seen a greater influx of tourists than perhaps anywhere else
on Crete, with the development of a whole series of large
hotels extending almost 10 km along the beach to the east. For
once, though, the middle of town has been spared, so that at
its heart Rethimno remains one of the most beautiful of
Crete's major cities. A wide sandy beach and palm-lined
promenade border a labyrinthine tangle of Venetian and Turkish
houses lining streets where many of the old men still dress
proudly in high boots, baggy trousers and black headscarves.
Medieval minarets lend an exotic air to the skyline, while
dominating everything from the west is the superbly preserved
outline of the fortress built by the Venetians after a series
of pirate raids had devastated the town. Rethymnon combines
the gentle scenery of the northern and southern coastlines
with the precipitous gorges of the Idi and White Mountains.
The main town, Rethymnon, on the northern coast, is an hour
and a half’s bus ride west from the airport. There is a
well-preserved Venetian fort behind the harbor and, like the
other large towns on the north coast, Venetian influence is
apparent in the architecture.
mountainous countryside lures those who are interested in
exploring on foot, whilst the historical aspect of the island
entices many to visit the variety of beautiful castles,
monasteries and archaeological sites, some of which are 500
years old. Most importantly, there is always the warm
friendliness of the Cretan people who may well invite you to
share a drink with them. Crete may become for you, as it has
for so many previous visitors, a special and endearing place
to be visited time and time again.