Explore the west side of Crete by visiting the beautiful towns of Rethymno & Chania, featuring Venetian architecure. Visit the 16th century monastery of Arkadi or – for the most advenutrous –
hike the Samaria gorge.
THE TOWN OF CHANIA
Stand next to the picture-perfect lighthouse at the port, a 16th century Venetian construction. Walk among the impressive buildings and attractions: the Küçük Hasan mosque, the renovated Grand Arsenal, the Splanzia ruins and the Kum Kapi at Miaouli Beach. Lose yourself in the ambience of the aristocratic suburb of Halepa, with its neoclassical buildings that once hosted the consulates of the Great Powers.
The gorge of Samaria is situated in the National park of Samaria, in the White Mountains in West Crete. The gorge is 16 km long, starting at an altitude of 1,230m and taking you all the way down to the shores of the Libyan Sea in Aghia Roumeli (5-7 hours walk). The very narrow passage near the end of the gorge is often called the “Iron Gates” and it’s a breathtaking spot to be.
THE TOWN OF RETHYMNNO
The old town of Rethymnon is one of the best-preserved towns of the Renaissance. Lying in the heart of modern Rethymnon, it combines the oriental features of the Turkish period with renaissance-style Venetian architecture. The seafront promenade with its myriad cafes and bustling restaurants with a view of the sea and sandy shore is a perfect choice.
The Arkadi Monastery has a unique natural beauty and a prestigious history. This large fortified complex, built during the end of the period of Venetian rule, is one of the best known monasteries of Crete due to the Holocaust of 1866. This event is considered to be one of the most important in Cretan history and was the reason that Arkadi was designated by UNESCO as a European Freedom Monument.