Rethimno has new and old parts like Chania. The old town with its maze of narrow streets sits beneath the venetian fortress, there is an old venetian harbour lined with tavernas and a modern harbour from where the boat trips to Santorini and other places leave. Rethimno is about30kms to the east of Almirida along the main highway.
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The ruins at Knossos were first discovered in 1878, but it was not until 1900 that English archaeologist Arthur Evans purchased the entire site and conducted massive excavations calling the culture he discovered Minoan. It is a popular tourist destination today, and has been substantially if imaginatively rebuilt, making the site accessible to the casual visitor in a way that a field of unmarked ruins is not. It has been suggested that Knossos is the source of the myth of the Labyrinth, an elaborate mazelike structure constructed for King Minos of Crete and designed by the legendary artificer Daedalus to hold the Minotaur, a creature that was half man and half bull and was eventually killed by the Athenian hero Theseus
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This is the longest gorge in Europe, its length being 18 km and is descending from the Plateau at 1200m high, all the way down to sea-level at Agia Roumeli village with spectacular scenery all the way. Walking the whole distance will take 4 to 7 hr at a reasonable pace . The walk is long and can be arduous but it is not a difficult walk. Still, every day people get into trouble or end up having an experience which is far from pleasant. The most common factors are:
People who never do any exercise and suddenly want their body to walk 16 uneven km without protesting.
Bad shoes creating blisters and / or foot-ache.
Problems with the heat (in summer).
Knee problems that develop during the steep descent at the beginning of the walk and have no time to get better once that original strain is over.
However if you don' t feel fit enough then there is an easier approach: the lazy way. You start from Agia Roumeli and walk up to The Sideroportes (Iron Gates) which is the most narrow part of the gorge; you almost touch both sides of the rock walls at the same time while these walls rise 1000 ft up. Please check boat times for Agia Roumeli before you set off if you are not part of an organised tour. The full walk is best done by organised coach trip as it is a one way trip( the only way to leave Agia Roumeli is by boat there are no roads from here).The best time of year to do Samaria would probably be April,May or September,October when the weather is cooler and the walk is less crowded.
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Try Samaria the lazy way as a less strenuous alternative, drive to Chora Sfakion catch the ferry to Roumelli, walk up the gorge to the iron gates and back ( mostly flat), catch the ferry back to Chora Sfakion.
Choro Sfakion Ferry timetable
Ferry Timetable Chora Sfakion Ferry Timetable
In 1579, the Venetians' built a fortress on Spinalonga over the ruins of an acropolis. They kept control of the island until the Ottoman Empire took possession of it in 1715.
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