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The beach here is long, curved stretches of good, wide sand and some shingle, fronting the promenade and stretching for around 12 mls to the E of town; said to be some of the best in Crete, bathing is good and generally safe with most water sports available. Beaches have plenty of loungers and parasols, and usually a public-access snack bar provided by beachfront hotels and apartment blocks. A rocky coastline to the W with some strong currents.

There are a number of good restaurants with excellent (but not always cheap) seafood around the harbour. Many local-style tavernas and restaurants at the hotels. The inner harbour sports an array of touristy restaurants and fish tavernas, many of which are expensive for what they are; the Samaria taverna and O Zefyros are more reasonably priced and two of the best here. Better value can be found in the streets around the Rimóndi fountain where there are some old-fashioned cafes serving local fare including delicious helpings of traditional yoghurt and honey. These include Kyria Maria, Agrimia and Zanfoti Kafenío, all overlooking the fountain.

In the daytime, activities are based around the beach and water based activities including water-skiing, diving and windsurfing. Many visitors enjoy exploring the town, taking in the fortress, mosques, churches and archaeological museum. A wine festival is held at the City Park every July.

Excursions are easily made to Heraklion, Hania or the monastery of Arkadhi. Something for most visitors, whether seeking history and culture, top-of-the-range luxury or basic accommodation and the beach. A good base for exploring W Crete. Very good choice of hotels in all classes, along with some holiday complexes and apartments. Frequent bus services to neighbouring resorts, Chania, Heraklion and Aghios Nikolaos, which makes exploring relatively simple. A minitrain runs around Platanes and town-centre seafront areas. Ferries to mainland Greece and some smaller islands. Many car- and bike-hire outlets.

Night time boasts a good selection of bars (some with music), tavernas, discos and bouzouki nightclubs, concentrated at the harbour and in the old town.

Daily boat excursions are the latest activity in Rethymnon, taking tourists to the beautiful beaches at Bali or Marathi, and include lunch at a local taverna with unlimited wine. Evening cruises are also a popular activity.