Panormos has a lot to show for a village of its size and is one of the few unspoilt beach towns on the northern coast. It retains an unhurried, authentic village feel and makes for a  quiter alternative to the overcrowded scene immediately east of Rethymno and at nearby Bali. You’ll find a small harbour, a couple of Byzantine chapels, a post office, a few mini markets and shops and the best of all in summer concerts and other events  are held in a carob mill turned cultural centre.

The old carob-bean mill has been restored by Kynthia's owners. In summer, occasional music recitals and chamber concerts – from classical to Cretan, Spanish to Argentine – are arranged by the Epimenides Cultural Society, as well as street theatre performances. In addition the Panormos sandy beach is a 3-minute stroll away, with loungers and umbrellas to hire, and a slightly larger beach a little further, with a good beach cafe. The sea is shallow and crystal clear.

Panormos Village is also a great base for exploring central and western Crete, with the main north-coast road just a few km away, easily reachable by bus.

Visit Margarites a pottery-making village, north of the foothills of Psiloritis mountain range, where you can buy anything from a tiny vase to one of the great “pithoi” or storage jars . Most of the potteries lie up the hill from the village in little stone-walled enclosures, each with a cylindrical kiln of plastered stone, crowned with a dome of firebricks. The deep-bellied “pithoi ” are direct descendants of the vessels made by the Minoans. In the village itself are colourwashed houses crowded along narrow streets, where each bend reveals a new differently coloured perspective (sky-blue is most popular). There are handsome stone archways in the walls of the lanes and ancient frescoes in the church of Agios Ioannis Prodromos.

Visit the Arkadion Monastery, this is the most famous historical monastery in Crete, situated near Rethymnon in a very spectacular location. We do not know the exact date of its founding. Some say it was founded by the Byzantine emperor Arcadius in the 5th century AD; others say the founder was a certain monk Arcadius. The 14th century AD is the most likely date for its founding. The historical importance of Arkadi lies in the role it played in the Cretan War of Independence. When the revolution was declared, in 1866, all the leaders met at Arkadi which was chosen because of its strategic position. Ishmael Pasha sent a message to the monks with the bishop of Rethymnon that the revolutionary committee should leave or else the monastery would be destroyed. The head monk refused to obey. Later the Turks besieged the monastery where many children and women had also gathered. Soon the besieged realized that was little hope but they fought bravely. Some, in fact, blew themselves up with gunpowder to avoid captivity. 114 men and women were taken captives, 864 were killed and very few survived.

Continuing east from Moni Arkadiou takes you to the archaelogical site of Ancient ElefthernaIn Eleftherna, many inscriptions have been discovered, with jural context on the relationship of artists with the society. In the excavations, geometric, Classical and Hellenistic idols and signs of the zodiac were also found. One of the most important artifacts is the upper part of the body of a statue made of limestone. This stature represents a dressed woman an is famous as “The lady of Eleftherna ”. It is daedalic figure and reminds us “The lady of Auxeree”. The lady of Auxeree is a small Cretan Statuette (0,65 metres) that represents a woman wearing Cretan mantle. It is also made of limestone. It used to be exhibited at the small French town of Auxerre, but now it is a Museum of Louvre. Because of the similarity between the two statues, some scholars assume that “The lady of Auxeree” is from Eleftherna as well.

Visit hte nearby town of Rethymnon which is perhaps the prettiest of Crete’s Venetian cities, with a massive walled fortezza full of crumbling storehouses and later Ottoman mosques. Its characterful tight-packed streets, lined with Turkish balconied houses and tourist paraphernalia, lead to a historic inner harbour, now disfigured by garish eateries. However, there are some delightful little restaurants and bars in the Old Quarter.

Chania, maybe the prettiest town in Greece, is an hour to the west, and well worth a day trip for its sea walls, archaeological museum, covered food market and romantic restaurants.

Heraklion, Crete’s vibrant capital and home of its finest archaeological collection, and the Minoan palace at Knossos, imaginatively excavated by Sir Arthur Evans, are both 45 mins drive east; don’t miss them.

The White Mountains are Crete’s most dramatic range very popular with hikers, birdwatchers and botanists. Join them on a trek through the 16km-long well known Samaria Gorge, or maybe your don't like crowds, then a joing quieter small gorges of Ayia Irini or Imbros (you’ll need to start early for any of these).

On the south coast, you can explore Preveli monastery and go for a swim at its idyllic, palm-shaded beach.

Other beaches worth driving to are burgeoning Plakias, gorgeous Damnoni, nudist Ammoudi and hippy Matala, all on the south coast; and the endless open sands east of Georgioupolis on the north (a windsurfer’s dream).

For more activities on Activities in Rethimno.

Hotel Information Recommended For
Type: Small Hotels & Inns Architecture & style :
Rooms: 5 Nice atmosphere :
Pool: Yes Quality of Service :
Dining: Breakfast and Snacks served Food :
Children: Yes Village Atmosphere :
Closed: Never Beach/Seaside :

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