bank Next to the town hall, has a

24-hour automatic exchange machine and ATM.

Post

Post office (§ 28310 22303; Moatsou 21; S 7am-7pm Mon-Fri)

Toilets

There is a reasonable public toilet near the Venetian harbour just off Arkadiou.

Tourist Information

Municipal tourist office (s 28310 29148; www .rethymno.gr; Delfini Bldg, Eleftheriou Venizelou; S 8.30am-8.30pm Mon-Fri, 9am-8.30pm Sat & Sun Mar-Nov).

Prefecture tourist office (§ 28310 25571 www .rethymnon.gr; Dimokratias 1; S 7.30am-3pm Mon-Fri).

Travel Agencies

Ellotia Tours (§ 28310 24533; www.rethymnoatcrete .com; Arkadiou 155; S 9am-9pm Mar-Nov) Helpful office that handles boat and plane tickets, changes money, rents cars and motorcycles, and books excursions.

SIGHTS

Rethymno's 16th-century fortezza (fortress; @ 2831028101;Paleokastro Hill;admission €3.10; S 8am-8pm Jun-Oct) is on the site of the city's ancient acropolis. Within its massive walls a great number of buildings once stood, of which only a church and a mosque survive intact. The ramparts offer good views, while the site has lots of ruins to explore. The main gate is opposite the Archaeological Museum on the eastern side of the fortress, but there were once

Agia Varvara Crete

Sea of Crete

Periferia^

Venetian Harbour

National Stadium

Beach

Municipal Park

To Prima Plora University oft Petres (10km); Mania (57km)

To Agia Galini (55km)

Post Office

Prefecture Tourist Offia

Tourist Police

Town Hall

Xenos Typos

INFORMATION

Alpha Bank

Bookstore Mediterráneo

Cybernet

Ellotia Tours

G alero

Hospital

Nias Spondidakis Bookshop.

KTEL

Laundry Mat

Municipal Tourist Office

National Bank of Greece

National Mortgage Bank. ..

Fortezza 21 B2

Happy Walker 22 D4

Hellenic Conservatory (see 28)

Historical & Folk Art Museum.. 23 C3

Kara Musa Pasha Mosque 24 E4

Lighthouse 25 D3

Loggia 26 C3

Municipal Art Gallery 27 C2

Nerantzes Mosque 28 C3

Paradise Dive Centre 29 D3

Porto Guora 30 C4

Rimondi Fountain 31 C3

SIGHTS & ACTIVITIES

Archaeological Museum 16 B2

Centre for Byzantine Art 17 C3

Centre for Contemporary Art ...(see 27)

Dolphin Cruises 18 D3

Entran ce to Fortress 19 B2

EOS 20 D5

two other gates on the western and northern sides for the delivery of supplies and ammunition. In summer it is a stunning concert venue for the Renaissance Festival (pi26).

Rethymno's tiny Venetian harbour is crammed with fish tavernas and cafés fronted by touts, but you can get a better sense of it by walking along the old harbour walls past the fishing boats to the landmark lighthouse, built later by the Turks.

The small Archaeological Museum (§§ 28310 54668; admission 6; S 8.30am-3pmTue-Sun), near the entrance to the fortress, was once a prison. The exhibits are well labelled in English and contain Neolithic tools, Minoan pottery excavated from nearby tombs, Mycenaean figurines and a lst-century-AD relief of Aphrodite, as well as an important coin collection. There are also some excellent examples of blown glass from the classical period. Various displays oudine the history of archaeological excavations in the region. Rethymno's Historical & Folk Art Museum (§ 28310 23398; Vernardou 28-30; admission €3; S 9.30am-2.30pm Mon-Sat) gives an excellent overview of the area's rural lifestyle, with its collection of clothing, baskets, weavings and farm tools, and useful explanatory labels. It is in a lovely historic Venetian building.

Pride of place among the many vestiges of Venetian rule goes to the Rimondi Fountain with its spouting lion heads and Corinthian capitals, built first in 1588 and rebuilt in 1626 by a rector of the city, A Rimondi. Another major landmark is the 16th-century Loggia (a Venetian version of a gendeman's club), once a meeting house for Venetian nobility, now a museum shop selling good-quality reproductions.

