Rethymnon - Abbey Travel, Ireland

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Welcome to Rethymnon


Anyone could be forgiven for mistaking the hugely popular package tour holiday resort town of Rethymnon for a sort of Cretan-inspired theme resort, but the best thing about the town is that its picturesque historic heart is actually genuine. The old town is just that: old, its winding alleys overhung with pretty wooden flower-bedecked balconies flaunt historic Venetian and Turkish architectural influences. Fortunately a recent mad spate of tourist development has left the old town untouched, so it can now delight the many photo-happy visitors and serve as a bustling venue for tavernas, restaurants and souvenir shops. To the east is one of Crete's longest sandy beaches, which has become the target of developers and is lined with apartment blocks and hotels. Excursions are easily made to Heraklion, Chania or the monastery of Arkadhi.

Information & Facts

Greek is the national language, but English is widely spoken.

The Euro (EUR) is the official currency, divided into 100 cents. Banks and bureaux de change are widely available and travellers cheques and major credit cards are widely accepted. ATMs are widespread and are generally the cheapest and most convenient method of obtaining euros.

Situated about 14 miles (23km) south of Rethymnon, the Monastery of Arkádhi is something of a national Cretan shrine. During the 1866 rebellion against the Turks the monastery became a refuge for Cretan insurgents and their families. They were surrounded by the Turks and after two days of fighting, ignited the gunpowder storeroom, which killed hundreds of both Turks and Cretans. The tragedy brought international recognition to the cause for Cretan independence. An ossuary displays the skulls of many of the victims and it is possible to see the roofless room where the explosion took place, as well as the surviving 16th-century church that is one of the loveliest Venetian buildings on the island. There is also a small museum.

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