Rethymnon Tours & Excursions

What to visit outside the town of Rethymnon

A longer trip outside the town would include Arkadi, Eleftherna and Margarites, connected in a loop running into the hills southeast of town.

The monastery of Arkadi

This is the ultimate symbol of Cretan resistance to the Turks. In 1866, confronted by a force of 15,000 soldiers and thirty cannons, one thousand monks, women, children and villagers who had taken refuge there blew up the powder magazine and themselves rather than fall captive to the enemy. The monastery was restored according to the original 16th century plans after unification with Greece in 1913.

Ancient Eleftherna

Just 30km from Rethymno is a recently opened (2015) archeological site and museum. The birthplace of several notable poets, sculptors, and philosophers, the town of Ancient Eleftherna dates back to the 9th century BC and consists of ruins of a thriving Hellenistic settlement, Roman structures, a late Geometric cemetery, and an Early Christian basilica.

Margarites Pottery Village

It’s a quaint mountain village that is surrounded by natural beauty. There are various tales as to why the village is called Margarites, so you’ll have to choose which one you believe. The village is famous for its pottery that has been produced here for years!

The Preveli Monastery

The Preveli Monastery is located 37 km away from Rethymnon. It consists of two monasteries the Lower monastery (Kato Moni) which is abandoned but can still be visited and the Rear Monastery (Piso Moni) that is still in operation. On-site there is also a museum.

Preveli Beach

Hidden away below Preveli Monastery, which is 36 kilometres south of Rethymnon, this fine pebble beach lies at the mouth of a river and is backed by a lush palm grove. Visiting this beach is one of the top things to do in the area.

Ideon Cave

ideon cave zeus crete

Said to be the place where Zeus was raised, jump in your hire car and journey the 65.8 km from Rethymno up into the mountains. Ideon Cave is located at an altitude of 1,495 metres on the Eastern face of Mt Psiloritis, Crete’s highest mountain. Though not as impressive in terms of geology as other caves such as Sfentoni, Ideon Cave is impressive for its mythology and history as it was a sacred site until Roman times with many artefacts unearthed from the chambers.

Patsos Gorge

A place of cool, peaceful, tranquillity sits 18km from Rethymno. Be sure to have your trainers or hiking boots on to fully explore it as you’ll be crossing quaint wooden bridges, climbing rickety wooden ladders, and scrambling over rocks to reach the hidden caves and waterfalls. 

Psiloritis Mountain

psiloritis maountain crete

Rising 2,456 meters, Psiloritis (also known as Mount Ida) is the highest mountain on Crete and the second highest in Greece, after Olympus. The mountain is sacred to Greek mythology and Zeus, the King of the Gods, was supposedly born here. Ideal for hiking, there are several paths you can discover.