At the southern end of Ethnikis Antistaseos is the well-preserved Porto Guora (Great Gate), a remnant of the defensive wall that was once topped with the symbol of Venice: the Lion of St Mark, now in the Archaeological Museum. Around the Porto Guora lies a network of old streets built by the Venetians and rebuilt by the Turks. The Centre for Byzantine Art (§ 28210 50120; Ethnikis Antistaseos; S 10am-2pm&7pm-late) isa great example of a restored Venetian-Turkish mansion and has exhibitions, workshops and a terrace café with great views of the old town. Other Turkish legacies in the old quarter include the Kara Musa Pasha Mosque, which has a vaulted fountain, and the Nerantzes Mosque, which was converted from a Franciscan church in 1657. It now houses the Hellenic

ENTERTAINMENT 0

Asteria Cinema Erofili Theatre Figaro

Fortezza Disco Raki Barak! Rock Club Cafe

SHOPPING Q

Avil Raw Ingredients En Hordais Omodamos Sllverhorse Zomlnthos

TRANSPORT

ANEK Bus Station Ferries to Piraeus Olympic Airways

SLEEPING f3

Atelier

32

CD

Avli Lounge Apartments

(see 64)

Barbara Dokimaki Rooms

33

C2

Byzantine Hotel

34

C4

Casadei Delfini

35

B3

Hotel Fortezza

36

C3

Hotel Id eon

37

C2

Hotel Veneto

38

C3

Olga's Pension

39

C3

Palazzini Di Corina

40

C2

Palazzo Rimondi

41

C3

Rethymno Youth Hostel

42

C4

Sea Front

43

D4

Vetera Suites

44

D4

EATING QJ

Avli

45

C3

Castelvecchio

46

B2

Fanari

47

C2

Halkiadakis Supermarket

48

C5

Kapilio

49

C3

Lemonokipos

50

C3

Mona Liza

51

C3

Nikiforos

52

D5

Othonas

53

C3

Samaria

54

D4

Taverna Kyria Maria

55

C3

Thalassografia

56

B1

Yiorgos Hatziparaskos

57

Asteria Cinema Erofili Theatre Figaro

Fortezza Disco Raki Barak! Rock Club Cafe

SHOPPING Q

Avil Raw Ingredients En Hordais Omodamos Sllverhorse Zomlnthos

TRANSPORT

ANEK Bus Station Ferries to Piraeus Olympic Airways

Conservatory (§ 28310 22724; Vernadou 1; S closed August) and makes a lovely venue for concerts and recitals. The management is happy for you to have a look around. The building's minaret, built in 1890, was being restored at the time of writing.

The Municipal Art Gallery (§ /fax 28310 52530; Himaras5&Melissinou; S 9am-2pmTue-Sun,5-9pmWed) near the fortezza houses a permanent exhibition of works by Rethymno painter Lefteris Kanakakis, as well as contemporary Greek artists since 1950. It is part of the Centre for Contemporary Art (www.rac.gr; S 9am-1pm &7-10pm Tue-Fri, 11am-3pmSat&Sun), which holds periodic exhibitions. The pleasant municipal park offers a respite from the heat and crowds.

ACTIVITIES Hiking

The Happy Walker (§ /fax 28310 52920; www.happy walker.com; Tombazi 56; S5pm-8.30pm) runs various walks in the region, including complete walking holidays.

Rethymno's chapter of the Greek Mountaineering Club EOS (EOS; §2831057766; www.eos .rethymnon.com; Dimokratias 12; S 8.30-10.30pm) can give advice on the region.

Bike Riding

Cycling enthusiast and Greek Paralympic champion Odyseas the Cydist §/fax 28310 58178; [email protected]; Velouhioti 31) runs small guided rides in the area including half-day tours to Arkadi, Margarites and Argyroupoli (€40) and full-day rides to Preveli (€60). He has top brand bikes for hire and also runs tailored tours for people with disabilities.

Diving

The Paradise Dive Centre (§ 2831026317; www.diving -center.gr) runs diving activities and PADI courses for all grades of divers from their base at Petres, about 15 minutes west of Rethymno. Kalypso Rock's Palace Dive Centre (§ 28310 20990; www.kalypsodivingcenter.com; Eleftheriou Venizelou 42) runs a slick diving operation, mostiy from its diving base in Plakias (Map pi22) on the southern coast.

