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Rethymno: the perfect destination for couples

Romantic Rethymno offers couples something special – a Cretan riviera for play and pleasure; elegant, arty, fun and sophisticated. There’s simply nowhere like it.

Chania has its charms, bustling Heraklion too, but if there is one Cretan metropolis made for two people in love – it’s Rethymno. And it starts with the beach. A seemingly endless swathe of golden sand awaits you, stretching east from the heart of Rethymno town to The Syntopia Hotel and beyond.

Romantic strolls
Nowhere are the energies stronger for couples than Rethymno’s Old Town, a delicious matrix of tiny medieval alleys that exude the deep, mysterious and colourful history of Crete. Built originally in Venetian times, the Old Town is a kaleidoscope of unforgettable experiences and images: delightful pavement cafes and restaurants serving some of the best cuisine in Crete. Avli (Xanthoudidou 22) with its leafy garden is made for romance. For an equally divine experience by the sea, head to Prima Plora (Akrotiriou 4) for sublime seafood.

Rethymno’s most visible landmark – the stunning Venetian Fortezza is a lovely spot for two to stroll. From this magical vantage point the northern coast stretches away, east and west – a land and seascape as sublime as any in the Mediterranean.

To watch the sunset there’s no better spot than below its western wall. From the road that snakes below the fortress, the sun glows red as it drops slowly below the horizon. Two tavernas Sunset (Emmanouil Kefalogianni 18) and Maistrali Tsipouradiko next door are in the perfect position to enjoy the show.

The Venetian Fortezza – perfect for a romantic stroll

Nightlife in Rethymno
For nightlife in Rethymno you’re spoiled for choice.The iconic palm tree -lined promenade between the idyllic Venetian harbour and Marina is home to some of Rethymno’s most popular bars and lounge cafes. On the beach road the classy Livingroom (Eleftheriou Venizelou 5) a slice of Manhattan in Crete – lush velvets, mirrored walls and video screens. Nearby Fraoules (Eleftheriou Venizelou 62)with its neon and chandeliers has a very cool ambience. For full on late-night revelry, head to hip Nafpigio (Arkadiou 254) for good vibes and the best dance music in town. For more sedate intimacy, check out Rewine Bar (Tsagari 25-27) a delightful haunt for wine lovers. They make great cocktails too.

Beach getaways
Beyond the city, the province of Rethymno offers delights that are close to hand, with the stunning south coast just a 50-minute drive away. The legendary south coast beaches of Ammoudi, Ammoudaki and Schinaria are the pick for accessible seclusion. Southern Rethymno also boats the ultimate castaway experience – the Paximadia Islands, in the Gulf of Messara are the place to go for a beach to yourselves. Boats leave from Kokkinos Pirgos or Agia Gallini. Paximada, the most easterly, has four beaches, crystal clear waters, and solitude guaranteed.

Hike in pristine nature

Get adventurous
For couples wanting an unforgettable guided trekking experience, Rethymno has one of the most respected and licensed companies in Greentour which organises cultural and hiking tours. They’ll even take you both to the summit of Crete’s highest mountain Psiloritis if you’re up for it. Nature lovers can also learn about the delicacies hidden in Cretan nature with Forage Crete, exploring the culinary culture and natural landscape off the beaten track.

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Three traditional villages within 30 minutes of The Syntopia