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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.
For History Enthusiasts
- A historic castle-turned-guesthouse, Casa Vitae's original Ottoman-Venetian architecture makes it one of the best places to stay in Rethymno for anyone wanting to really immerse themselves in the history of the place. As well as sleeping between ancient walls, and in some cases four poster beds, you're also only minutes from the archaeological museum, the fortress and the old Venetian harbour.
- The Veneto Hotel is another excellent choice for history buffs. Converted from a 14th Century Dominican priory, the common areas of the Veneto have wonderful exposed stone walls surrounding a beautiful arcaded courtyard where you'll find one of the town's top restaurants.
- For romantics the Rimondi Estate is one of the best places to stay in Rethymno. Luxurious, contemporary and comfortable, the collection of rooms range in size from rooms to suites to whole maisonettes - some with their own balconies and private hot tubs. You don't need to splash out though, there's a wonderful spa and rooftop pool area.
- The Avli Lounge Apartments are an excellent choice if you're a unique boutique hotel type person. This isn't just boutique, it's eclectic luxury with plenty of personalised charm and one of the best restaurants in town.
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.
- The Mythos Suites is a gem for families who want to self cater. Though you may find you don't need to use the small kitchens as much as you thought - the breakfast spread here is amazing. Friendly, clean, light and close to the highlights, this is easily one of the best places to stayin Rethymno for families.
- If your family needs a bit more space than you'll find in your average hotel room, the Kapsaliana Village Hotel is a great find - it's a rustic old farmhouse set amongst olive groves, with a welcoming pool, beautiful views and all mod. cons.. Most rooms have their own private terrace, the restaurant serves delicious regional meals, and you have your pick of beautiful sandy beaches just a short drive away.
Best Hotels in Rethymno
Casa Vitae 8 rooms from $77Rethymno
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.Value chic - A stylishly renovated old Venetian castle house, central and great value.Sights nearby - Minutes away from the archaeological museum, Venetian harbour and FortessaSailing - Can be booked nearby.Fishing - Excellent fishing nearby.
Veneto Hotel 10 rooms from $78Rethymno
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.Foodies - Noted for it's fine Cretan cuisine and excellent wine listSights nearby - Located in the heart of Rethymno's Old Town, don't miss the Venetian harbour.Cooking classes - Learn the art of Cretan cuisineLocal markets - Good for local colour.
Swell Boutique Hotel 28 rooms from $84Rethymno 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.Local exploring - Moments away from the city with all important historical sights and supermarkets, restaurants and barsBeach Life - A beachfront hotel. Every room comes with a balcony/sit-out terrace with views of the Cretan Sea.Romantic Break - Elegantly decorated rooms with balconies, in-room dining and some with hot-tubsLocal markets - Several shops within walking distance from the hotel
Rimondi Estate 21 rooms from $103Rethymno
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.Romantic Break - In the romantic Venetian quarter of Rethymno with an interior to matchSwimming Pool - Heated outdoor pool with palms on the fringes.Sights nearby - Situated in Rethymno Old TownSpa - Turkish bath available too.Recommended by - Tablet, Small Luxury Hotels
Avli Lounge Apartments 12 rooms from $115Rethymno
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.Romantic Break - Beautifully romantic rooms & suites, Unique hot tub on the roof terraceLuxury - Truly spoiling with attention to detailFoodies - Acclaimed restaurant.Sights nearby - Walk around the old Venetian harbour with the well preserved Fortezza Castle.Recommended by - I Escape
Mythos Suites 15 rooms from $125Rethymno (Crete)
This boutique self-catering setup is a peaceful and friendly haven in the heart of Rethymno. Light and comfortable rooms have private balconies, small kitchens and access to lovely breakfasts. Enjoy the small pool and being near the hub of the town.Value chic - This charming ivy covered hotel is great value for money, with airy, chic rooms boasting private balconies and courtyard pool.Sights nearby - Be sure to check out the historic and impressive Venetian Fortress, within a few minutes walk of the hotel.Swimming Pool - Stunning outdoor poolSeaside - Ideal for a seaside holiday.
White Palace 237 rooms from $302Rethymno
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.Families - There is a popular kid's club allowing grown ups some fun of their ownRomantic Break - Utterly chic interiors with sea views - great for a romantic getawayDiving - The nearby diving school offers private lessonsGreat walks - Wander down to the Venetian Harbour
Caramel Boutique Resort 69 rooms from $343Rethymno
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.Swimming Pool - Outdoor "confetti" pool - Large seawater pool with Jacuzzi, lily-pad designer sun loungers, day beds.Sights nearby - Just minutes from Rethymno's ancient Venetian HarbourKids Club - The hotel has plenty to keep all ages occupied.Spa - Elixir Spa and ayurvedic treaments