TOURS

Rethymno is well placed for boat excursions. Along the harbour front there are several companies that offer boat trips, including Dolphin Cruises (§ 2831057666), which offers three-hour trips on the 'pirate ship' to nearby caves, Pan-

ormo and Bali (adult/child under 12 €25/12), all-day trips to Marathi beach (€34/17), and fishing trips on a speedboat (€25).

Travel agents sell a range of coach excursions to key sites, including the Samaria Gorge (€28), Elafonisi (€26) and Gramvousa (€24). Prices exclude admission charges and boat fares.

FESTIVALS & EVENTS

Rethymno's main cultural event is the annual Renaissance Festival (§ 28310 51199; www.rfr .gr;), which runs from July to September. Held primarily in the open-air Erofili Theatre at the fortezza, it features performances by Greece's leading theatre companies, as well as dance, music and acts from around Europe. It promotes both the Cretan and European Renaissance, so you will get anything from Shakespeare and Molière to Cretan playwrights. Get programmes and tickets at the town hall (§ 28310 88279; S9am-1.30pm Mon-Fri) or from the Erofili Theatre one hour before performances.

Most years there's a Wine Festival in mid-July, which is held in the municipal park and offers a good opportunity to sample local wine and cuisine. Ask the tourist office for details. Rethymno is also renowned for its annual carnival celebration (http://carnival-in-rethymnon -greece.com), a three week pre-Lent celebration of dancing and masquerading, games and treasure hunts and a grand street parade. It usually falls around January or February.

SLEEPING

The old town has an ample supply of lovely restored mansions, boutique hotels and friendly pensions to cater for all budgets, and many hotels are open all year. To the east is an endless stretch of hotels and resorts.

Budget

Elizabeth Camping (§ 28310 28694; www .camping elizabeth.com; sites per person €6.54, tent small/large €4.85/5.65) Located near Mysiria beach, 3km east of Rethymno, this is the nearest camping ground. There's a taverna, snack bar and mini-market, plus a communal fridge, free beach umbrellas and sun lounges, and a weekly beach BBQ. An Iraklio-bound bus can drop you here.

Rethymno Youth Hostel ( § 28310 22848; www.yh rethymno.com; Tombazi 41 ; dm with shared bathroom €9; (Q) ) The hostel is friendly and well run with free hot showers. Breakfast is available from €2 and there's a bar in the evening. There is no curfew and the place is open all year.

Barbara Dokimaki Rooms ( g 28310 24581 ; aliœdok® yahoo.com; Damvergl 14;s€30,d €45-60,tr€70; (El ) This well-located complex of rooms in a Venetian building with a newer 2nd-floor addition is set around a pleasant courtyard. The rooms are simple with timber floors and some period features. They have TV and dated but functional bathrooms.

Sea Front (§ 28310 51981; www.forthnet.gr/elotla; Arkadiou 159; d €35-45; (E) This conveniently located pension on the beach has pleasant budget rooms with timber floors and fridge. They also have cheerful studio apartments with sea views and ceiling fans further towards the town beach, and rooms in another building nearby.

Hlll'imi Atelier (§ 28310 24440; [email protected] net.gr; Hlmaras 27; d €35-45) One of the best value options are these clean and attractively refurbished rooms attached to a pottery workshop. Both are run by Froso Bora. They have exposed stone walls and many Venetian architectural features, as well as small flat-screen TVs, new bathrooms and kitchenettes.

Olga's Pension (§ 28310 28665; Soullou 57; s/d/tr €35/45/65) Friendly Olga's is tucked away on touristy but colourful Souliou. It has a faded charm, with a quirky décor and a network of terraces bursting with flowers and greenery that connect a range of dated but colourful rooms. Most have a fridge, TV, fan and basic bathrooms. Rates include breakfast at Stella's kitchen downstairs.

Byzantine Hotel ( § 2831055609; Vosporou 26; d ind breakfast €45) The excellent-value small hotel in a historic building near the Porta Guora maintains a traditional feel. The rooms are simply decorated with carved timber furniture and some have bathtubs. The back rooms overlook the old mosque and minaret. At the time of writing there were plans to install air-con.

