Top Museums in Rethymnon That You Will Want to Check when Visiting Crete!

greece - crete - rethymnon - arkadi - arkadi monastery museum

Explore the history and culture of the Rethymnon region through its collection of museums. You will find the most amazing discoveries throughout history, learn the unbelievable things that happened in this area, and definitely spend great time immersed in the atmosphere of myths and legends as well as the cultural heritage of Rethymnon.


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Essentials for your Adventures in Crete!

Getting to Crete: Nothing like sailing from one island to the other. Check Ferryhopper to book your ferry tickets in advance.

Where to stay on the island: It’s always wise to compare, check Booking.com for the best accommodation deals.

Top-rated tours in Crete: If you’re a fan of our beaches, then don’t miss this Cruise to Balos or a Day Trip to Elafonisi. If you came to the island seeking adventure, then hike the Samaria Gorge. Finally, for those interested in Crete’s past and history, don’t miss a visit to Knossos Palace.

Want to see Crete better? Explore it on wheels! Personally, use Discover Cars to go where my old jalopy won’t take me.

Show me the money! No, really, need cash? Wise is the best online money transfer service with a debit card accepted all over Greece.

Always have with you: A daypack for excursions, the Lonely Planet Guide, or my West Crete digital guide!

Want to discover Chania?

My digital guide to West Crete is on sale this summer!
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Where to Stay in Rethymnon

If you’re coming to Rethymnon for your vacation, and to discover the best that the old town has to offer, then book a place in the center, this way, it’ll be easy to walk everywhere without stressing about transport.

These are some of the places to stay in Rethymnon that I recommend. Budget hotels have prices ranging from €  to €. Mid-range hotels range from € to € per night. Upscale accommodation can be booked for more than €100 a night. 

I’ve also written a complete guide to the best hotels in Rethymnon and a guide to the best holiday rental homes in the area too.

Small budget: You can spend the night in Rethymnon without breaking the bank. When the budget is tight, I recommend either Atelier or Kallithea Studios.

Mid-range accommodation: Spend a little more and enjoy a stay in Archipelagos Hotel or Bellagio Luxury Boutique Hotel.

Boutique places: For a more luxurious stay, check the beautiful premises of Pepi Boutique Hotel for adults only or Avli Lounge Apartments.

Check the Best Museums in Rethymnon

The Loggia, Rethymnon Old Town

If you want to explore Crete’s many stories and legends, its history and its past, it’s a good idea to spend a few hours in one of the many museums spread all over the island.

If you’ve already visited Crete’s capital, you’ve certainly heard about the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, one of the most important exhibitions of Minoan art all over the world. However, there are also beautiful museums you can visit in other regions.

The region of Rethymnon has a small but interesting collection of museums, galleries, and exhibitions of immense value which you should not skip during your trip. Take a look…

Archeological Museum of Rethymnon

Archaic Greek inscription (boustrophedon script), a law against excessive drinking from Ancient Eleftherna, 600-450 BC. (Source: Zde – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0)

Let’s start from the main and probably most important museum in town – the Archeological Museum of Rethymnon. This museum presents a great collection of exhibits chronologically displayed from the Neolithic to the Late Roman period.

The place gives a great opportunity to learn about the history of the whole region as the collections include findings from caves and ancient sites from all over the Rethymnon area.

The museum is located in the church of St. Francis, in the heart of the Old Town so you definitely won’t miss it.

The entrance ticket is €2. The museum is open daily, from 10 am to 6 pm in summer, and from 8 am to 3 pm in winter. On Mondays it’s closed.

Location: St. Francis Church – 4 Agiou Fragiskou str.

Paleontological Museum of Rethymnon

This small museum is worth a visit, especially if you are a fan of fossils and the prehistoric era.

The museum is located in the beautiful Mastabas building, in Veli Pasha Mosque. Here, you will find real size reproductions of endemic Cretan animals, including dwarf elephants, polymorphic deers, and pygmy hippos.

You can also discover some interesting and unknown facts about Greek myths and stories. The museum hosts educational events and sessions both for adults and children.

The entrance is €3. In summer, the museum is open from 9 am to 3 pm from Mondays to Saturdays. During winter, it’s open from 9 am to 3 pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

Location: Corner of Satha & Markellou str.

Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete

(Courtesy: Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete).

