Head south from Rethymno to the fascinating Cemetery of Armeni, for a peaceful visit filled with morning birdcall. From there, head west to quaint Argyroupoli to explore the ruins. Cool off by the springs and enjoy a fresh seafood lunch. Return to Rethymno to explore its Venetian fortress and labyrinth-like historic quarter. Dine at Avli and then wander along the picturesque harbour to catch the sunset.
Get an early start in Plakias and beat the crowds to Preveli Beach. Later, head back uphill for a dose of Cretan history at Moni Preveli. Say goodbye to civilisation and get lost in the maze of winding coastal roads leading to the fabulously secluded beaches of Triopetra and Agios Pavlos. When you’re done splashing, head back to Plakias and drive north, taking in the stunning Kotsifou Gorge. On your way back down, stop in Myrthios for a modern Cretan country dinner at Vrisi.
From Panormo or Bali, take the short drive to moody Melidoni Cave, site of a horrendous massacre under Turkish rule. Carry on to Margarites to browse for handmade pottery and lunch on a scenic taverna terrace. Next, visit the atmospheric, history-soaked Moni Arkadiou. For an authentic Cretan feast, make dinner reservations at Agreco Farm, near Adele.