Friday, March 2, 2012

Rethymnon Crete

Many travelers miss out on Rethymno’s lovely Old Town and Venetian port, soaking up the waterfront ambiance in Hania instead. But Rethymno has just as much charm as its larger neighbor, with a Venetian fortress, pretty harbor and Turkish quarter of winding lanes and wooden Ottoman houses. Minoans also settled in this part of Crete, but it owes its grandeur to the Venetian period (1210 to 1645). Wander around and admire Venetian monuments like the 16th-century loggia, Great Gate and wall remnants. A highlight of the Old Town is the Rimondi Fountain, with water spouting from the heads of lions. Several lovely mosques are a reminder of the town’s Ottoman past. The town also has several notable museums, exhibiting antique relics like statues and coins, folk art weaving and Byzantine artworks. Rethymno has a youthful university population, and its waterfront bars and Venetian harbor clubs get particularly lively at night. Several rural walks lead into the hinterland from Rethymno, and diving is also popular.

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