This trip combines Rethymno and Mili Gorge. A good mixture of strolling around the busy alleys of old town Rethymno and walking in lush green nature in the 4km (back and forth) Mili Gorge, just south of Rethymno. You can also go to Rethymno by bus and just spend the day because there is no direct bus to Mili Gorge. If you want to combine Rethymno with something else with the bus, have a look at daytrip tip 2, which combines Rethymno with the Arkadi Monastery.
Part 1: Plakias - Rethymno
Drive east out of Plakias via Lefkogeia and the Kourtaliotis Gorge towards Rethymno. When you hit the national road, pass the viaduct and turn left onto this highway. After 2km take a right U-turn at a chaotic intersection (you pass the Lidl supermarket). You drive into Rethymno and take a left turn after 2km towards the sea (there is a convenience store on the corner with fruit and vegetables stalled outside). You pass the bus station and park your car at the parking on your right (see map below). It is a short walk from here to the Fortezza and the Venetian Harbour and not too far from the Old Town and the Thursday morning market.
Rethymno has a lot of history because of the various occupations of Crete. The old architecture is a mix of Venetian and Ottoman style. There are the Venetian Harbour, the charming Old Town with its small alleys, the old gate (Guora Gate), tavernas and souvenir shops, an Ottoman Mosque and the Fortezza.
The city also houses a lot of museums, like the Archeological Museum, the Paleontological Museum, the Museum of Contemporary Art and History and Folk Art Museum, just to mention a few.
The Fortezza is a big citadel built by the Venetians and later conquered by the Ottomans. There are a number of buildings on this walled citadel and great views over Rethymno. It is definitely worth a visit!
Opening hours: 08:00-19:15 June-September and 10:00-17:00 October-May
Entrance fee: €4,00 (2019)
Part 2: Rethymno - Mili Gorge
If you have parked next to the bus stop you drive to and around the Fortezza, along the beach till the road is about to end. Here you take a right turn and at the next cross section you turn left and immediately right At the following fork you take the right road which goes under the national road/highway. You take the first right and drive to the entrance of the gorge at the village of Mili (there is a sign on your left).
The path in this gorge is flat and 4km (back and forth. The gorge is very green with a small river running through it. There are ruins of old watermills and a few churches.
At the end of the path, going up a paved road you'll find the Banana Cantina to have a drink or food before walking back. No entrance fee (2019
Part 3: Mili - Plakias
Drive back on the road you came from for 450 meters and take a left turn to Roussospiti and drive back towards Rethymno via Agia Irini and Anogia. Go on the national road/highway towards Chania and drive back to Plakias (exit for Rethymno, Agia Galini, Spili and Plakias).