RETHYMNON FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Rethymnon is located 45 miles east of Chania and 50 miles west of Heraklion. While Rethymnon itself lacks an airport, it is only about one hour from the Chania airport and one hour and 30 minutes from the Heraklion airport. If you are not renting a car, then the KTEL bus line (tel. 28310/22-212) provides service to and from Chania and Heraklion approximately every 30 minutes from early in the morning until midevening. In high season, buses depart Rethymnon as late as 10pm. The fare is about 15€ round trip. The station is located at Akti Kefaloyianithon, at the city's western edge. Of course you can hire a taxi as well.

How do I get from the port to my hotel?

Rethymnon has its own ship line, which offers direct daily trips to and from Athens-Piraeus with a journey time of about ten hours.

When do the hydrofoils operate between the islands?

Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Timetables change according to seasonal demand and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. That being said, ferries/hydrofoils for the Greek Islands only operate between May and September due to annual weather changes including rough seas and high winds. For travel beyond these months, your itinerary will include transportation by flight between the islands.

Note: The Athens airport authority advises you to allow a minimum of 45 minutes to make a flight connection; which should be adequate if you arrive and depart from the main terminal and do not have to clear Customs. Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes if you have to clear Customs or if you arrive or depart from the satellite terminal. At present, many charter flights use the satellite terminal.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

There are several options for getting around Crete, including public buses, taxis, rental cars and mopeds, but Rethymnon is a walker's town. The sights you'll want to see around town are never more than a 20 minute walk. The KTEL bus line (tel. 28310/22-212) offers frequent service to and from Heraklion and Chania, approximately every 30 minutes from early in the morning until midevening. In high season, buses depart Rethymnon as late as 10pm. The fare is about 15€ round trip. The station is located at Akti Kefaloyianithon, at the city's western edge so allow an extra ten minutes to get there.

Where can I rent a motorcycle in Rethymnon?

One of the most popular means of getting around the island is by moped or motorcycle. Unfortunately, the quality of paved roads is not always good as road surfaces are affected by a number of factors including floods and rock falls in winter and extreme heat in summer. Pot holes and loose gravel surfaces are very common as a result. This makes some roads particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. It's a good idea to check the brakes and steering before you ride off. Greek law now requires wearing a helmet, but not all agents supply one. Also, be sure to get full insurance and get a phone number, in case of breakdown.

Warning: Beware of the heat (sunstroke) and take plenty of water with you!

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Although taxis are available, the sights you'll want to see around Rethymnon are never more than a 20 minute walk. Taxis are quite cheap in Greece, so they can be considered a very convenient way of moving around in Crete. Taxi fare structures are the same all over Greece and they are regulated by the Greek State. In cities and larger towns, drivers MUST use the meter. Taxi drivers in Crete are slightly better than some parts of the world, however it is recommended that you protect yourself from overcharging by knowing the going rate for the trip you want and agreeing on the fare before you take off.

Should I rent a car on Crete?

The best way to get around Crete is by car as it will provide the most freedom and comfort for travel. Driving in Greece, and driving in Crete, in particular, might seem a daunting prospect at first, but provided you take appropriate care your trips will be safe and result in enormous pleasure. The island is 162 by 38 miles, so it is a large island. If you plan to do a lot of exploring, keep in mind that narrow winding roads can often mean that journey times are longer than might be expected from distances calculated from a map. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid spending excessive amounts of time behind the wheel. You can rent a car in any major city as well as at the Heraklion International Airport and the Chania International Airport.

Many visitors come to Rethymnon by car, taking the highway from Heraklion (about 50 miles) or Chania (45 miles). There is a public parking lot at Plateia Plastira, at the far western edge, just outside the old harbor, which is best approached via the main east-west road along the south edge of the town. However, unless you plan to explore the countryside, taking the bus there might be the best way to go from either of those other cities since bringing a car into Rethymnon's maze of streets and alleys is nearly impossible and more trouble than it's worth.

Please Note: If you park in a no-parking area, the police will remove your license plates, and you, not the car rental office, will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back!

Warning: Drive with caution, especially at night, when you will undoubtedly be sharing the roads with motorists returning from an evening of drinking.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Greece is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Several banks in both the old town and the new city have ATMs and currency exchange machines. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Greece by clicking here.

I don't speak Greek. Will many people speak English?

English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. Greeks do have great regard for those that try to speak Greek so it is a good idea to learn a few phrases. We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is Greek food like? What is the standard for tipping?

Greek food comes in many shapes, forms and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied! Crete has its own culinary specilaties and eating customs. Learn all about food in Crete so you know what to eat and what to drink when dining out; and don't be afraid to sample the best each area has to offer.

A service charge of 15 percent is usually included in the bill, but if service is good, then it is customary to leave 10 percent.

Where can I buy necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Most villages have small markets where you can buy water and food and other household items. Greek pharmacies are usually excellent with a qualified doctor or medic on staff (who usually speaks some English), but medicines can be more expensive than at home.

