Arkadi Gorge Route

After the two-hours walking from the village of Pikri and having enjoy the magic of gorge's natural beauty you will arrive to the historic Monastery of Arkadi which is the universal symbol of Freedom.
Located to an altitude of 500m and at 23km from the town of Rethymno, you can visit the Holy Monastery of Arkadi, which has been engraved in the memory of all Greeks as a symbol of self-sacrifice and freedom during 1866-1869 revolution.
Unesco has declared it a European monument of Freedom. You will admire the facade of the church with both Venetian and Gothic elements and the well kept garden.
This is a walking route of 2 hours duration, through the Arkadi gorge which begins either from the area of the Monastery and ends at the village of Pikris or from the village of Kyriana. In the gorge of great natural beauty, representative species of Cretan flora and fossils can be seen. At Venetian Pikris, a walk through the picturesque alleys with their domed passageways is worthwhile, as is a visit to the great mansion of the Venetian lord Clodio with the impressive doorway and an inscribed pediment bearing a date (1610).

East-side Monasteries route

Rethymno offers many options with many walking paths leading to old churches, monasteries but also to vibrant villages that will surprise you.
The whole prefecture can be compared to a “living” painting, depicting the architectural preferences of earlier times with rare frescoes as well as inestimable icons.
You will meet areas perhaps still unknown to the majority and sometimes remote, but always magical and magnificent throughout the seasons. See our picturesque villages through the eyes of the soul, try the Cretan cuisine and the local drinks, participate in local festivities and dance “pentozali”... Get to know our soul, our hospitality, the interior of the prefecture, the other Rethymno.

West-side Monasteries route

Rethymno offers many options with many walking paths leading to old churches, monasteries but also to vibrant villages that will surprise you.
The whole prefecture can be compared to a “living” painting, depicting the architectural preferences of earlier times with rare frescoes as well as inestimable icons.
You will meet areas perhaps still unknown to the majority and sometimes remote, but always magical and magnificent throughout the seasons. See our picturesque villages through the eyes of the soul, try the Cretan cuisine and the local drinks, participate in local festivities and dance “pentozali”... Get to know our soul, our hospitality, the interior of the prefecture, the other Rethymno.

Adele – Maroulas – Agia Paraskevi – Platanias

This is both a cultural route and one for nature lovers (20 klm), which can be accomplished on foot in 4 hours.
It begins from Adele, a quiet village with its central settlement dating back to the Venetian era. The "fortress-like" architecture, according to some scholars, is testified by two "passages" in the square of the church of Agios Panteleimonas, that may have formed its medieval gates.
After Adele the route runs towards Agios Dimitrios with the beautiful Byzantine church of the same name (14th century) that demonstrates some interesting remains of murals. then the route ascends towards Agia Triada or Santa Trinita for the Venetians. In the center of the village is located the Venetian church of Santa Trinita which is also dedicated to Saint Nicolas. There after, it continues towards Agia Paraskevi village.
Here its worthwhile a little diverse from the road to the north side of the village where the church of Agia Paraskevi is located. The chapel is in the middle of a ravine drowned in forests of plane trees and other trees, and next to it there is a water spring. The position of the church at this point is not at all accidental since in Crete almost all the old churches that were dedicated to Agia Paraskevi are near rivers or water springs. According to the tradition Agia Paraskevi could treat the eye diseases, by cleaning them and curing them with some water.
The route continues then uphill to Maroulas with its Venetian houses and towers. The village is a real time machine that can travel you back in the Midieval, Venetian and Ottoman ages. The locals are the best guides for the place since they can narrate also many stories that nobody knows which are true or a myth. From there the road descends towards Platanias, famous for its beach which hosts every year nests of the sea turtle Caretta Caretta, affording a wonderful view of Rethymno.

