A castle already stood here in ancient times. Today's huge Fortezza dates from the late 16th century. The castle is by far the largest fortress in Crete. The fortress is almost 350 metres long and 230 metres wide. The thick wall around the Fortezza is about 1.3 kilometres long. A truly gigantic building.
Today the fortress of Rethymno is partly a ruin. However, the major parts, such as the thick wall around the fortress, are still largely preserved. The castle can be visited inside. Due to the size of the castle you should take your time. The entrance fee to the Fortezza in the centre of the third largest city on Crete is only a few Euros.
Opening hours fortress Rethymno: The castle is the most visited attraction in Rethimno and has correspondingly long opening hours. During the season it is open daily from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. (last admission 19:15 p.m.). During one of our winter visits a few years ago the Fortezza was open during the day (no entrance fee).
Admission to Rethymno Fortress: The entrance fee for our visit 2016 is 4 Euro for adults. Students, pensioners and children etc. pay 3 Euro. The entrance fee for our visit 2016 is 4 Euro for adults. Students, pensioners and children etc. pay 3 Euro.
Route to Rethyimo Fortress and general information: At the back of the old town of Retyhmno you can find some signposts with the inscription "Fortezza". After a few minutes you will reach the entrance. Between the castle and the sea there is a road that connects the area around the bus station with the old town. At this road you will find a turnoff to the castle and a small parking lot. In the summer, all parking spaces are often occupied. It is better to walk from the city centre.
Map Rethymno Crete
Near the fortress towards the old town there are some good restaurants like the Castelvecchio. In the fortress there is a small kiosk (drinks and snacks). The toilets in the Fortezza are for a fee (50 cents).
Description of the castle: Some of the buildings in the Fortezza have been rebuilt, others are ruins. In the last few years many buildings have been renovated, others will follow in the next few years. Anyone who has been to Rethymno fortress a few years ago will be able to see what has changed.
First, at the entrance of the cash desk, one sees the impressive main gate of the castle complex with many meters thick walls. The mosque, which the Turks built in the fortress after the conquest of Crete in the middle of the 17th century, is one of the largest dome buildings in Greece.
Interesting are also the warehouses, armouries, the house of the rector (ruler of the fortress of Rethymno) and the former prison.
Many cultural events take place in the large open-air theatre within the Fortezza. Especially the Renaissance Festival of Rethymnon, which has taken place every summer for about 20 years, is well known far beyond the city limits. The open-air theatre in the castle is called "Erofili Theatre Rethymno". Erofili is the most famous Cretan tragedy, written in 1600 by Georgios Chortatzis in Rethimno.
Last but not least, visitors to Rethymno Fortress are rewarded with a great view in all directions. On one side you can see the sea, on the other side you can see the roofs of the city.
Until a few years ago the Archaeological Museum of Rethymno was next to the fortress. It is now down in the old town. Also read our page about the Rethymno Beaches.
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