Crete - Rethimno

The winds on the northern coast of Crete are mostly from W or N or NW, so it can be a pretty hard work to sail and tack, when one sails from E to W. But the distances between the harbours make it possible to sail in daily stretches from Sitia to Aghios Nikolaos, from there to Heraklio or the island of Dia, next port is Rethimno. One can sail further to Chania and the westcoast of Crete, or sail W to Ionian sea and Italy or NW to Peleponnes or N to Cyclades islands like Milos, Santorin(Thira) or central aegaean sea. Every day made more W gives a better chance for a fantastic trip on the wind or wind abeam to the next N or NE harbour. Even a Meltemi will not be too strong, mostly, because it allows nice routes to sail 80 - 90 nm!

But Crete alone is worth the sportive action, because Rethimno (and further west Chania) are the most beautiful cities of that splendid island of ancient greek gods! As well, the more one comes westerly, the big "White Mountains" make the scenery, snowy in autumn, winter and springtime, while people are enjoying their watersports down on the sea already (or still)!

Rethimno is a university town housing social sciences. The student´s life must be one of the most enjoying in the world, because in Rethimno one of the longest and most beautiful sandy beaches start strecthcih miles to the east, and one can find all kinds of watersports from Surfing, Kitesurfing, waterski, Jetski, Parasailing and more!

The beaches close to town are packed, of course, but only a few km outside, one can have a big space on the beach, there are several beach bars serving food and drinks and music.


Rethimno Crete Hafenansicht Stadtansicht Panorama Rethimnion
To zoom to big, click on that foto

Descriptions in several sailor´s handbooks are not updated mostly, so the description here might help. In the outer harbour the big cruising ships and ferryboats go alongside. Here it is not recommended to go alongside as well (as described in some books!)
Better sail bb and enter the new Marina port with swimming pontoons, which is very well prevented from everything, that can make a harbour stay inconvenient!
Theer are moorings, but in the front area everybody drops his anchor and in the inner section, the boats are alongside (in 2005).
There is water and electricity, however, maybe one needs a long tube or cable to connect.
The harbour area is open to the public, but that is only to manage the parking cars and visitors to the small market happening once or twice a week.

Many cretan people come for fishing, and unfortunately as well some young guys with noisy motorbikes - but in southern mediterranean countries, that is unavoidable.

Anyway: even, when people are friendly, it is recommended to lock the boat when you leave it, and take thinks like fishing rods and other valuables away.

The town of Rethimno is alive in summer and in wintertime, there is a big University of philological and social-sciences, and by that reason, there are many young people.
Close to the harbour one can find all kinds of shops, markets, car and bike-rentals.
In summertime, the marbour-quais are closed in teh evenings for motortraffic, and it becomes a pedestrian area with many, many bars, restaurants, cafes and tourist-shops.

The old venetian harbour is indicated with an old tower, and on it´s foot is the office of the Port Police. The venetian jharbour is very nice and gives the imagination of typical greek harbour life, but the restaurants there are tourist traps. They are hazzeling for clients, and rip you off.

We tried to give one of them a chance, sat down, and waited after ordering about 45 minutes until a really bad made and tasting fish was brought. WE ate it, because we were very hungry, but then they asked us to pay 68 € for the fish alone!!! When we complained, they said, the fish was 1.2 kg - I would estimate the fish was not more than 600-700g! Then, surprise, surprise, when I threatened them with report to Crete´s tourist board, they reduced the price to 48 €, which was still a ripoff, but we accepted, because we did not want to argument there anymore. Their excuse: "Sorry, I took the wrong bill...."

That was - of course - only ONE of about 15 restaurants there, and not all of them will be such tourist trap, maybe... if you want to enjoy dinner in the nice atmosphere of the old venetian harbour of Rethimno, we recommend to be carefull!
Best is, to ask a local for a personal recommendation, greet the owner with name from this person! Good trick: find out the mayor´s name (or another important local), and ask for the owner, to greet him from this VIP. Surely, you will get a very good service ;-))

At the end of the harbour there are several chic Bars full with young people, see and be seen...

Very good is a brochure, wer received from a guy in one of the small streets.
READ - Rethimno Guide

This brochure is free and has very usefull recommendations, especially some very nice restaurants, that one might not find easily!!

The Old TOWN of Rethimno is a net of small alleys full with small shops, bars, restaurants, and one can sit here with a cup of coffe or a good meal in greek atmosphere enjoying the passing people!

Thanks to READ we found a restaurant in the Old Town, which was extrenely good and made us like Rethimno again (after the desater the day before ;-)
AVLI is in a small lane (corner of 22 Xanthoudidou & Rathmananthios Str).
A really beautiful restaurants with a georgeous gardn and real nice decoration! We recommend to make a reservation (Tel. +30 28310 26213)
Servants are very professional, friendly and very attentive!
The food was not cheap, but worth evey cent!
And to get a good wine, we were served by a professional Sommeliere, who did offer us a bottle of excellent wine for 22 Euros... for us the wine tasted excellent, but a vine-enthusiast might expect more: the vine-card has a range of many, many international vines up to several hundred Euros!
For sure, we will go there again, when we are in Rethimno next time!

Another very beatiful decorated place is Erofili to the catholoc church (Melissinou Street) with as well a very nice terrace and a menue, that sounded very interesting! Unfortunately we could not try it, because we had to leave Rethimno, but as we heard, this place is recommendable as well!

However: here we could see, that it is not necessary to eat the "greek standards" like Moussakka, Tsatziki, Saganaki and burned fish all the time in Tavernas. More and more good restaurants make it possible to eat greek dishes with more style and in variety ( elsewhere as well, as we know from Symi and Rhodes or Mykonos)

After all that dishes, the visit of a historical site should not be forgotten!
The Rethimno Kastro called Fortezza.
It is open daily, and one can visit it in the daytime as well, because there are some areas in the shadow.

Rethimno Crete Kastro Fortezza Crete
Some of the buildings were restorated, and others are in the process of rebuilding - very interesting to see that!

Fortezza Kstro Rethimno Crete Moschee
Moschee from osmanic times

Rethimno Crete Fortezza resaturiertes Gebäude
former northern entry


Entrance fee is 3,50 € p.p. and one gets a good impression of life and architecture in former times. In the mosque, one can see the easterly directed prayer-corner, unfortunately some stupid people smear their tags on the walls. Beautiful as well is the ceiling´s mosaiques. The view over the bay of Rethimno is another reason to visit the Kastro.

view from sea Fortezza Rethimno Crete Kastro Greece

Please note: 
Sailors leaving Rethimno to Chania (or coming from there) shall listen carefully to Channel 16. There are often military trainings northerly of Chersonisos Akrotiri. Unfortunately the information is not always given from the Port Police. Boats on this courses are asked by the Coast Guard to change course and wait in the bay close to the entrance of Souda bay until the trainings and shootings are over.

Another danger is the VERY SHALLOW area northerly of the cape of Akrotiri - it is REALLY shallow there!

Choose your next destination
Crete-Sitia  (95 nm)  Crete-Agios Nikolaos (85 nm)   Crete-Heraklion oder die Insel Dia   (30 nm) 

Crete-Chania (35 sm) 

Santorin (80 nm)      Amorgos (100 nm)     Milos (85 nm)

This information is provided by   Yachts for charter



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