What are the best beaches in Rethymnon?

Crete is the largest island of Greece and its 650 miles of coastline provide hundreds of beautiful beaches that are famous for their crystal blue waters and relaxing atmosphere. Crete is very popular in the summer due to its mild climate, gorgeous beaches and the traditional lifestyle of the locals. No matter which region of the island you are visiting, you will certainly find the best beach for your holiday - small or large, organized or secluded - all of Crete's beaches have something special to offer and are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Please visit our dedicated page on Rethymnon's beaches for more information.

Please note: It is common for women to go topless on beaches. And while public nudity is illegal in Greece, every island has at least one beach where nudity is allowed.

What are the most popular clubs in Rethymnon? Where are they located?

Crete offers a little bit of something for everyone in terms of its nightlife. Rethymnon's sophisticated nightlife can be found in town at the old harbor, with a variety of beach bars and clubs. The town also hosts a Renaissance Festival in July and August with ancient Greek dramas, folk and rock concerts, films and art exhibitions. Many of the performances take place in the magnificent setting of the 16th century Fortezza - the massive Venetian fortress at the western edge of Rethymnon. Additionally, there is an annual wine festival in July, which takes place in the Public Gardens and involves music, dancing and sampling of local wines.

What else is there to do in Rethymnon?

There is more to Rethymnon than its nightlife and beaches! With Crete's rich history and Rethymnon's quaint villages and other attractions, there is plenty to keep you busy! You will also find a wide variety of other activities like walking trails, winery tours, scuba diving, boat tours and ferry excursions.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities on Crete! The best shopping experiences are found in the island's lively markets where you can haggle for Greek specialties as well as local handicrafts. In Rethymnon, as in Chania and Heraklion, you will be astounded by the number of gift shops offering mostly tourist trinkets and souvenirs. If you're looking for something different and authentic then try Palaiopoleiou, 40 Souliou, where you will find genuine antiques, old textiles, jewelry and stringed instruments made by the proprietor. For bowls and other items carved from olive wood, go to Olive Tree Wood, 35 Arabatzoglou. Evangeline, 36 Paleologlou, offers a good selection of textiles, while Haroula Spridaki, 36 Souliou, has a nice selection of Cretan embroidery. Talisman, 32 Arabatzoglou, sells interesting blown glass, ceramics, plaques, paintings and other handmade articles; and Raki Baraki, at 22 Xanthoudidou, has a large and varied selection of natural products from all over Greece.

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RETHYMNON FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Rethymnon is located 45 miles east of Chania and 50 miles west of Heraklion. While Rethymnon itself lacks an airport, it is only about one hour from the Chania airport and one hour and 30 minutes from the Heraklion airport. If you are not renting a car, then the KTEL bus line (tel. 28310/22-212) provides service to and from Chania and Heraklion approximately every 30 minutes from early in the morning until midevening. In high season, buses depart Rethymnon as late as 10pm. The fare is about 15€ round trip. The station is located at Akti Kefaloyianithon, at the city's western edge. Of course you can hire a taxi as well.

How do I get from the port to my hotel?

Rethymnon has its own ship line, which offers direct daily trips to and from Athens-Piraeus with a journey time of about ten hours.

When do the hydrofoils operate between the islands?

Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Timetables change according to seasonal demand and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. That being said, ferries/hydrofoils for the Greek Islands only operate between May and September due to annual weather changes including rough seas and high winds. For travel beyond these months, your itinerary will include transportation by flight between the islands.

Note: The Athens airport authority advises you to allow a minimum of 45 minutes to make a flight connection; which should be adequate if you arrive and depart from the main terminal and do not have to clear Customs. Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes if you have to clear Customs or if you arrive or depart from the satellite terminal. At present, many charter flights use the satellite terminal.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

There are several options for getting around Crete, including public buses, taxis, rental cars and mopeds, but Rethymnon is a walker's town. The sights you'll want to see around town are never more than a 20 minute walk. The KTEL bus line (tel. 28310/22-212) offers frequent service to and from Heraklion and Chania, approximately every 30 minutes from early in the morning until midevening. In high season, buses depart Rethymnon as late as 10pm. The fare is about 15€ round trip. The station is located at Akti Kefaloyianithon, at the city's western edge so allow an extra ten minutes to get there.

Where can I rent a motorcycle in Rethymnon?

One of the most popular means of getting around the island is by moped or motorcycle. Unfortunately, the quality of paved roads is not always good as road surfaces are affected by a number of factors including floods and rock falls in winter and extreme heat in summer. Pot holes and loose gravel surfaces are very common as a result. This makes some roads particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. It's a good idea to check the brakes and steering before you ride off. Greek law now requires wearing a helmet, but not all agents supply one. Also, be sure to get full insurance and get a phone number, in case of breakdown.

Warning: Beware of the heat (sunstroke) and take plenty of water with you!

How do I call/hail a taxi?

