Things to do in Rethymno

With natural beauties, archeological sites, and sandy beaches, this Cretan town has something for everyone.

Our most recommended things to do in Rethymno

From Chania or Rethymno: Samariá Gorge Guided Hike

1. From Chania or Rethymno: Samariá Gorge Guided Hike

Embark on a guided hike in the Samariá Gorge on a day trip from Rethymno or Chania. Get your daily dose of exercise, enjoy the panoramic views and take a swim.  Discover the longest gorge in Europe, an area of stunning natural beauty. See its many flowers and herbs and the crystal-clear spring waters that flow from the mountains. Following an early morning pickup from the nearest point to your accommodation in Rethymno or Chania, travel through the mountains passing the plateau of Omalos. Arrive at some wooden stairs at the start of Samariá Gorge. You can opt to start the walk straight away or get some breakfast at the taverna before you begin. Hike for approximately 6-7 hours and experience the magnificent landscape on a 16-kilometer walk. Once you have finished the hike, there will be ample time for a swim and lunch at a taverna in Agia Roumeli.

From Rethymno: Half-Day Quad Bike Safari

2. From Rethymno: Half-Day Quad Bike Safari

Choose from a morning or afternoon Quad Bike safari, and benefit from a hotel pick-up from Rethymno, Bali, or Georgiopoulis. Journey to the base in Rethymno town and get kitted out with all the necessary equipment. Listen to a detailed briefing before you set off for some serious off-road fun. Journey up into the mountains of Maroulas, and head for the summit for a 10-minute break to take in the panoramic views. Then, continue on your bike for another 20 minutes to reach a spot where you can relax over coffee at a traditional kafeneion (Greek coffee house). Soak up the peace and quiet of Café Gidospito overlooking beautiful Lake Potami before making your way to the picturesque village of Prassies for a quick snack to refuel after your Quad Bike experience. Return to Rethymno and get dropped off at your hotel to relax and freshen up after your dusty adventure.

From Rethymno & Chania: Elafonisi Island Day Tour by Bus

3. From Rethymno & Chania: Elafonisi Island Day Tour by Bus

Ride in a comfortable coach through small traditional villages and typical Mediterranean scenery. See the rugged landscape around the Topolia Gorge and have a stop for coffee and refreshments. Arrive at Elafonissi beach. Here, you have four hours of free time to marvel at the different colors from the soft pink and white sand to the turquoise waters. As well as exploring the wonders of the beach, discover the small island. This lies just off the shore and you can reach it by strolling through the water. Both the beach and the island are protected wildlife areas of rare beauty and included in the Natura 2000 Protection Programme. 

From Rethymno/Chania: Day Trip to Preveli Palm Beach

4. From Rethymno/Chania: Day Trip to Preveli Palm Beach

Visit Preveli beach, the Kourtaliotiko gorge, and the resort village of Plakias on this tour with hotel pickup and drop-off in Rethymno or Chania. Cruise aboard a boat on the Libyan sea, swim in crystal-clear waters, and relax on a sandy beach.  Start your tour from your accommodation where your guide will meet you. Take a short scenic drive through to Damnoni beach where your personal boat driver awaits. Find yourself in Preveli after a short, picturesque boat ride. Enjoy a swim in the Libyan Sea at Preveli beach and feel free to explore the Kourtaliotiko gorge and marvel at the mountainous terrain. Connected to Preveli beach is a series of springs and waterfalls that lead into the gorge which can also be visited. Discover a mixture of sandy beaches, lush forest, and mountains. The next stop is the small resort of Plakias, situated near Souda Beach. Have free time go for lunch, swim or go shopping. Return to your accommodation on a route through the Kourtaliotiko gorge.

From Crete: Santorini Full-Day Tour by Boat

5. From Crete: Santorini Full-Day Tour by Boat

Visit Santorini on this full day-trip from the island of Crete. After pick-up from your hotel, head to the harbor and begin your sightseeing boat tour on the Cretan Sea. Upon arrival, see the white houses of Fira that lie high above the edge of the crater, and decide whether you would like to spend more time on this volcanic island. Wander the small town of Fira or visit the picturesque town of Oia. Enjoy the leisurely Greek lifestyle and visit a taverna or two. Relax on the beach, enjoy the day by the sea, and simply leave your cares behind.

From Rethymno/Chania: Imbros Gorge Hike

6. From Rethymno/Chania: Imbros Gorge Hike

Discover the Imbros Gorge, which runs parallel to the more famous Samaria Gorge. Although the Imbros Gorge is smaller, many people prefer to cross here because it offers a very different hiking experience than the Samaria Gorge. Hike 8.5 kilometers and discover the exquisite beauty of nature in this narrow passage and learn about the stunning rock formations. Hear about the legend of the two Greek brothers that the town of Imbros is named after. For many years, the Imbros Gorge served as part of the trail that connected the city of Chania to the Hora Sfakion village. Stroll through a piece of World War II history, as walk in the Gorge where thousands of British soldiers passed through after the Battle of Crete order to get to Egypt. After the hike, take a swim in the stunning refreshing Libyan sea. Eat lunch with the locals in the taverns. 

