Rethymnon (Crete) holiday recommendations
June 8, 2009 4:33 AM   Subscribe

Recommendations for a week in Rethymnon, Crete?

Some friends and I will soon be spending a week of self-catering in the village of Asproulianos, Rethymnon, Crete. Only one of us has been to Crete before. Aside from Knossos, and relaxing as much as humanly possible, nothing is officially on the agenda. We'll certainly see the obvious things (the fortress, the old town, the museum).

Does anyone have any recommendations beyond that? A good day-trip somewhere different for people without a car? First-time scuba instruction or snorkeling excursions? Restaurants with fresh fish, non-fish meat, and vegetarian options? Great local dishes or potential pitfalls?
posted by K.P. to Travel & Transportation around Rethimnon, Greece (3 answers total)
In Rethimnon you'll need to decide whether you want to eat in the picturesque places by the harbour, possibly feeding the small fish in the crystal waters with crumbs of bread - or have food at least as good at half the price in a nice place up the street which merely isn't on the quay.

Chania is a charming old town with a strange spider-like Turkish building (or...did I dream that?) - worth a visit, though if you haven't got transport YMMV.

A traditional tourist thing in Western Crete is the tramp down the Samaria Gorge - you'd need to book a coach trip. It's quite pleasant, but there are liable to be herds of international tourists accompanying you.
posted by Phanx at 5:25 AM on June 8, 2009

Seconding Samaria Gorge. There will definitely be other tourists there. I noticed most people there tend to rush through to the end, to the picturesque "Iron Gates". The Gorge is a beautiful place, so I suggest spending as much time as you can enjoying the view -- within the time limits of your excursion -- don't miss your bus at the end!

Also, take a day trip (cruise) to Santorini. You know those calendars full of photos of white buildings/churches with blue domes? That's Santorini. There will definitely be hordes of tourists there but it's also a fun time. Take the donkeys down to the port; you'll know what I mean when you get there.

You'll be able to book these trips (and others) once you get there, there will be brochures at local hotels, restaurants and shops, no need to make prior arrangements.

posted by ellenaim at 7:02 AM on June 8, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thirding the gorge. (Get on the earliest bus you can.) The Kazantzakis museum in Milia is wonderful too. A copy of Zorba or Report To Greco for the flight over will ease you into the Crete frame of mind.

If there are a few of you, it really might be good value renting a car for a day or two. (Driving in Crete isn't as nuts as people say.) See the little villages. Stop at the local kafeneios. Drink mountain tea and little cups of Greek coffee. Watch old men play backgammon. Catch an orthodox service at the smallest church you can find. And like Phanx said, the more blocks you get away from the harbour in Chania and Rethimnon, into the back streets and alleys, the more interesting the eating becomes. Later at night, Kafe Kriti in Chania is the most evocative taverna in Crete. Ask around about which night have live music. A day trip to another island is a really good idea too. The ferry is the quintessential Greek island experience.

Safe travels.
posted by bookley at 9:11 AM on June 8, 2009

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