If you are visiting one of the man cities of Crete; Iraklion or Chania, and you want to explore an ancient Minoan town in close proximity to some of Crete’s best beaches, then consider a day trip to Rethymno.
Rethymno is easy to get to by bus from either major city. Several buses depart daily, and the trip will take you an hour from Chania or one and a half hours from Iraklion.
The sights of Rethymno can all easily be discovered on foot. The bus station is just outside the walls of the hill side city, and it is only a short walk along the sea wall to reach the old quarter of the city.
Start your day in Rethymno by walking along the sunny sea wall from Rethymno Bus Station to the Fortezza Castle overlooking the city. The Fortress was built in the 16th century and visitors are free to wander and explore the grounds. Many of the buildings have not been restored, and I found myself more drawn to the incredible views of the mountains, the city and the shore more than the ruins.
After visiting the Fortress, wander down to the old town of Rethymno. Most of the buildings here are from the 16th century, and the architecture blends the Minoan, Venetian and Ottoman past. This is a great place to stop for lunch.
After a quick lunch, continue towards the Venetian Harbour. Grab a drink in one of the many tavernas, sit back, relax, and watch the boats sail past the beautiful lighthouse.
When you are ready to head home, just head back towards the bus station. Buses depart several times daily to both Chania and Iraklion.