Rethymnon is one of the four major tourist centers of Crete. There are approximately 1,000 accommodation establishments in the prefecture of Rethymno and about twice as many villas. Rethymnon offers a very special kind of tourism, which is not to be found in other areas of Crete.
Although there are also large hotel units with up to 3,000 beds outside Rethymnon and in the area in direction to Panormo, tourism in Rethymnon is designed differently, as for example in Chania, Chersonissos and Agios Nikolaos. The people of Rethymno have recognized relatively early that mass tourism may change the infrastructure of a region, a city cand can also destroy it. Therefore, building regulations were enacted, which limited the numbers of floors at the shoreline on 4 or 2 floors per house. This resulted in a modern, but pleasant to looking coastline in and around Rethymnon.
In the old town there are also are strict regulations regarding the conservation of old buildings. Owners who violate these regulations face tough penalties, which were and are enforced mercilessly by "the Archaeologia" as the competent office is called. The result is that 90% of old buildings could be obtained. The only businesses that "have slipped through the meshes of the law" is the variety of restaurants. In summer, it's sometimes difficult, in the evening to stroll through the narrow streets of the Old Town, as there are tables and chairs outside with happy tourists chatting eating and drinking everywhere.
Nevertheless, in Rethymnon a small-scale, almost cozy Tourism is still alive with small, hotels, apartment complexes and rooms for rent, which still reveal the charm of individual tourism today. Countless tourists take this offer every year, to live in the middle of the Old Town and feel the centuries of history in a modern environment. Then there is the endlessly long sandy beach, which stretches to the west from Georgioupolis over Episkopi and to the east of Rethymno City up to Panormo. Thanks to decades of efforts of all concerned, the sea is clear and is awarded with the "Blue Flag" every year.
The same applies to the villages on the south coast of the prefecture of Rethymnon, such as Agia Galini, Ag. Pavlos, Triopetra, Ag. Paraskevi, Preveli, Plakias, Souda, Rodakino, Frangokastello, Sfakia (Chora Sfakion), Loutro, etc. Here, the sandy beaches alternate in small and large bays with rocky shores. There are a few large hotel units, for example, in Damnoni, everything else are small hotels and apartment complexes with 10 - 20 rooms or apartments. There are also countless villas. These stone houses with up to 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, large swimming pool, garden and mostly sea view, almost always built expensive and in Cretan style, are earning the name "Villa" indeed.
Another special feature of Rethymnon is the variety of attractions in the heart area of the city and the romantically situated villages with shady squares and simple taverns which are inhabited and obtained the same as hundreds of years ago. The nearby world famous monasteries like Arkadi and Preveli and the natural beauty of the canyons and mountain regions on the way there, the breathtaking views from the mountains on the Libyan Sea in southern Crete make holidays in Rethymnon a special experience. Finally, the Cretan sun with her blue unique healing light shines in the middle of the soul of her visitors. Anyone who has been here and has seen Rethymnon with open eyes and an open heart returns.
Nowadays it is important again to emphasize that Rethymnon as all Crete is safe. Everyone can go at any time day or night anywhere, without worrying about anything. The doors of most homes are still not closed - as they were all 30 years ago.