From Rethymno: Knossos & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

7. From Rethymno: Knossos & Heraklion Archaeological Museum

Following pick-up from your hotel in Rethymno, travel along the northern coast of Crete by comfortable bus. Make your way to the archaeological site of Knossos, where King Minos built his palace. Get a 2-hour guided tour of the monument, designed by Daedalus in such an intriguing way that no visitor was said to find their way out without the help of a guide! Journey through the incredible history of King Minos and the Minoan civilization, and hear about some of the legends of Crete at what was once the island's largest palace. Then, drive to the ancient city of Heraklion to take a guided tour of the Heraklion Archaeological Museum. Learn more about the island at what is considered to be one of the finest museums in the world dedicated to Minoan art with its many galleries of historic frescoes, jewelry, statues and more. Get some free time for coffee or lunch, and shop for souvenirs in the city center before the return journey to Rethymno. 

Rethymno: Pirate Boat Cruise with Swimming Stops

8. Rethymno: Pirate Boat Cruise with Swimming Stops

Boart the pirate-themed boat "Captain Hook" at marina port of Rethymnon. Set sail on a five-hour cruise and take some time for swimming, snorkeling, or simply admiring the beautiful views. Sail west and enjoy the views of the Venetian port of Rethymnon. Traveling along the coastline of Crete, pass Gerani Bay before the boat anchors at the Bay of Kevalas. Enjoy some time swimming or snorkeling from the boat for approximately one hour. Next, enjoy a light lunch of Greek salad , followed by more time for swimming and sunbathing. On the return leg of the journey, admire the views of the caves of Kefalas before returning to the harbor of Rethymnon.

Crete: Rethimno, Chania, and Kournas Lake Day Trip

9. Crete: Rethimno, Chania, and Kournas Lake Day Trip

The first stop is the town of Rethimno, the third biggest town in Crete west of Heraklion on the north coast of Crete. Here, archeological monuments of the Ottoman and Venetian eras co-exist. Enjoy a stroll in the alleys of the old town, a visit to the Turkish minarets and the Venetian fortresses, or a coffee at the magnificent harbor. The next stop is Chania town, the second largest town of Crete on the north coast west of Rethymno. The city of Chania is divided into the Old City, with the gorgeous harbor, and the New City, beyond its Venetian fortifications. The Old City is one of the most beautiful cities in the Mediterranean and is called “Venice of the East”. You can find Turkish minarets and mosques, Muslim neighborhoods, Venetian fortresses, dockyards, fountains, squares, arches, mansions, Loggia and the Lighthouse. Visit the famous Agora (market), which houses traditional little shops and taverns. The last stop of the day is Kournas lake, a beautiful habitat with natural freshwater, one of a kind in Crete. The whole area of Kournas is protected under 'Natura 2000', as it's a designated wetland. Vast greenery, steep cavities between hills, and rare species of fish and birds make Kournas the ideal place to enjoy an early afternoon walk.

Georgioupolis Full-Day Land Rover Safari Experience

10. Georgioupolis Full-Day Land Rover Safari Experience

Hop in a 4x4 vehicle for a full-day safari adventure and learn about Cretan traditions while indulging in delicious food. Tour the paradisical countryside and swim in the clear water of the South Cretan Sea. Climb to an altitude of 1,200 meters and experience the quietness of the White Mountains and Cretan dances in a fascinating landscape. Keep an eye out for vultures that will take your breath away with their imposing appearance. Visit an old village with a Byzantine Church and a café stocked with Cretan products, including herbs, raki, and honey. See a castle and swim in the pristine waters of the South Cretan Sea before heading to a tavern to try traditional dishes. Visit a family-owned winery and learn how wine is produced on the island. Discover the secrets of Creten olive oil at an old factory and learn how to identify various grades of olive oil. Step into the island's past with visits to historical museums.

Top sights in Rethymno

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What people are saying about Rethymno

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,862 reviews

The gorge was wonderful but the organisation was not smooth and caused stress. I received pick-up details 2 days after the trip! As I did not receive the email with additional info before the trip I wrote to customer support. No one ever answered. I contacted the local organisator via WhatsApp and again no reaction. I was lucky to call them 30 min before pick-up time and received directions where to go. Fortunately, we stayed close, otherwise, we could miss the trip...

Great trip on Arkadi monastery tour. Michalis was an excellent guide and host, sharing lots of interesting information about crete and its culture. The eBikes made the up hills easy, and the monastery was fascinating. After the monastery a long sweeping ride downhill through beautiful scenery, stopping for a delicious Cretan lunch at a taverna. An excellent day out and thoroughly recommended.

Had such a great time on this tour. First of all Nora was absolutely fantastic and her knowledge of Crete is also amazing! The olive oil tour and tasting was great along with the beautiful scenic wine tasting. The village lunch is also lovely! Make sure you're hungry as there is certainly a lot of great food :D This tour is well worth it and was a highlight of our trip. Alex and Lindsay xx

Went in october, temp perfect for walking, be prepared for a long day, our guide Kostos was brilliant, lovely taverna at the end of the walk, transfers and pickups were spot on.

Unbelievable hike! Gorgeous views and now as challenging as expected. Highly recommend but be prepared for a long, winding bus ride to and from.