Image by SOBERKA Richard / hemis.fr Getty Images
Looming over Rethymno, the star-shaped Venetian fortress cuts an imposing figure with its massive walls and bastions but was nevertheless unable to stave off the Turks in 1646. Over time, an entire village took shape on the grounds, most of which was destroyed in WWII. Views are fabulous from up here and it’s fun to poke around the ramparts, palm trees and remaining buildings, most notably the Sultan Bin Ibrahim Mosque with its huge dome.
The mosque hosts occasional musical events, while other buildings (like the twin buildings of the Bastion of Agios Nikolaos) are used to showcase art exhibits.