The monastery of Preveli is located in one of the most beautiful places in Crete. Although the exact date it was erected is unknown, there are indications of the presence of a small monastery in the area since the 10th century AD. The Preveli monastery is actually two monasteries: the Kato Monastery, that is now abandoned, and the Piso Monastery of Theologos. This one is inhabited by monks and can be visited. In the monastery premises there is a museum that exhibits a collection of icons, ritual objects and relics.
Venetian Harbor 35km
This beautiful harbor was built by the Venetians around 1300 AD and it's still in use in our day. For many centuries it has been a commercial center and a traditional meeting place for people from around the world. A lighthouse, still standing today, guided the commercial and military ships to moor in the harbor's calm waters during the long and turbulent history of the city. Today, the harbor has something for every visitor. Whether you love long romantic walks by the sea, or you prefer to taste the Cretan cuisine and nightlife, the Venetian Harbor is the place to be.
Fortezza, the Rethymno's fortress was completed on 1590 and it is the trademark of the city. Built by the Venetians to protect the city from Ottomans' attacks and pirates' raids it stands upon the city, on the Palaiokastro hill. Most of the walls and buildings of the fortress are still in good condition and the view from Fortezza is astonishing. Within its walls the visitor will also find the outdoor municipal theatre "Erophili", where most of the Renaissance Festival's events take place.
Historical & Folkore Museum 35km
It is housed in a restored Venetian mansion with an interior courtyard, built in the 17th century and worth visiting on its own. But there is more. The museum's permanent collection is wonderful and occupies five halls. There you will have the chance to see over 5.000 items, varying from traditional customes, jewelry and everyday objects to historic photography, maps and folklore art. The exhibits cover four centuries of Rethymno's life, from the 17th to the 20th century. The sixth hall hosts temporary collections.
It is housed in a restored Venetian mansion with an interior courtyard, built in the 17th century and worth visiting on its own.
Museum of Contemporary Art 35km
The Center for Cretan Folk Art was established in Rethymno in 2000 in an effort to support the local folk art. It is a "living" museum, where the visitor gets to see the artists while they work and discuss with them about their art discipline. It hosts workshops for weaving, embroidery, bookbinding, wood carving, sculpturing and ceramics. The permanent exhibition of the museum consists of the art produced in its workshops and all art in display is for sale.
Paleontological Museum 35km
The Paleontological museum of Rethymno is an annex of the famous Goulandri Natural History Museum and is housed in one of the most architecturally interesting buildings in the city, the 9-dome Temple of Mastaba. The museum hosts findings and life-size recreations that trace the local evolutionary and geological history of the past 300 million years. Prepare to be astonished by the dwarf elephants and hippos, the polymorphous Cretan deer and many other of the first inhabitants of Crete and remember that those animals were the material for the myths of the Greek Mythology.
Archaeological Museum 35km
It is located in front of the entrance of Fortezza in a pentagonal building, once a stronghold built by the Ottomans. Inside it, several thousand years of local history are exhibited through important finds from the Rethymno wider area. Works of art, tools and everyday objects found in caves, cities and graves arranged in chronological sequence and covering the Minoan, Geometric, Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman times, will astonish the visitor. Several special events and exhibitions are organized by the Archeological museum each year so be sure to check the museum's website for current information.
Ancient Eleftherna 57km
Eleftherna was one of the most important ancient cities of Crete and it is believed to have been established during the Minoan era. The excavations that started in 1985 have brought to light a great deal of findings from different periods, among them a complete Necropolis dating back to the Geometric and Ancient periods. In 2009 the importance of the findings were recognized by the Archaeological Institute of America that listed the site in their Top 10 for excavation sites. A local museum is under construction and is expected to open its doors to the public in 2015.
Phaistos is located in the south of Crete, 62km from Heraklion and close to Matala and it used to be not only one of the most important centres of the Minoan Civilization but also the most wealthy and powerful city in southern Crete during that period. The city was built on a hill with the Palace over-watching the plains of Messara. The Phaistos Palace was the second largest Minoan Palace after Knossos and it was the palace of Radamanthis, brother of King Minos. It was first built in 2000BC but was destroyed and rebuilt in 1700BC. The visitor of the site today can witness the high sophistication of the building techniques and architecture that aimed both to functionality and aesthetics.