Archaeological Museum of Rethymno
Multimedia Map Description

How to get

Crete is renowned globally as a hub for tourism and leisure. With countless stunning beaches, upscale hotels, vibrant nightclubs, eateries, taverns, state-of-the-art water parks, and entertainment complexes, the island promises a vivid and memorable experience for visitors. However, its rich historical heritage often goes unnoticed. Crete has a proud past and significant memories to share. Recognizing this, the Greeks have established a plethora of fascinating museums across the island to celebrate and preserve their cultural legacy.

In the historical town of Rethymno, a museum showcases its rich past. Human settlement here traces back to the era of the Minoan civilization, over 5000 years ago. The town later flourished as an autonomous entity, minting its own currency. Dominions shifted through Roman, Byzantine, Venetian, and Ottoman rule, until Greek refugees from Constantinople settled here in 1923.


The Rethymno Museum was established in 1887 thanks to the Society of Education Friends. Initially housed in the Venetian Loggia, a local landmark, the collection outgrew the space. By 1991, it moved to an old Turkish prison—a location no longer used for incarceration, allowing for the historical pieces to be displayed. This arrangement lasted until 2015, when the museum’s treasures were transferred to a former church building.

Why Visit Ancient Relics?

It’s common to hear, «What’s new to see there?» But consider this: you’re looking at artifacts that have survived for over five millennia! Imagine a potter shaping a vase during an era when the Earth was thought to be flat, well before Columbus sailed to America, and even before the great pyramids rose. These silent artifacts are a portal to an ancient past, right before our eyes.

Exploring Rethymno’s Heart Located in the vibrant core of Rethymno, the museum enjoys a prime spot amid the city’s lively ambiance. Surrounded by an array of charming cafes, eateries, and boutiques, it sits at the epicenter of cultural activity. Must-See Landmarks Within Reach Just steps away, visitors can immerse themselves in the city’s rich heritage:

— The Venetian elegance of Rimondi Fountain

— The tales woven within the Historical and Folklore Museum

— The majestic Fortezza Castle

— The old-world charm of the stone gates

To be in Rethymno’s hub and not experience these treasures would be a missed opportunity not to be overlooked!

Retimo Museum Exhibition

The museum features a compact single gallery, which is informally segmented into various thematic areas. Artifacts unearthed during excavations in Retimno and its surroundings are on display. The section dedicated to the late Neolithic era showcases an assortment of tools, figurines, and pottery retrieved from the Melidoni and Gerani caves.

The collection dedicated to the Middle Minoan era includes dozens of items such as Monasteraki seals and a variety of pottery. These artifacts were primarily unearthed during excavations in Apodoulou, Vrissinas, and Monasteraki. The Late Minoan period is showcased through a selection of bronze tools, weapons, ceramics, terracotta statuettes, jewelry, and vases adorned with floral patterns. The majority of these relics were discovered at the cemetery in Armenoi.

A noteworthy set of sculptures was unearthed in Agrirópolis, Eleutherna, and Stavromenos. These artifacts bridge the Classical and Roman eras within a single display. Among the items showcased are glass vessels, exquisite gold jewelry, and ancient lamps, particularly from Agrirópolis and Stavromenos. The museum’s prized piece is a bas-relief depicting Aphrodite, dating back to the 1st century.

How to get

Situated in a former church within a quiet alley of Rethymno’s downtown, the museum can be reached using the central city park as a landmark. Exit the park towards the nearby bus stop, then head north. Cross Igoumenou Gavriil street to find «Koo Koo Brunch» cafe on your left. Keep walking straight, cross Dimakopoulou street, and you’ll hit Eth. Antistaseos. Continue past two intersections and take the next left into an alley where the museum awaits.

The road network might seem complex due to the narrow streets, but don’t worry—just stick to these directions, and you’ll be fine. From other major cities in Crete, such as Heraklion or Chania, take the E75/EO90 highway that runs along the island’s northern coast to reach Rethymno. The museum is located about 4 km north of the highway. For ease, input your destination into your GPS and follow its prompts, as Rethymno has many pedestrian-only zones.


—Photography Policy: You can capture memories with your camera inside, but remember to check with the staff or look out for signs about which items are off-limits for photos.

—Local Shops: Don’t miss out on the quaint stores nearby. They’re a treasure trove for unique souvenirs that might catch your eye.

—Take Your Time: The museum might not be large, but it’s packed with fascinating pieces. Allocate about an hour to thoroughly soak in the experience without rushing.

--Visitor Alert: Please note that outdated maps may still indicate the museum’s former location adjacent to the fortress; however, it has been relocated since 2015. Exercise caution when navigating to ensure you reach the current site.