Third largest, but arguably the most charming, town on Crete, Rethymno has preserved its Venetian and Ottoman treasures well. And is also beside a very long, very sandy and very beautiful beach. Many of our selection of the best places to stay in Rethymno are an easy stroll from both the sand and the sights.
The long beach attracts carefree sun-lovers, and there are plenty of resort hotels to choose from, but within the Old Town are some truly wonderful old hotel conversions - some of the best places to stay in Rethymno - which provide a fitting base for explorations into the history and culture of this romantic old girl.
The Fortrezza dominates the town - and also offers a suitably photogenic backdrop - and below that pedestrianised streets wind between minaret-topped mosques and Venetian style townhouses and palazzos. It's a nice idea to head up to the Fortrezza as your first port of call on arrival, as it's a great place to get the lay of the town and plan your visit. While you're there visit the archaeological museum, the Venetian Loggia, the church, stroll the walls and gaze out to sea…
The old Venetian harbour is a good place to sit down for a coffee, or a meal. Visit the Folklore Museum to find out a bit more about the folks who've lived in these parts - and next door there's an old bakery where you can see traditional fyllo pastry being made.
Arkadi Monastery is a short drive east, famous for its ossuary and museum, and just beyond that is Eleftherna, an important archaeological site inhabited from ancient times right up until the Byzantine era.
Rethymno is small enough to begin to feel familiar, yet large enough so that you're constantly coming across something new. If you have a car there are some lovely little villages in both directions up and down the coast. Anogia is one of the most famous and most traditionally Cretan.
As well as the beaches there are plenty of great places to take your kids walking around Rethymno, and on Thursday it's worth staying in town for the weekly market.
There are some excellent local sights if you want to take a day trip or two - your kids might be interested in the grizzly tale of what happened in the cave just outside Melidoni village, or of the Cretan resistance at Arkadi Monastery.
A historic castle guesthouse with original Ottoman-Venetian architecture. Traditional rooms and suites have wooden floors, stone walls, and four poster beds. A romantic choice, full of character, great value, and walking distance to beaches, restaurants and museums.
A gorgeous rustic hotel with a fantastic restaurant. Suites and studios (with fridges) have stone walls, wooden beams and cast iron beds. Lovely balconied courtyard and lots of charm. A quaint spot for foodies or romantic breaks.
Rethymno 741 00
One bedroom suites come with a separate living room and offer great views over the ocean. Interiors are chic, contemporary and comfortable. There is a smart restaurant and bar. Free wifi throughout and an outdoor pool area with terrace. A classy, modern hotel.
A luxury contemporary classic hotel moments from the beach. A collection of stylish rooms, suites and maisonettes all with lots of natural light, some with private hot tubs, balconies and big open spaces. Wonderful spa and roof top pool area. A romantic spot, yet very family friendly.
Exceptionally luxurious boutique hotel with an award-winning restaurant and beautiful rooms. Romantic rooms and suites meld rustic chic with modern art. Eclectic living areas and fabulous food. Romantic, gourmet, lots to do around.
This boutique self-catering setup is a peaceful and friendly haven in the heart of Rethymnon. Light and comfortable rooms have private balconies, small kitchens and access to lovely breakfasts. Enjoy the small pool and the closeness to the action.
Luxury resort with lots to offer families with children of all ages, but not overrun by kids. On a long stretch of sandy best close to Rethymnon – Crete's cutest town - Caramel is around an hour from Heraklion and Chania airports.
White on white interiors with accents of sea blue. Utterly chic. The former grande dame of the 'Cretan Riviera' has been given a full make-over, a new title, and a bigger, grander choice of accommodation, dining and entertainment options that seem to please couples and families from all over Europe.