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.

Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvoussa Island & Balos Lagoon

3. Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvoussa Island & Balos Lagoon

Set off on a day trip by bus and boat to the magnificent Balos Lagoon and the Gramvousa island, on the northwestern coast of Crete. Travel by air-conditioned bus to the port of Kissamos and board the boat for a cruise with swim stops and a visit to a castle. After an early morning pickup near your hotel, sit back and relax as you pass through beautiful scenery to get to the Port of Kissamos. There, you'll pay for the cruise and board the boat which will take you in the sea for about an hour till you reach Gramvousa island. Once at Gramvousa, you'll have 1.5 hours of free time to explore the Venetian Fortress which offers breathtaking views from the top. Otherwise, you can stay on the boat to take advantage of the bar restaurant or you can relax at the beachside. Afterward, the boat will continue for about 20 minutes to reach the Balos Lagoon. There, you'll have 2.5 hours of free time on the beach. Swim, snorkel, sunbathe and explore the dunes in the background. In the afternoon, the boat will begin the cruise back to Kissamos and from there you will be driven back to your Hotel area in Rethymno.

From Rethymno: Elafonissi Pink Sand Beach Tour

4. From Rethymno: Elafonissi Pink Sand Beach Tour

Visit one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. Elafonissi is truly a heaven on earth, with soft white/pink sand, exotic crystal-clear water and cedar trees that extend down to the coastline. It is located in the easily accessible, south-western side of Crete. Get picked up from your hotel area in the morning. Stop for a short break is the Aghia Sophia cave. Visit the cave, and have coffee or refreshments if you choose. Following this, depart for Elafonissi. On your way, see small traditional villages combined with typical Mediterranean scenery, along with the rugged landscape around the Topolia Gorge. Once you reach Elafonissi, have 4 hours of free time to soak in the amazing sun and enjoy the spectrum of shades of blue that this beach has to offer. At the end of your tour, return to your accommodation in Crete.

Rethymno: Pirate Boat Cruise with Swimming Stops

5. 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.

From Crete: Santorini Full-Day Tour by Boat

6. 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: Elafonisi Island Day Tour by Bus

7. 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. 

Rethymno: Old Town Walking Tour with Meal & Phyllo Workshop

8. Rethymno: Old Town Walking Tour with Meal & Phyllo Workshop

Take your taste buds on a journey on this guided walking tour of Rethymno's Old Town. Eat like a local as you step into a local café for breakfast. Learn how to taste honey, olive oil and raki like a Cretan. Uncover the secrets to making paper-thin phyllo. Have a feast under a lemon tree.  Start you tour at a Greek style kafeneio café in the heart of the city. Sit down in a square next to a running fountain and orange trees. Indulge in an authentic Cretan breakfast of a traditional Greek coffee or fresh juice and a handmade sfakianopita cheese pie coated with a layer of handmade jam. During breakfast, discuss the historical sites on your tour, the local traditions and customs, and how all these are connected to Cretan gastronomy. Learn how to distinguishing between high and low quality honey, olive oil, and raki with a tasting experience. Make your way to a 17th-century Venetian mansion house of Yorgos Hatziparaschos who has been making phyllo dough by hand for over 63 years. Be memorized by how the simple ingredients of flour, water, and salt are masterfully worked into the thin dough used in Greek desserts like baklava. Continue to a restaurant hidden in an Ottoman-style inner garden. Feast on Cretan meal under the lemon trees. Savor traditional dishes, cooked with fresh local ingredients and served in a stylish, modern way. Reflect on how the past connects with modern Cretan life with your host. End your tour at your meeting point.

From Rethymno/Chania: Day Trip to Preveli Palm Beach

9. 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.

Rethymno: Wine and Olive Oil Tasting Tour with Village Lunch

10. Rethymno: Wine and Olive Oil Tasting Tour with Village Lunch

Learn about traditional Cretan olive oil and wine on this tasting tour through the island of Crete. Begin your tour at the Kanakis olive oil mill, and learn all about the process of making olive oil. Hear experts describe the steps of production and afterward, enjoy a taste of their exquisite virgin olive oil. Continue on to one of the best wineries of the region, Dourakis Winery. There, enjoy a half-hour guided tour to learn about the history, tradition, and production of Cretan wine. After the tour, move to the wine tasting room, where you can taste up to five types of Cretan wine. Finally, end the tour with a visit to either the village of Nipos or Vryses (depending on the weather and the day). Both villages offer up beautiful natural views alongside a traditional delicious lunch.

Top sights in Rethymno

Frequently asked questions about Rethymno

What top attractions are a must-see in Rethymno?

The must-see attractions in Rethymno are:

What are the best indoor activities in Rethymno for rainy days?

What are the best inexpensive tours in Rethymno?

Other Sightseeing Options in Rethymno

Want to discover all there is to do in Rethymno? Click here for a full list.

What people are saying about Rethymno

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 4,862 reviews

Our guide Kostos made the tour informative, fun, interesting and very enjoyable . His knowledge of local and country history, architecture and Greek mythology , traditions of Creten life, families / communities helped us appreciate and enjoy our time here all the more. The food was amazing , we will buy honey and olive oil with knowledge now and of course the sampling of local alcohol . We thoroughly recommend this tour to add depth and fun to your holiday in Rethymno . Brilliant fun

Such great value for money. I was actually booked onto a similar tour with another company that was cancelled and I am so glad that it was. Anastasia and Costas were amazing tour guides. Anastasia has so much knowledge of the history of the island and Costas provides insight into the local culture (I don't want to ruin any surprises).

Anastasia and Costas were fantastic tour guides. There were good amounts of time at each location and a great combination for a day trip.

Very well organised. Very friendly. Safe drive to our locations. Fun and well priced.

Wonderful experience for my husband and daughter .