Midrange

Hotel Fortezza (§ 2831055551;www.fortezza.gr;Mells-sinou 16; s/d ind breakfast €62/75; ® (E tS) Housed in a refurbished old building in the heart of the old town, the tasteful rooms have TVs and telephones. After a day of roaming through Rethymno, it's pleasant to relax by the swimming pool.

Casa dei Delfini ( § 2831055120; [email protected]; Nikl-forou Foka 66-68; studios €45-70, ste €80-140; (E ) Turk ish and Venetian architectural features have been cleverly maintained in this elegant pension, including an old stone trough and the hammam (Turkish bath) ceiling in one of the studio bathrooms. There is a range of traditionally decorated rooms, all with kitchenettes, through the most impressive is the massive maisonette with a large private terrace.

Hotel Ideon (§ 2831028667;www.hotelideon.gr; Plas-tlra 10; s/d €54/75, studio/apt ind breakfast €90/105; g)) This polished central establishment is one of the oldest hotels in town, spread over two restored old buildings and a modern wing. The rooms are nicely decorated and well appointed and there are balconies with sea views. The courtyard pool spares you the long walk to Rethymno's beach.

Hotel Veneto (§ 28310 56634; www.veneto.gr; Epi-menldou 4; studio/ste Ind breakfast €124/143; (E) The oldest part of the hotel dates from the 14th century and many traditional features have been preserved without sacrificing modern comforts. There's a stunning pebble mosaic in the foyer and the eye-catching rooms of polished wood floors and ceilings have iron beds, satellite TV and kitchenettes. Rates drop significantly out of high season.

Top End

Hiil'IIM Vetera Suites (§ 28310 23844; www.vetera .gr; Kastrlnogiannakl 39; d €85-150; (E) These six elegant suites stand out for their attention to detail, from the lace curtains to the mastic bath products and china tea sets for breakfast. Each room is stylishly decorated with iron beds and antiques, and comes with a neatly concealed kitchenette. The bathroom tiles feature paintings by the owner's favourite artist, Degas, and there are DVD players and other mod cons, including access for laptops.

Palazzo Rimondi (§ 28310 51289; www.palazzo rimondi.com; Xanthoudidou 21 &Trlkoupi 16; d studio/ste ind breakfast €160-190; (El) This charming Venetian mansion in the heart of the old city has exquisite individually decorated studios with kitchenettes. There's a small splash pool in the courtyard where breakfast is served.

Palazzini di Corina (§ 28310 21205; www.corina .gr;Damvergi9;d€120,ste€160-220; (g) g)) This regal Venetian mansion right near the harbour is one of the classiest boutique hotels in town. Decorated with antique furniture, it has been beautifully restored, with exposed stone walls, timber vaulted ceilings and a lovely internal mosaic courtyard. Prices include breakfast.

Avli Lounge Apartments (§§ 28310 58250; www .avli.gr; cnrXanthoudidou 22 & Radamanthyos; r inci a la carte breakfast €199-239; (El) These decadent eclectic suites are spread over two beautifully restored Venetian buildings in Rethymno's historic old town. There are ornate iron or wooden beds, antiques, exquisite furnishings and ob-jets d'art. A fitting place to retire after spoiling yourself with dinner in Avli's ambient courtyard garden.

EATING

The waterfront along Eleftheriou Venize-lou is lined with similar tourist restaurants staffed by fast-talking touts, as is the Venetian harbour except that the setting is better and the prices higher. The best places are in the web of side streets inland from the harbour, while a couple warrant a trip outside the tourist zone.

Budget

Taverna Kyria Maria 28310 29078; Moshovitou 20; Cretan dishes €2.50-6.50) This good value traditional taverna behind the Rimondi Fountain has outdoor seating and birdcages hanging from the leafy trellis. Meals normally end with a complimentary dessert and shot of raki.

Zisi's (H 28310 28814; Old Rethymno-lrakion Rd Mysiria; grills €3.20-6; S dosed Tue) Locals swear by Zisi's for cheap, quality Cretan food, particularly the charcoal-grilled meats and the 25 or so daily trays of home-style dishes. It's a little out of town along the stretch of beachfront hotels and resorts (on right just before the Creta Palace), but is worth the trip. Kids will love the new playground.