Although taxis are available, the sights you'll want to see around Rethymnon are never more than a 20 minute walk. Taxis are quite cheap in Greece, so they can be considered a very convenient way of moving around in Crete. Taxi fare structures are the same all over Greece and they are regulated by the Greek State. In cities and larger towns, drivers MUST use the meter. Taxi drivers in Crete are slightly better than some parts of the world, however it is recommended that you protect yourself from overcharging by knowing the going rate for the trip you want and agreeing on the fare before you take off.

Should I rent a car on Crete?

The best way to get around Crete is by car as it will provide the most freedom and comfort for travel. Driving in Greece, and driving in Crete, in particular, might seem a daunting prospect at first, but provided you take appropriate care your trips will be safe and result in enormous pleasure. The island is 162 by 38 miles, so it is a large island. If you plan to do a lot of exploring, keep in mind that narrow winding roads can often mean that journey times are longer than might be expected from distances calculated from a map. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid spending excessive amounts of time behind the wheel. You can rent a car in any major city as well as at the Heraklion International Airport and the Chania International Airport.

Many visitors come to Rethymnon by car, taking the highway from Heraklion (about 50 miles) or Chania (45 miles). There is a public parking lot at Plateia Plastira, at the far western edge, just outside the old harbor, which is best approached via the main east-west road along the south edge of the town. However, unless you plan to explore the countryside, taking the bus there might be the best way to go from either of those other cities since bringing a car into Rethymnon's maze of streets and alleys is nearly impossible and more trouble than it's worth.

Please Note: If you park in a no-parking area, the police will remove your license plates, and you, not the car rental office, will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back!

Warning: Drive with caution, especially at night, when you will undoubtedly be sharing the roads with motorists returning from an evening of drinking.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Greece is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Several banks in both the old town and the new city have ATMs and currency exchange machines. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Greece by clicking here.

I don't speak Greek. Will many people speak English?

English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. Greeks do have great regard for those that try to speak Greek so it is a good idea to learn a few phrases. We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is Greek food like? What is the standard for tipping?

Greek food comes in many shapes, forms and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied! Crete has its own culinary specilaties and eating customs. Learn all about food in Crete so you know what to eat and what to drink when dining out; and don't be afraid to sample the best each area has to offer.

A service charge of 15 percent is usually included in the bill, but if service is good, then it is customary to leave 10 percent.

Where can I buy necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Most villages have small markets where you can buy water and food and other household items. Greek pharmacies are usually excellent with a qualified doctor or medic on staff (who usually speaks some English), but medicines can be more expensive than at home.

What are the best beaches in Rethymnon?

Crete is the largest island of Greece and its 650 miles of coastline provide hundreds of beautiful beaches that are famous for their crystal blue waters and relaxing atmosphere. Crete is very popular in the summer due to its mild climate, gorgeous beaches and the traditional lifestyle of the locals. No matter which region of the island you are visiting, you will certainly find the best beach for your holiday - small or large, organized or secluded - all of Crete's beaches have something special to offer and are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Please visit our dedicated page on Rethymnon's beaches for more information.

Please note: It is common for women to go topless on beaches. And while public nudity is illegal in Greece, every island has at least one beach where nudity is allowed.

What are the most popular clubs in Rethymnon? Where are they located?

Crete offers a little bit of something for everyone in terms of its nightlife. Rethymnon's sophisticated nightlife can be found in town at the old harbor, with a variety of beach bars and clubs. The town also hosts a Renaissance Festival in July and August with ancient Greek dramas, folk and rock concerts, films and art exhibitions. Many of the performances take place in the magnificent setting of the 16th century Fortezza - the massive Venetian fortress at the western edge of Rethymnon. Additionally, there is an annual wine festival in July, which takes place in the Public Gardens and involves music, dancing and sampling of local wines.

What else is there to do in Rethymnon?

There is more to Rethymnon than its nightlife and beaches! With Crete's rich history and Rethymnon's quaint villages and other attractions, there is plenty to keep you busy! You will also find a wide variety of other activities like walking trails, winery tours, scuba diving, boat tours and ferry excursions.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities on Crete! The best shopping experiences are found in the island's lively markets where you can haggle for Greek specialties as well as local handicrafts. In Rethymnon, as in Chania and Heraklion, you will be astounded by the number of gift shops offering mostly tourist trinkets and souvenirs. If you're looking for something different and authentic then try Palaiopoleiou, 40 Souliou, where you will find genuine antiques, old textiles, jewelry and stringed instruments made by the proprietor. For bowls and other items carved from olive wood, go to Olive Tree Wood, 35 Arabatzoglou. Evangeline, 36 Paleologlou, offers a good selection of textiles, while Haroula Spridaki, 36 Souliou, has a nice selection of Cretan embroidery. Talisman, 32 Arabatzoglou, sells interesting blown glass, ceramics, plaques, paintings and other handmade articles; and Raki Baraki, at 22 Xanthoudidou, has a large and varied selection of natural products from all over Greece.