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Sightseeing In Rethymno
There are numerous attractions and sites to see in the former province of Milopotamos, where Panormos used to belong administratively and in the broader Prefecture of Rethymno. We would like to indicate some of the nearby attractions with rough distances (bird fly):

Bali

A small fisherman’s village Bali (9 km from Panormos) has developed over the last decades into a prominent travel destination in this part of Crete. Besides the monastery of St John Prodromos and the two-aisled stone church and old fountains with a characteristic decoration Bali offers and beautiful beaches west and east of the village, an islet and a scenic view onto the little port.

Melidoniou cave (Gerondospilios)

Tucked into the rocks of south base of Kouloukonas Mountain, a short way out of Melidoni village (6 km south east of Panormos) is the entrance to Gerondospilio. A place of great natural beauty, the cave played a part and is associated to the rising against Ottoman presence in Crete. The cave served as a settlement and place of worship from the late Neolithic era to Roman times.

Margarites

Traditionally know for its clay urns - pitharia and terracotta making Margarites is a small beautiful village at only 9 km south of Panormos. In its picturesque narrow streets you will find a number of byzantine churches, decorated entrances and walls built during the occupation by Venice as well as numerous workshops and terracotta outlets.

Eleftherna

A natural fort built amidst the thick vegetation in the northern face of Psiloritis Mountain the ancient city of Eleftherna was for a long time the rival city of Knossos. Its fortified citadel, its commercial and pirate fleet as well as a quarry among others are evidence to its strong position in ancient times. It is located at about 10 km south of Panormos.

Arkadi monastery

Arkadi is known for a siege that took place during the strife of Crete against Turkish occupation in 1866. Its architecture adds to the site’s attraction while the small museum contains a significant display of icons of the late C17 besides church archives. The monastery is 14 km southwest of Panormos.

Axos

Built over ruins of an important ancient town stands the town of Axos in a valley north of Psiloritis on the way to Anogia and at about 18 km southeast of Panormos. A fountain still in use from mediaeval times stands in the village center while remains of byzantine churches can be seen in the surrounding areas as well as in the village.

Zoniana Cave (Sfendoni’s hole)

East of the mountainous village of Zoniana (19 km southeast of Panormos) and very close to Anogia is one of the most impressive caves of Crete and Greece. The cave is about 3.000 sq meters with rich formations of stalactites and stalagmites.

Anogia

The mountainous village of Anogia, built on Psiloritis 23 km southeast of Panormos has a rich history. Due to geographic isolation village populations maintain their local dress and traditions including an oral tradition that still uses words from ancient Greek and has a distinct accent. An enclave of resistance against invasions of Crete during Turkish occupation as well as during WWII have led to the village being raised to the ground twice. Being one the largest centre of arts and crafts in Crete Anogia has become over the last decades a popular travel destination close to Rethymno. Workshops often are open offering the public an opportunity to watch various artisans at work such as traditional weavers. Anogia has bred a number of musicians in recent times and has a strong tradition in popular Cretan music.

Zominthos Mitata

Excavations in Sominthos located between Anogia and Ida plateau have brought to light so far a building bearing evidence to large Minoan settlement that once stood here. Findings indicate the town was a significant economic, religious center while the building reveals advanced architectural know how. The way to Nida as well as the mountain of Psilirotis Mountains is dotted with circular stone huts known as Mitata. Designated as monuments of culture and history by the Greek Culture Ministry, Mitata were used by shepherds as shelter and as facilities linked to animal herding and cheese making. The materials used –raw or semi processed stone – as well as their circular structure suggesting communal living – a wide spread custom in Minoan times- indicate they are linked to the Minoan era.

Nida plateau – Zeus and Idaion Cave

Nida plateau stands at 1.450 m in the centre of Crete (10 km southwest of Anogia) and between the west and east faces of Psiloritis Mountain. Evidence of a large Minoan settlement indicates an important community once stood in the plateau of Nida facing the Psiloritis mountain and its snow-capped top of Psiloritis (Timios Stavros 2.456 m). Nida is the starting point for treks an attraction for nature lovers visiting Rethymno and Crete.
In the holy Idaion cave according to myths was the birth place and first home to Zeus. A worship place during Minoan and first Hellenistic years the use of Idaion caves dates back to the end of Neolithic times as findings in the site indicate.

Kamara cave

A village that suffered during WWII Kamara is starting point to an uphill trek taking you to the cave of Kamara northeast of the village (3-4 hr walk). Overlooking the valley of Messaras and the Libyan sea is the impressive cave directly under the Black Top (1.950 m). Findings of various periods as well as a large number of Minoan eggshell ware used for religious offerings were revealed in the cave. The village derives its name from the decorative style of this Minoan pottery with bright colors known as Kamara typical of that age. Kamara village and cave are located on the south base of Psiloritis Mountain 32 km southeast of Panormos.

