Conquer the historical city of Rethymnon (just like many, many others before you). Hear tales of previous conquerors like the Byzantines, Venetians, and pirates (for real), and trace the footsteps of aristocrats, sultans, and warriors as you walk the winding streets of this fascinating city. See the colours and taste the flavours that only locals know!
Go beyond the guidebook and get to know the real Crete! You could read pages of history, but they won’t tell you the stories of Rethymnon like we’ll tell you – that’s a task best left up to locals. This walking tour of the old town of Rethymnon will show you the city the way locals see it. From the classic historical sites to the local craftsmen and vendors that make Rethymnon the city is, we’ll show you everything you need to understand the city the way the locals do.
Given Rethymnon’s long, rich, thousand-or-so years of history, it’s only appropriate that we kicking things off with a bit of this history. The city began to grow after it was conquered by the Venetians, evidence of which can be spotted throughout the city.
You can’t visit Rethymnon without admiring the iconography of the Orthodox church, which is where we’ll head first. Integral to the history of the island, you’ll hear how religion kept the Cretan culture alive despite many different conquerors, like the Venetians and the Byzantines.
From there, we’ll wind our way through Sabbionara, entering the old Ottoman district. Known for its impressive doorframes and mix of histories, here we’ll see the Mosque of Kara Mousha Pasha and St. Francesco Church (now the Byzantine Museum) alongside Venetian mansions, temples turned to mosques, and the “Turkish” school.
Next, it’s time to discover Crete through its incredible flavours. Learn the secrets of the famous Cretan diet, sampling local bites such as traditional koulouri, a sesame seeded bread ring (similar to Turkish simit), and cheese and olives (naturally), and sip some local wine (which has been cultivated here since 1600 BC!).
Moving on, we’ll continue our personal conquest of Rethymnon by venturing through the most noteworthy streets of the old city, checking out the most important monuments in the historical centre. Representing the cultural and aesthetic character of the city, Rethymnon’s fountains, historic homes, and the grand Fortezza are all integral parts of why Rethymnon is the way it is today.
It’s here that we’ll end our walking tour of Rethymnon, and it’s the perfect place to continue your walk through the city or enjoy the beautiful waterfront views. Your guide will be more than happy to make recommendations for what else you can do in the city, especially where to grab more food!