The Museum of Contemporary Art of Crete has a vast collection of Modern Greek Art from the 1950s to the present. It includes spectacular pieces of Geometric, and Abstract art as well as Neo-expressionism. There is also a section devoted to Digital and Conceptual art.

Inside the museum, don’t miss the exclusive works of Rethymnon’s pride Lefteris Kanakakis. The permanent collection attracts visitors from all over the world.

Some exceptional temporary exhibitions are held in this museum too. The guided tours specially designed for adults, children, and youngsters guarantee an entertaining visit. The admission ticket is €3.

Opening hours:
Summer:
Tue – Fri: 9am – 1pm & 7pm – 10pm.
Sat – Sun: 10am – 3pm.
Winter:
Tue – Fri: 9am – 2pm, Wed: 9am – 2pm & 6pm – 9 pm, Sat – Sun 10am – 3pm
Closed on Mondays.

Location: 32 Mesologhiou str.

Historical and Folk-Art Museum of Rethymnon

(This photo is a courtesy of Tripadvisor).

This is a small, yet very interesting museum dedicated to the history of the area of Rethymnon, as well as the whole island. The museum features different collections from the early ages to the 20th century.

Exhibitions mostly feature collections of tools related to farming and traditional professions. There’s also an important section dedicated to folklore art and musical instruments.

For those interested in most recent events, there is also a fascinating section dedicated to the Cretan wars, such as the resistance during WW2 and the Battle of Arkadi. The museum is housed in a renovated Venetian mansion. The entrance fee is €4costs. 

The museum is open from Monday to Saturday, from 10 am to 3 pm.

Location: 30 M. Vernardou Street.

Stagakis Cretan Lyra Workshop and Museum

(This photo is a courtesy of Tripadvisor).

If you wish to be revealed the secrets of traditional Cretan musical instruments then this place is just for you.

For three generations, the Stagakis family has built its reputation as the best Cretan Lyra craftsmen. In the workshop, there is a little museum section where you can learn the history of crafting this unique musical instrument.

The owner will gladly tell you different stories and show you several musical instruments and even show you how to play them.

Kids love this place as they are warmly welcomed by the owner who lets them try some of the musical instruments. You can also witness the process of creating a Cretan Lyra.

There is no entrance fee. The shop is usually open in the morning (from 10 am to 4 pm), but it’s sometimes also open in the evening from 6 pm to 9 pm (Tue, Thur, Fri).

Location: Giannari 45.

Military Museum of Chromonastiri

(This photo is a courtesy of Tripadvisor).

In the picturesque small village of Chromonastiri, just 10 km outside of Rethymnon, you will find a great military museum dedicated to the history of the various wars and battles that took place on Crete from the Venetian era to WWWII.

The exhibits include excellent examples of weapons, ammunition, military equipment as well as a huge collection of historic photos. In the yard, you will find perfectly preserved military vehicles.

The museum is housed in a beautiful Venetian villa, that once belonged to a noble family and which was later on granted to the Greek Army.

The entrance fee is €3 Euros. The museum is open from Tue to Fri, from 9 am to 5 pm. On Sundays, it’s open from 10 am to 2 pm. 

Location: Central Square, Chromonastiri village.

Museum of Ancient Eleftherna

Visiting the museum with the kids. You can’t take pictures inside the museum.

Eleftherna (also Eleutherna) was one of the most important cities in ancient Crete.

The spectacular Museum of Ancient Eleftherna houses the artifacts found during the excavation works of the nearby archaeological site of Eleftherna city.

Here, you’ll find here amazing antiques from the Geometric and Archaic periods and learn about the mysterious history of Eleftherna.

Do pay attention to the interactive videos, holograms, and movies that show you why the ancient city of Eleutherna was so important.

An interesting thing to notice, some artifacts found in Eleftherna are related to events described by Homer in The Iliad and The Odyssey.

The admission ticket is €2. The museum is open from Mon to Sun, from 8.30 am to 3.30 pm. It’s closed on Tuesdays.

Location: Epar.Od. Aggelianon-Elefthernas 123, Eleftherna 

Folk Museum of Spili

GREECE - CRETE - RETHYMNON - SPILI - FOUNTAIN LION HEADS
Better known for the lion-head fountain, Spili also hosts an interesting Folk Museum.