Arkadi – Margarites

This is a walking route of cultural and natural interest, part of the northern section of European Trail E4.
From the historic Arkadi Monastery the route runs eastwards, passes the north part of the archaeological site of Eleutherna, descends into the gorge and runs uphill to Langa where there is a little Folk Art Museum.
It crosses Margarites gorge and ascends to the village - an attractive, large village with a number of Byzantine churches and Venetian mansions, noted also for its long tradition of pottery production. This tradition is dating back to at least the years of the Ottoman domination and makes the village of Margarites undoubtedly the most important pottery center of Western Crete. Here, amongst many others, are to visit the Byzantine churches of Agios Georgios (14th century), Agios Ioannis Theologos (1383) and Sotira Christou.
Eleutherna
The area of the ancient city of Eleutherna constitutes one of the most important archaeological sites in the Prefecture of Rethymno and is located in a privileged area in terms of natural beauty. Eleutherna was one of the most important ancient cities of Crete - according to today's excavation data - a capital city of the geometric (1050-700 BC) and archaic (750-479 BC) years, that is, the time of the propagation and recording of the Homeric epics. A number of excavations make up the jigsaw puzzle of an archaeological park, including a cemetery of the Geometric and Archaic periods, the remains of a Hellenistic settlement, Hellenistic and Roman buildings and roadways as well as an early Christian basilica with impressive mosaic floors.
From the village of Eleutherna a dirt road descensd northwards in the direction of the roofed-over cemetery in the place called Orthi Petra, about 1 klm distant. Most of the information we have comes from the findings of the systematic excavations of the University of Crete at this location, covering the period from 870/850 until the beginning of the 6th century BC. Important discoveries are related to the custom of burning the dead, which are very close to the description of the funerary customs that attribute Homer's verses to the Iliad. Over the famous necropolis have been revealed Hellenistic and Roman phases of the ancient city, buildings, paved streets, etc.
Around the same distance further north a superb bridge of Hellenistic date is preserved. A path from Orthi Petra, running first in a southerly direction and then northwards, ascends towards Pirgi, the Acropolis of the ancient city, passing the underground aqueducts and the remains of the Byzantine church of Agia Anna. In this location are revealed building relics which date back to Roman and Early Christian times. This is the diachronic core of the ancient city, as evidenced by architectural remains of the Late Bronze Age (1600-1100 BC), an autoclave of geometric years, an archaic sanctuary, as well as Roman and Early Christian and Byzantine buildings.
A little before Pirgi, the path branches eastwards towards the place called Katsivelos, where a large part of the city has been excavated, with streets and the remains of fine buildings as well as a large Christian Basilica, that of Michael Archangelos. The church was built on the site of an older Hellenistic sanctuary, which is dated, according to the founding inscription, to 430-450 AD. Here, the path meets the dirt road which leads southwards to the main road, first passing the cemetery of the village of Ancient Eleftherna with its Byzantine church of Sotira Christou.
Excavations in Ancient Eleutherna have brought to light extraordinary findings of various chronological phases, exhibited at the new Museum of Eleftherna, which is located near the entrance of the archaeological site. Beyond the architectural constructions, the moving findings, like dozens of inscriptions, sculptures, objects of precious materials, coins, exotic objects from the East, metal objects and utensils, glass vessels, etc., reveal in their own way the life and death, the customs and the commercial and other - direct or indirect - relations of the inhabitants of ancient Eleftherna with the rest of Crete, the Cyclades, Attica and Evia, the Peloponnese, the Dodecanese, the coasts of Asia Minor, the countries of the Eastern Mediterranean coasts, Cyprus and ancient Phoenicia (It includes the coastline of what is today Lebanon, Israel, Gaza, Syria and south-west Turkey). Through all this becomes known the contribution of Eleftherna and Crete to the development of Greek culture.

Historical Athletic Route

Holy Arkadi Monastery - Amnato - Kiriana - Loutra - Pigi - Adele - 

Iroon Polytechniou Square in Rethymno

ARKADIA” is being organized for 77 years and consists one of the oldest happenings in terms of historical sporting event of Greece and Europe.
With deep devoutness and sincere respect, hundreds of athletes and volunteers from Rethymno, Crete and the whole Greece honor every year the memory of the self-sacrificed heroic defenders of Arkadi Monastery.

22.4 km.route in length, of great natural and cultural interest, which can be accomplished also on foot. It begins either from Arkadi monastery or from Rethymno. The route continues and pass through the villages of Amnatos, Kiriana, Loutra, Pigi, Adele.  Kirianna is the next village. In this historic village, there are several old temples and modern ones. There are still scarce architectural elements of Renaissance style and the Byzantine church of Panagia, built in the architectural style of a free cross with dome, dominates imposingly. This church adorns the village from the beginning of the 11th century and is one of the most interesting examples of ecclesiastical architecture in Crete. The route then leads to Amnatos, a beautiful village with many Venetian mansions, with the most interesting the mansion of the Sanguinatsu family that preserves a beautiful Venetian doorway with the inscription: “INITIUM SAPIENTE TIMOR DOMINI” (Wisdom is the Fear of the Lord). There is also a Folk Art Museum and the Museun of the History of the Greek Education. The view to Rethymno's valley from this village is amazing. Immediately after the village the road leads to the historic Monastery of Arkadi with the wonderful Renaissance architecture of its church and the Museum of Historic Ecclesiastical Artifacts. It is worthwhile making a longer stop there. Then the road leads  towards the picturesque villages Kiriana, Loutra, Pigi and Adele.  