Vorizano Gorge

At about 3km east of Kamara is the mountainous village Vorizia. Trekking in the Vorizano gorge lush with Kermes oak leads first to the plateau of Nida, continues to the Cave of Kamara and descends to the village of Kamara. Along the way one has a view of the few remaining forests of Crete. On a clear day the trek offers views onto the southern-most point of Crete and Europe – the island of Gavdos.

Amari valley

Located in the former province of Amari southeast of Rethymno the fertile valley bearing the same name was one of the main passages from the northern to the south part of Crete. Due to its important geographic position the valley played a significant role in the history of Crete. Besides its natural beauty it features an important number of byzantine churches. Among the oldest dated frescos are those found in the church of Hagia Anna in Amari (1225 ac).
The valley and surrounding area is full of places to see. Among others Ano Meros with remains of an old monastery and church has a spectacular view onto Psiloritis as well as Samito (1.1014) and the valley of Amari; Meronas with a byzantine church of St Mary, cold springs and shaded square with a view onto the mountains; Apodoulou and Monastiraki with remains of Minoan settlements and byzantine churches.

Spili

Known as the hometown of a famous musician Thanasis Skordalos but also for its stone fountains in the central square, Spili is one of the most picturesque villages in the area. Located 27 km southwest of Panormos it features among its attractions fountains and springs. Built in the base of mountain Kedros its beauty is at a height during spring time with flora of the Cretan countryside is at its peak.

Vizari

The ruins of Palazzo des Saonazzi and the solar clock in the centre of the village are evidence to the high time the village once knew. Wood carving workshops producing house ware and decorative items from olive wood as well as the church of Hagios Nikolaos with byzantine frescos are also worth visiting. A stone mill and the old aqueduct still in a relatively good state situated a little further out of the village on the western banks of the artificial reservoir are additional attractions. Vizari is next to Fourfoura, hosting the Kourites Municipality and about 23 km south of Panormos.

Kourtaliotis Canyon

A canyon of wild beauty Kourtaliotis unravels from the Koxare village along the banks of Kourtaliotis River between Kouroupa (899 m) and the Xiro Mountain (904m) and descends through a small palm tree forest onto one of the most beautiful beaches of South Crete.

Preveli monastery

Set prominently against the mountains and wild seafront of south Crete is the monastery of Preveli west of the mouth of Kourtaliotis River. Due to its strategic position the monastery was used as hideout and an enclave of resistance during various conflicts that took place on the island of Crete. After the battle of Crete in the WWII it served as a station facilitating the departure of ally troops out of Rethymno. The museum has a library, relics, and religious vessels, church scriptures as well as property titles.

Milos

Milos or Miloi is an abandoned village in a small lush canyon 19 km west – south of Panormos and about 4 km south east of Rethymno. You can walk through the remains of the old settlement to see stone houses built in traditional architecture, as well as caves and churches and particularly the byzantine temple of Hagios Antonios.

Kourna Lake

Kourna is one of the two lakes in Crete. It is a rare geological formation known as a natural lake with porous ground allowing water to collect on one side and impermeable rock on the other ensuring that the water is held in the natural reservoir. Bordered by lush vegetation the lake offers itself as bathing site. The neighbouring village of Kournas, bearing the name given to the lake by Arabs, has a significant cultural heritage with byzantine churches, Minoan burial sites, and Venetian buildings. The village also has restaurants catering to visitors.

Argiroupoli

Argiroupoli is a picturesque village built over the site of ancient Lappa, in the Municipality of Lappa (15 km southwest of Rethymno). One of the most important cities of west Crete Lappa flourished during Roman times and had its own coin and two ports one giving to the north and the other to the south coast of Crete. Building materials use in ancient and byzantine times were re-used in building the contemporary city. Cultural heritage of the area includes among others a roman mosaic, the ancient necropolis, springs and old water mills as well as one of Crete’s oldest trees.

Fodele

Home of famous painter Dominikos Theotokopoulos (El Greco) Fodele stands in a fertile plain with orange orchards 25 km east of Panormos. His home is found to the northeast of the village where there is a small museum dedicated to Crete’s great painter.

Patsos gorge and cave (also known as Hagios Antonios)

A worship site dating back to ancient times Patsos is one of two caves found close to the Patsos village in the municipality of Sivritos (22 km southwest of Panormos), with the other cave named Fournare. The most visited of the two, Patsos stands in a small and thickly vegetated gorge with rapid currents where items of Minoan Hellenistic and roman times have been found.




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