Crete is distinctive among Greek islands for its snow-capped mountains, so we couldn’t let our time end without seeing the beauty of the interior (especially after we learned about the friendly people of mountain villages from a resident of Rethymno City). Luckily, the Rethymno prefecture’s tourist office provided us with a handful of printed brochures for driving and hiking itineraries – Europe’s famous E4 long-distance hiking trail, which starts in Spain and ends in Greece, winds through Crete – so our dilemma became “Which one?”
Leaving from Rethymno City, we chose a half-day drive through the highlands of Roustika, Agios Konstantinos, and Argiroupoli before making our way to the next stopover, Chania. Follow along while we show you what we saw:
How could I resist a village with a name like Roustika? Rustic it was (though the name might derive from the Arabic “roustak,” or village); this is the kind of place where you won’t see a sign above a market or taverna, because it’s assumed that everybody already knows where they are. It’s also home to Venetian architecture and a famous two-aisled, frescoed church from the 14th century church, Panaghia and Sotiras Christos.
Agios Konstantinos was a summer retreat for Venetian nobility, and you can still feel the gentle breezes that created their cool haven.
Argiroupoli, famous for its waterfalls, sits near the ruins of the ancient city of Lappa. It’s also famous for fresh trout, which might be what this creature was searching for:
The mountain-fresh breezes and snow-capped views of this region made our drive one of the highlights of the trip. A bit further south and we would have made it to steep canyons, Ideon Andron cave (purported early home of the god Zeus), and on to the Libyan Sea. We’ll just have to save those for our next trip … if we can tear ourselves away from the highlands.
*Special thanks to the Crete Tourism Board and Rethymno Tourist Office for invaluable assistance with planning this trip. To read about our commitment to candid and balanced reviews, see our disclosures page.