ALL YEAR ROUND
Travel is about making connections with a community, culture and, ideally, the local people
Rethymno offers the perfect opportunity to connect and collect. The bustling yet intimate atmosphere of the Old Town beckons you into the colorful and vibrant market. Combine shopping with relaxing breaks in traditional taverns, charming restaurants, or a cozy café.
Rethymno is full of shops run by welcoming locals and artists, offering a wide variety of products, from traditional Greek crafts and souvenirs to modern fashion.
You can find many treasures in the stores like locally made products, multi-language books, brand fashions, shoes, cosmetics, and unique jewelry at a very fair price and all with warm Cretan hospitality and customer service from the individual shops.
Stroll in the narrow streets of the historic center and discover unique, small shops with exceptional handmade items of local artists and designers such as jewelry, fabrics, leatherworks, ceramics, art galleries and antiques shops.
Take a bit of Crete home!
Cretan olive oil, local wine and “tsikoudia”, “graviera” or other traditional Cretan cheeses, honey, freshly pickled olives, and beneficial Cretan herbs, as well as hand embroidery and hand-woven textiles, Cretan traditional instruments are few of the many local products one can take home as gifts for you, your family, and friends.
Explore the lively “Laiki”, the open-air market, rich with color, scent, and flavor
Laiki opens early in the morning and operates until about 2 pm, every Thursday morning in the parking lot next to the Municipal Garden and on Saturday mornings next to the Central Bus Station. Local producers bring their finest, fresh fruits, vegetables, and other products like honey, cheese, olives, and herbs. In addition, there are bazaars of clothing, shoes and kitchen utensils at very reasonable prices. Every Wednesday, the local all-organic Farmer’s Market takes place along Koumoundourou Street, behind the Municipal Garden.
- Open-air market/ Laiki: Thursday & Saturday from early in the morning till 14:00
- Organic Farmer’s Market: Wednesday from 11:00
Taste traditional pastry products at the local workshop of Giorgos Chatziparaschos, one of the only pastry makers in Greece specializing in handmade kataifi.
Stop in Loggia (corner of Arkadiou and Paleologou str.) and you will find copies of exhibits of the National Archaeological Museum for purchase.
It’s very common nowadays to share handcrafted items as gifts. As a matter of fact, these items have always been part of the Cretan tradition and make beautiful and memory-filled additions to your home decor, a lasting souvenir of your trip abroad.
Popular gifts are:
With techniques from the Minoan era combined with modern practices, Cretan potters create ceramic vases, bowls, vessels, etc. In the Old Town at Chimaras Street and Petichaki square as well as in Margarites village pottery workshops, you can experience the entire process of creating pottery.
In Stagakis Cretan Lyra Workshop and Papalexakis Cretan Music Instruments store in the center of Rethymno you can learn about the history and observe the manufacturing of the Cretan “lyra”, a traditional musical instrument.
Leather crafts such as shoes, purses & bags. You can find a traditional leather store in Souliou, Kallergi, Koroneou Street, where you can watch the whole process of leather making.
Woven crafts made on local looms are combined with the Cretan tradition, showcasing bright colors and playful patterns in the form of decorative throw pillows, personal accessories, and even tapestries. In Argiroupoli village you can find plenty of traditional hand-woven crafts (known as “yfanta”), and also inspired by local tradition woven cloths and accessories of high quality by “Klotho”.
Local Cretan handmade embroideries are very popular decorative items for multi-use. The art of thread and needle has been an ongoing and evolving process. Hand embroidery is now evolving with modern expressions. It has evolved from being a mere necessity to being a form of art. The village of Anogia is one of the major handicraft and cottage industry centers of Crete and the woven and embroidered fabrics produced have superb motifs which are unique to the village. It is interesting to visit one of the many workshops open to the public and observe fabrics being woven on large looms.
Knives were very important items for the Cretans, not only to use but also to display as status symbols and show their ability to defend themselves. Today Cretan knives are decorated with local poems (known as “mantinades”) on their handles. At Ethnikis Antistaseos Str there is an old barber shop that sells these traditional knives.
At his concept store, the artist Vaggelis Terzis uses metal, natural materials, and waste which he recycles to create his art.
Komboloi -a string of “worry” beads made by ivory, amber, silver, glass or wood- is one of the most typical symbols of the Greek easy-going mentality. You can find a workshop at Gerakari Str.
Natural Cosmetics and Soaps
Natural Cosmetics and Soaps based on natural ingredients, honey, herbal extracts and essential oils of plants and flowers that grow in Crete, such as olive oil, carobs, avocado, and aloe. You can find a wide range of these products at the local shops in Rethymno.
Greek jewelry has a history of 6,000 years. The designer Chara Theodoraki at her workshop - showroom continues this art to this day.
Hand Painted Icons
You can find several icon workshops which still use the Byzantine traditional way of painting, yet the most famous onesis the Cretan School of painting. All the colors used for painting are natural, painted either on canvas or on olive woods.
The shopping area is located in the center of the city and nearby there are many parking areas and the Central Bus Station.
Stores are open from 9 am to 2 pm and from 6 pm to 9 pm, with exception of Monday, Wednesday, and Saturday afternoons. Souvenirs shops are open every day, all day long until late.
Ethnikis Antistasseos, Souliou,Petichaki str: especially for jewelry but also local products, cosmetics and souvenirs
Paleologou, Arabadzoglou, Koroneou str: perfect stops for all the gifts you need to complete your shopping list such as souvenirs, local products, cosmetics
Arkadiou, Kallergi str: for clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry of Greek designers or of expensive brands
Koundouriotou, Gerakari str: the new town’s commercial area with department stores and boutiques that offer upscale wares