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Local Color, Spectacular Archaeology in Crete's Stavromenos

“Crete, an island bathed in a wine-dark sea, rich, beautiful, populous; many are those who live in its ninety towns, many are its languages.”

The words of Homer, in The Odyssey, written in 700 BC, may help formulate an idea of what visitors will find on this Green island. A historic, Mediterranean, vibrant island with beaches which have nothing to envy of any other beaches in the world. Its cities, under continuous development, contrast with the people who still maintain that spirit, so focused on the sea that surrounds them, calm for most of the year and passionate during festival times, accustomed to living amidst the remains of thousand-year-old civilizations which laid many of the foundations of today’s society.

To the north of the island you will find the city of Rethimno or Rethymno, the third most important in Crete, refuge of intellectuals and scholars after the fall of Constantinople, full of Turkish mosques and with an important Venetian fortress dating back to the year 1573. In the region, characterized by savage and fertile landscapes typical of Crete, in the eastern part of the bay which gives the city its name, the small town of Stavromenos is located, where travelers will feel the warmth of the authentic Mediterranean way of life, much sought after and yearned for by some. In it, daily activity moves slowly, with the sun, forgetting the stress of other areas and the atmosphere of mass-tourism felt in other locations. Scattered with villas, many of them rented out in summertime, and no more facilities than those required to cover the needs of its residents, it is a little known destination, but one which is much more appropriate for total disconnection during your vacations.

But if one thing catches the attention in Stavromenos, it is that it forms part of Rethimno Bay and, therefore, is one of the towns which still boast beaches of golden sand and complete peace. There are few people who venture out of the big city, so visitors who come to this small town can enjoy the silence, only broken by the waves, and calmness of a place which would be the perfect retirement location for those who want to get away from it all.

Furthermore, on the two hills that surround the town you will find remains from two archaeological sites which prove that a small village did once exist in the zone. The objects found in the excavations, which can be seen in the Rethimno Archaeological Museum, located opposite the main gate of the fortress and which exhibits pieces from sites throughout the region from the stone age to the Minoan and Hellenistic periods, date back to the 5th century BC.

Don’t miss: If you are one of those travelers who likes to sample the typical delicacies of the region, the Kehagias Tavern is the ideal place to do it. Local clientele and local dishes in a family establishment that comes highly recommended.


“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has 2 hotels on the island of Crete, with the option of all-inclusive accommodation. These hotels offer visitors everything they are looking for during their vacations on this Greek island.

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