Between Mt Psiloritis and the White Mountains, a portal to the past awaits. One of Greece’s most well-preserved medieval towns (and Crete’s third largest city), Rethymno combines an assortment of architectural gems from the Venetian and Ottoman periods with a modern vibe and a smorgas-bord of sandy beaches.

Head to the south side of Rethymno, where Ammoudi, Dammoni and Klisidi create one long strip of sandy panorama with turquoise waters, or hop on a boat to the famous Preveli beach (at the foot of Kourtaliotis gorge), where the palm tree forest turns the waters an emerald green.

On the north side of Rethymno, the secluded beaches of Geropotamos and Episcopi will bring you into a mystical communion with the mighty Cretan nature.

Back at Rethymno’s spellbinding Old Town, explore the Venetian harbor with its restored lighthouse and the Fortezza. Take in the imposing minaret of Neratzi Mosque, visit the Rimondi fountain that’s been around since 1626 and complete your travel to the past by admiring the Venetian architecture of Makri Steno. You may find it difficult to return to the present.