re the Old Town

It's Crete's third-largest city, which means Rethymnon is littered with plenty of remains from its rich past. If you can tear yourself away from its stunning beach and are wondering what to do, start off with a trip to the city's Old Town. Aside from the superb Venetian architecture that gives the Old Town its character, you'll find some quaint and quirky shops rubbing shoulders with relaxed cafés and quiet bars. Grab a coffee and a creamy bougastsa, and watch the world go by for an hour.

Dip into the past

Once you've bagged a bargain from one of the Old Town's markets, head on down to the harbour. This is the best place for a leisurely lunch or a delicious dinner, with traditional tavernas and rustic restaurants lining the waterfront. Expect Cretan cuisine at its best, and fish that's so fresh it's practically leapt out of the sea and into a pan! There are plenty of bars in which to enjoy a quiet drink and watch the sun go down, or you can do as the locals do and sip a coffee and get stuck into some hardcore backgammon games. Overlooking the city is the Venetian Fortezza fortress, which is one of the most fascinating Rethymnon things to do. A mix of medieval Moorish and European architecture, the fortress hides a secret chapel and offers plenty of photo opportunities, perfect for families with kids and couples looking to soak up Crete's magical atmosphere. Just outside Rethymnon, you'll find the Arkadi Monastery, built in the 14th century. Having somehow survived a devastating Turkish siege in the 1800s, the Arkadi Monastery has become a symbol of freedom to those who live on the island.

Kotsifou Gorge

If you want to get to grips with the local scenery and don't know what to do, Kotsifou Gorge ought to be on your list! As far as things to do in Rethymnon go, this is one of the most rewarding. While it's possible to drive to the Gorge, the best way to see this fabulous spot is to strap on your boots, pack some food and water, and go for a hike. On your walk, you'll encounter secluded churches, ruined bridges and even an olive press or two! Photographers and wildlife enthusiasts will find plenty to admire and inspire. For that show-stopping photo, aim for the Greek Orthodox chapel at the top of the hill, where you can line up some panoramic shots of the whole Kotsifou canyon.

5 Things to do in Rethymnon