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Crete Area Information

Rethymnon, West Crete

The third largest town in Crete with approx. 30,000 inhabitants is, like Chania, much influenced by its Venetian occupation. In early Christian times the place was sparsely populated but the Venetians shaped the town with the construction of the enormous fortress, Fortezza Castle. Today Rethymnon is a mixture of Cretan, Turkish and Venetian elements and competes with Chania, the former seat of government. Rethymnon has a very long beach (12km) primarily of sand. There is a lot of ship traffic in the harbour and during the season there are mini cruises to Santorin which take four hours one way.

The old Venetian harbour is the heart of the old town. There is one tavern after the other and colourful fishing boats to see. The way to the crooked alleyways of the old town starts here. Large wooden balconies decorate houses which stem from Turkish times and marble blocks with arabic inscriptions adorn other buildings. There are small individual hotels in Rethymnon, former patrician houses which have been lovingly restored and fitted out to the last detail.

Parking is difficult and a matter of luck. It is best to try along the town beach or the west access road to the fortress. Meaningful souvenirs are to be found in small spice shops; pottery shops and a good quality olive oil in any supermarket. Leather goods and jewellery are also in abundance. A day trip should include the fortress with a wonderful view of the town and and a walk through the old town

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