Samaria 28310 24681; Eleftheriou Venizelou; mayirefta €4-6.50) Of the waterfront tavernas, this is one of the few where youH see local families eating. There's a large range of mayirefta (casseroles), and the soups and grills are excellent.

Nikiforos (§ 28310 55403; Moatsou 40; mains €4-7; S noon-IOpm) It may lack the atmosphere of the old town, but this traditional mayireio in the new town churns out trays of home-style cooking for hungry locals and does a decent takeaway trade.

Kapilio (@ 28310 52001; Xanthoudidou 7; set menu for 1 €12.50-13.80) Popular with students, this Serb-run mezedopoleio has a mixed menu with a range of special set menus that include raki, wine, salad and a main dish.

Midrange

MU'IIM Thalassografia (s 28310 52569; Kefalogian-nidon 33; mezedes €3.80-7.30) This excellent mezedopoleio is the place to watch the sunset and try some fine mezedes, as well as a few pastas and more hearty meals. It's a casual place with a breathtaking setting under the fortezza, taking in views over the sea. The grilled sardines are excellent, as are the creamy mushrooms.

Fanari 2831054849; Kefalogiannidon 15; mezedes €2.50-10) West of the Venetian harbour, this welcoming waterfront taverna serves good mezedes, fresh fish and Cretan cuisine. The bekri mezes (pork with wine and peppers) is excellent, or try the local speciality, apaki (smoked pork). The homemade wine is decent, too.

Castelvecchio (@ 28310 55163; Himaras 29; mains €7-16; S dinner only Jul & Aug, lunch & dinner Sep-Jun) The affable Valantis will make you really feel at home in the garden terrace of this family taverna located on the edge of the fortezza. Try the kleftiko (slow oven-baked lamb).

Lemonokipos 28310 57087; Ethnikis Antistaseos 100; mains €5.80-9) Dine among the lemon trees in the lovely courtyard of this well-respected taverna in the old quarter. It's good typical Cretan fare, with a decent range of vegetarian dishes and lots of tasty appetisers.

Also recommended is Othonas (§§ 28310 55500; Petihaki 27) for traditional Cretan food. It looks touristy on the outside but is decent. It's a member of Concred (p57) and uses quality produce.

Top End mil« Avli (@ 28310 26213; www.avli.com; cnrXanthoudidou 22 & Radamanthyos; mains €13.50-30). This former Venetian villa is the place for a romantic evening out, or at least one with maximum ambience. The nouveau-Cretan style food is superb and there's an idyllic garden courtyard bursting with pots of herbs, bou-gainvillea canopies, fruit trees and works of art. The sleek wine bar in the adjacent old stables boasts more than 400 Greek wines. They've also opened the more casual Raki Baraki (Radamanthyos 16) mezedes bar, with live music Thursday to Sunday.

Prima Plora 28310 24925; Akrotiriou 2, Koumbes; seafood mezedes €5.50-16) This stylish modern restaurant on the developing beachfront strip on the western side of town is worth the hike. It has an exceptional setting with tables right on the water near an old Venetian water pump with views of the fortezza. It has a sophisticated menu of top-quality seafood dishes such as prawn risotto, and uses organic vegetables.

ENTERTAINMENT Bars & Clubs

The bars and cafés along El Venizelou fill up on summer evenings with pink-skinned tourists nursing tropical drinks. Rethymno's livelier nightlife is concentrated around Nearhou and Salaminos near the Venetian harbour, as well as the waterfront bars off Plastira Square. Students frequent the lively rakadika (cafés serving carafes of raki or wine with mezedes) on Vernadou.

Fortezza Disco (Nearhou 20; S llpm-dawn) The town's veteran disco is big and flashy with three bars, a laser show and an international crowd that starts drifting in around midnight. Rock Club Café (§ 28310 31047; Petihaki 8; S 9pm-dawn) is one of Rethymno's classic hang-outs; tourists fills the club nightly.

Figaro (§ 28310 29431; Vernardou 21; |§11am-late) Housed in a cleverly restored old building, Figaro is an atmospheric 'art and music' all-day bar that attracts a subdued crowd.

