Repeat visitors confirm the words of the poet:
”Rethymno is not a place where you go to, but a place where you return.”
Rethymno is a city of approximately 40,000 people and it was built in antiquity (ancient Rhithymna and Arsinoe), strong enough to produce its own coins and maintain urban growth. One of these coins is today depicted as the crest of the town with two dolphins in a circle.
Rethymno itself began a period of growth when the Venetian conquerors of the island decided to put an intermediate commercial station between Heraklion and Chania, acquiring its own bishop and nobility in the process. Today's old town is almost entirely built by the Venetians. It is one of the best-preserved old towns in Crete.
This city and its villages are compared to live postcards, pervaded by the aroma of Cretan cuisine and the sound of the Cretan lyre.
Kournas Lake is the only freshwater lake in Crete. The lake has been created by the accumulation of groundwater coming from the White Mountains. The water gushes from a spring called Amati or Mati (meaning “eye” in Greek).
Kournas is surrounded by hills, ideal place for an afternoon walk or a quite relaxing coffee break.
Lake Kournas and its surroundings constitute a very important ecosystem for Greece. Kournas is one of the very few areas of Crete where plenty of fresh water is stored throughout the year. For this reason, it is protected under the Natura 2000 program.
Argyroupoli is the site of the ancient city polis of Lappa, which became known in the Middle Ages as Stimpolis ("in the city"), later simply Polis.
It was taken by storm and almost entirely destroyed by the Romans. It is a beautiful village that nestles in the hills east of Rethymnon and is also a Minoan site.
Argiropoli is also famous for gashing springs and waterfalls, which accounts for the abundance of green flora.
Arkadi Monastery is one of the most important and famous monasteries of Crete, Arkadi, situated on the north western edge of a small plateau with open views towards the hills and the sea in the north. It is believed that it was founded before the 14th Century by a monk named Arkadio.
When the resistance against the Turks began to spread it became a refuge for the freedom fighters, a storeroom for provisions and munitions and inevitable, a target for the Turks. Moreover, in 1866 when the Cretan Revolution was proclaimed, the leaders of the revolt gathered here to plan their uprising. Rather then surrender to the Turks, the blew themselves out.
Margaritas Village is well known for its handmade pottery. The tradition of pottery goes back many generations in this village. The village has extraordinary architecture and lovely narrow winding streets, full of margarita flowers.