Located in the marvelous mountain village of Spili, this museum will make you travel back at least 200 years.

See how a traditional Cretan kitchen would look like, step into a shoemaker’s workshop, discover how traditional colorful carpets were made, and enjoy the atmosphere of old Cretan times.

The entrance is free. The Folk Museum of Spili opens every day from 10 am to 6 pm.

Location: Agiou Charalampous, Spili.

Arkadi Monastery

Arkadi Entrance
Entrance to the complex.

Arkadi Monastery is not only a holy place but also a remarkable historical monument. You can visit the monastery and wander around its rooms and cells discovering how everyday life is for its inhabitants.

Inside the complex, there is also a museum showcasing precious, holy relics and icons. A separate room is dedicated to the Battle of Arkadi, an armed fight that was written in the history of Crete as a symbol of braveness, self-sacrifice, and unbelievable courage.

The admission is 2 Euros.
Opening hours in winter: Mon-Sat from 9 am to 5 pm. Sundays from 10 am to 5 pm.
In summer: Mon-Sat: from 9 am to 2 pm. Sunday: 10 am – 8 pm.

Location: Arkadi.

Preveli Monastery Museum

Moni Preveli.

The Monastery of Preveli is one of the most significant religious centers in the Rethymnon area. It’s set in a place of breathtaking natural beauty.

Inside the monastery, there is a museum where you can find an impressive collection of spiritual relics, including clerical vestments embroidered with gold and precious icons from the 17th century.

The monks that live there will gladly give you a small tour if they are free from their duties.

The entrance is €2.5 Euros (free in winter).
The monastery is open daily from 8 am to 1.30 pm and from 4 pm to 7 pm. 

Location: Piso Moni Preveli

Museum of Wooden Sculpture, Axos

(This photo is a courtesy of Tripadvisor).

In the traditional village of Axos, you will find the unique Museum of Wooden Sculpture.

Here you can have a guided tour from the owner and artist Georgios Koutantos, who will tell you the stories that lie behind every sculpture, all of them handmade and life-sized.

The artist gets inspiration from everyday life, but also from Crete’s and Greece’s traditions and myths. This is a perfect stop by if you are discovering the mountain villages of Rethymnon.

The entrance fee is €4 Euros. The museum is open daily from 8 am to 9 pm.

Location: Axos village.

Useful Tips for Your Visit

Children and students usually have a reduced ticket, you just need to show a valid document that shows your age.

Free admissions days (in most museums) are March 6th, April 18th, May 18th, the last weekend of September, and during national holidays.

Opening hours and entrance fees are subject to change, so please check in advance at the official website of the museum or from locals. 

Don’t be shy to talk to the owners of small museums.

They always ready to share their knowledge, give you a nice souvenir, or even allow you to enter for free in the lower season.

Check ferry tickets to Greece here!


Have you been to any of these Rethymnon’s museums?
Let me know in the comments below!


Travel Plans for Crete?
More Resources to Organize Your Trip!

Start by heading right to my tips to plan a trip to Crete for in-depth details you need to know about Greece. You can also check my post to better know what to pack for a trip to the island or read this info to visit Crete with children!

Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your trip. If you want to tour West Crete, check my guide. Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!

Make Sure You’ve Got Everything For a Hassle-Free Vacation!

I never move around the islands without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy but light travel partner I just love. For short trips, I carry this little crossbody bag. If I drive, I pack my Nikon D7200 and a good travel guide: Lonely Planet’s Best of Greece & the Greek Islands.

When it comes to plane tickets, compare prices with a powerful search engine. However, nothing beats traveling by sea in Greece. With Ferry Hopper, you can book in advance at the lowest price.

For accommodation, I personally use Booking.com. Traveling to remote places is easier with Discover Cars. Other times, I join organized tours with GetYourGuide, which features anything from cooking lessons to airport transfer!

Are you coming to Crete any time soon?

Get in touch and let me know!

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Pin This Great Guide About What Museums to Visit in Rethymnon for Your Next Holiday in Crete!

Best museums in Rethymnon - Crete

About the author of this blog:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

Gabi has been living in Crete for the last five years. Here, she juggles being a solo mom, hosting culinary tours in the summer, translating, and working as a tech advisor.
She’s written for Greek Reporter, published two travel guides about Greece, and drunk more glasses of frappe than any regular person would be able to handle.


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