Baja Beach Club (§ 28310 20333; Platanias) On the old highway east of the town, this massive beach bar is like a tropical paradise with palm trees and bars around a big pool. At night it morphs into a happening club. The turn-off is just before the bridge.

Cinemas

Asteria Cinema (§28310 22830; Mellssinou 21; tickets

€7; S 9pm) A small open-air cinema showing new-release movies.

SHOPPING

Rethymno's shopping strip is relatively compact, with an assortment of shops sell ing everything from souvenirs to high-end jewellery. You'll find better quality mainstream merchandise on Arkadiou. Colourful Souliou is crammed with little shops. The Thursday market on Dimitrakaki along the public gardens has fresh produce, clothing and odds and ends.

Omodamos (§ 28310 58763; www.omodamos.com; Souliou 3) The original ceramic designs in this shop are made by leading ceramicists from around Greece.

Zominthos (§ 28310 52673; Arkadiou 129) This shop has an eclectic selection of jewellery from contemporary Greek designers as well as some ceramics and sculptures.

En Hordais (§ 28310 29043; Varda Kalergi 38) This tiny store packed with handmade musical instruments is the place to get that Cretan lyra (a three-stringed instrument similar to a violin), bouzouki or other Greek musical instruments.

Silverhorse (§ 28310 51401; www.silverhorse.gr; Radamanthios 10) This place specialises in handmade belts, leather goods, saddles and other interesting leather paraphernalia, which it can make to order.

Avli Raw Materials (§28310 58228; Arabatzoglou 38-40) Foodies will love this store packed with a huge range of gourmet delights from around Greece, including an excellent selection of wine.

GETTING THERE & AWAY Boat

Note that some ferries leave from the port and others from the marina further east. AHEK (§ 28310 29221; www.anek.gr; Arkadiou 250) Ferry three times a week between Rethymno and Piraeus (€29,10 hours), leaving both Rethymno and Piraeus at 8pm. HEL LINES (§ 28310 24295; www.nel.gr) Runs a highspeed service between Rethymno and Piraeus (€57, five

SWEET TREATS

One of the last traditional filo masters in all of Greece, Yiorgos Hatziparaskos (§ 2831029488; Vernardou 30) still makes super-fine pastry by hand in his traditional workshop. The highlight is when he throws the dough into a giant bubble before stretching it over a huge table. His wife Katerina encourages passers-by to watch the spectacle and try some of best baklava and kataifi they will ever eat.

AtMona Liza (§ 2831023082; Paleologou 36), around the corner from the Loggia, NikosSkartsilakis is legendary for his 'crema' ice cream made from sheep's milk, as well as his excellent sweets. Try the galaktoboureko (custard pastries), the walnut pie, or vrahaki, chocolate with almonds.

Loukoumades, the donut-like concoctions with honey and cinnamon, have been perfected by Kanakakis 28310 22426; Plateia Martyron), just outside the Porto Guora, while locals swear by the ice cream at Meli (@ 28310 50847; S Venizelou 7) on the waterfront.

hours) daily from July to September (fourtimes a week May to June).

SeaJets (www.seajets.gr) Runs the Superjet catamaran high-speed service on Thursday and Saturday between Rethymno and Santorini (€37.90, two hours 40 minutes), los, Naxos and Mykonos (€58).

From the bus station (§ 28310 22212; Igoume-nou Gavriil) there are hourly summer services to both Hania (€6, one hour) and Iraklio (€6.50, l'/i hours). There are also six buses a day to Plakias (€3.50, one hour); six to Agia Galini (€5.30, Wi hours); three to Moni Arkadiou (€2.40, 40 minutes); two to Omalos (€11.90, two hours); two daily from Monday to Friday to Margarites (€3, 30 minutes); two daily Monday to Friday to Anogia (€4.50, 1)4 hours); and four to Prev-eli (€4, 1)4 hours). There are daily buses to Hora Sfakion via Vryses. Services are greatly reduced in the low season.

GETTING AROUND

Auto Motor Sports (§ 28310 24858; www.auto motosport.com.gr; Sofoklis Venizelou 48) rents cars and motorbikes.

+1 0

Post a comment