 

 

Rethymno - Agia Irini – Mili - Chromonastiri

Agia Irini 1

A circular route of 13 klm., starting from Rethymno (Theotokopoulou str) to  the village and monastery of Agia Irini where there is a monastery with the same name dated back in 1362. In 1995, the monastery was awarded the Europa Nostra European Preservation and Renovation for Architectural Monuments Award.

Agia Irini 3

Today brims with spirituality being a community of ten nuns occupied with hagiography, weaving and embroidery. In the monastery there is an ecclesiastical museum.

Rousospiti

Going eastwards at the village Rousospiti a wonderful Venetian Fountain is preserved from the 17th century, as well as the Byzantine Church of Panagia with many interesting murals. Right next to the church is situated the most characteristic of the Venetian houses that are preserved to the village. From the center of the village, the route leads to the traditional village of Kapediana with the magnificent view to the Cretan Sea. At the entrance of this green village with a small passing river that flows from the Mount of Vrissinas, there is an Ottoman fountain with a Turkish inscription. Outside of the village is the church of Sotiras Christos.

Cromonastiri Army museum

Then the route continues to Chromonastiri, where there is the magnificent Villa Clodio, called also “Konaki”, as it served as an official residence during the ottoman domination, and other Venetian Buildings. Today Vila Clodio hosts the Army museum.  There is also milos Prinari, an important colection of folk museum.  There are also situated the Byzantine churches of Panagia Kera and Agios Eftichios with frescoes from the 11th and 14th century, which are considered as the oldest known murals in Crete.

Agios Eftichios

Agios Eftichios1 

The route then descends towards Mili, where the verdant gorge running parallel to the road and the abandoned old village of Mili can be admired from above. 

Mili Gorge 2020

mili Gorge2

From there you can come back to Rethymno through the mili gorge or a little further down, a turning to the left leads back to Rousospiti.

Argiroupoli – Moundros

Argiroupoli is a beautiful village built on the remains of ancient Lappa, full of traces of both ancient and more recent civilizations. Both within and around it, there are excavated sections of the ancient city, Roman remains, Venetian buildings with superb doorways, and Byzantine churches. Wandering around the village we may see many houses with building material from the ancient Lappa and the remains of the Venetian mansions covered by rich vegetation. The area is famed for the springs of Agia Dinami, a verdant locality where water flows from every point creating a unique natural environment with rich flora. A leisurely stop can be made here in one of the tavernas which serve the needs of hundreds of visitors. The tour can be completed by visiting the cave from where the river Mouselas flows out, at the chapel of Agios Ioannis. Near Argyroupoli and going towards the village Kato Poros, there is a shady place known as Pente Parthenes (Five Virgins) with a Byzantine church of the same name, and interesting stories told by the locals about them. There are also numerous excavated Roman tombs and a huge plane tree, the latter is an undisputed monument of Nature. The administrative center of the region is the large village of Episkopi; 3km further north extends a huge sandy beach of the same name, where bathers gather in great numbers. Further to the south is the mountain village of Miriokefala. The name of the village derives from the many hills that rise like heads (kefali) around it. The village is known for the important Byzantine church of Panagia, founded in 1000. Its murals are from various eras but mostly of the 12th century. A celebration takes place there on 8th September, and is attended by thousands of worshippers, who ascend the road to the church beginning from Rethymno, on foot. Argiroupoli – Moundros This is a walking route 6 klm in length, which surprises with countless impressions,. North of Argiroupoli, a turning to the right leads to the locality of Pente Parthenes and then to the village of Kato Poros. Immediately after this small and picturesque village there is a turning. Follow the dirt track towards Moundros and the Kollita gorge, and after about 1 klm, a turning to the right – a worthwhile little diversion – leads to the imposing and abandoned settlement of Nisi, known for its wonderful stone buildings. After returning to the main track, we arrive 3 klm further east at Moundros. The village has many beautiful Venetian buildings (old courts, prisons and houses of nobles), among them, a Venetian mansion with a superb doorway over which there is an inscription from Virgil's Aeneid. It is worth visiting the churches of Agios Konstantinos, Agii Anargiri (11th century) and Agios Nikolaos.