Details about Crete and Greece in general can be found on the website www.vacation.gr and for Rethymno at http://www.rethymno.gr/en/city. Also, general information about the University of Crete at Rethymno Campus are available. The Campus is located near GALLOS village (5 kilometres from Rethymno).
The Town of Rethymno
A beautiful, wide and endless sandy beach, picturesque little streets with old Venetian and Turkish houses, and the Venetian port and fortress make Rethymno one of the most attractive places for holidays in Greece. Rethymno combines the sea with the country, and is surrounded by mountains in the south. Its location, in about the middle of the northern coast of Crete, makes it a convenient starting point from which to visit most of the island’s beauties. Within thirty minutes to an hour, the traveller can visit lakes, archaeological sites, historic monasteries, charming villages, or the wild unspoiled beauty of the south, by public bus, organised tour, or car.
Population: About 30,000 inhabitants. Rethymno is the third largest town in Crete, after Heraklion and Chania.
Getting there and getting around: Taxis charge reasonably and can be found at their ranks, stopped on the street, or called by phone (+30 28310, 24000, 25000, 22316). They have meters, but prices are fixed for the most common of the destinations and should be checked before setting off. There are many agencies that rent cars, motorcycles, and bicycles.
Distances: From Heraklion 78km, from Chania 55km, from Agia Galini 59km, from Plakias 41km.
Tourist information: Information, maps and travel guides from the Tourist Support Office in Rethymno (Tel: +30 28310 29148).
Telephone: The town code is +30 28310. In Greece the telephone office (O.T.E., 28 P. Kountouriotiou Ave, daily 8 am – 10 pm) is separate from the post office. Phone calls from public phone stands or OTE‘s office, can be made only with phone cards (Tilekarta, € 3). Prepaid phone cards (Teledome, Vivodi, Smartalk, Talk Talk, Hronokarta, with prices from € 3 to € 10) can be bought at kiosks or mini markets, charge less and can be used from any fixed public or private tone phone. Phoning home is cheaper from 10 pm- 6 am on the weekdays and from 3 pm at Saturday till 6 am Monday (Greek time). Transferred calls can be operated through the operator, by dialling 161. Telegrams can be sent from OTE‘s office and faxes from OTE, travel agencies and hotels. Emergency: 100, Tourist Police: +30 28310 28156, Police department: +30 28310, 25247, First aid: 166.
Post office (ELTA): Two offices, at 21 Moatsou St. (main office) and at the beginning of Sof. Venizelou St. (department). (Mon – Sat 8 am – 8 pm). Post code: 741 00 Rethymno. Letter boxes are painted yellow and can be found in the most central locations. Stamps can be bought from the post offices or from kiosks and shops selling postcards and foreign newspapers, with a small premium being charged.
Medical treatment: There is a public hospital at Trandalidou St., near the south side of The Municipal Garden (tel. +30 29310 27491) and many private medical centers. There is always a pharmacy sopen from 8 am to 8 pm and another one from 8 pm to 8 am. Lists of these pharmacies, for each day, can be found on the window of any pharmacy.
Weather: Rethymno has a mild climate: in summer it is cooler than mainland Greece (average temperature is 26-30°C) and in winter much warmer (14-18°C). The maximum sea temperature in summer is 24°C and in winter 16°C.
When to visit: Mainly depends on the time that each person’s schedule permits, but many people can choose the period they prefer to take their holiday. Life and atmosphere in the town of Rethymno and on the whole island change with the season. The tourist season starts in mid-March and gets busier in April. The weather is warm enough, but there are not so many activities yet and the sea temperature is not so high. This is low season and accommodation prices are low. May, June and October are the middle season, the start and the end of summer. Many people prefer this period because the good weather permits them to do and see many things, it is not too busy, not too hot – except in June – the sea is warm and the nature takes on wonderful colours and smells. The period from July to the end of September is the high season, when the most people take their holiday and the town gets very busy. Availability in hotels is limited and prices are higher (prices in restaurants, museums and sights are the same during the whole year). This is the period with the most activities and the best weather. Mid-November till mid-March is the off-season and life slows down. Charter flights stop operating, the sea gets colder, rain comes, many shops – those working with tourism only – close, as do most of the hotels and sights.
History: The first signs of human life come from the Neolithic years, but the first settlement appeared during the last years of the Minoan civilization (1350-1100 BC). The ancient town, called Rithymna, developed during the classical years (470-323 BC) and after lost its prosperity. In 1204 AD Crete came under Venetian domination. The island was very important to Venice, due to its geographical location, in their merchant activity with the Peloponnesus, the islands of the Aegean Sea, the Arabic countries and India. During this period, the fortress and the defending walls were built to protect the town from the Turkish and Algerian pirates. There was economic growth and in the last years of the Venetian occupation many people could study at Italian universities, which led to the development of the arts – literature, theater, painting, architecture. The Cretan Renaissance flowered at this time and in 1561, the ViVi Academy, the first cultural corporation in Greece after the fall of the Byzantine Empire, was founded. In 1646, Rethymno was conquered by the Turks, the economy became agricultural and education ceased. After many revolutions, the town was occupied by the “Great Powers” and Rethymno was taken by Russia in 1898. Crete united with the rest of Greece in 1913 and from 1941-1944, the island was under German occupation. In the last 25 years, Rethymno has experienced significant growth in its economy through the development of tourism, and in culture through the establishment of the university.