Excursion from heraklion port
Monastery of Arkadi – Ancient Eleftherna – Margarites – City of Rethymnon
4 destinations – 9 hours duration
We start this excursion at the most impressive and historic monastery of Arkadi situated on a fertile plateau 23 km to the southeast of Rethymnon. The monastery is a historical symbol linked to the national pride of the Cretan people, as it played a significant role in the Cretan revolt against Ottoman rule in 1866.
We then head to Eleftherna, a village of great natural beauty. The remnants of the ancient city of Eleftherna, one of the most important archaeological sites in Crete, lie near the modern village.
Next, is a visit to the museum and its exhibition of the findings of ancient Eleftherna. The originality of this museum is that the objects in the permanent exhibition are periodically updated with new and older excavated finds so that public interest is continuous.
Our next destination is the village of Margarites, which is famous for its pottery production of Minoan inspiration. Strolling through the narrow streets of Margarites, you will see beautifully decorated doors and walls from the times of Venetian rule. The village gives a real sense of what Cretan villages were like in past centuries.
The next destination is Rethymnon, which is definitely the most picturesque, the most welcoming and the most authentic town in Crete.
As in all Cretan cities, Rethymno is full of Venetian features, constituting one of the best preserved Venetian cities in the Mediterranean. The landmark of the city is the Castle of Fortezza, which was built in 1573 to protect the Venetians from Ottoman navy attacks.
The Old Venetian Port and many remnants from the Ottoman oppression are also very important monuments. Behind the castle of Fortezza, lies the Old Town of Rethymno, with numerous scenic alleys and memorials. You can explore the city for about 2 hours.