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Panormo beaches

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Beach description

Panormo, located approximately 20km east of the city of Rethymnon in the Milopotamos province, is a peaceful coastal village. It has experienced rapid growth in recent years while preserving its traditional charm. Its attractiveness lies in the untouched beauty of the Cretan countryside, the charming village, stunning beaches, and convenient accessibility.

Panormo boasts two primary beaches and several smaller ones. The village’s Greek name, which translates to ‘a location with a natural port’, aptly describes Panormos as it is a natural harbour with tranquil waters. The beach at the harbour, known as Limanaki, serves as the region’s port. It’s sandy, with clear waters, making it perfect for families with young children due to its shallow waters and the protection from waves provided by a cement pier. The beach is well-equipped with umbrellas, showers, water sports facilities, and plenty of accommodation and dining options nearby. Adjacent to Limanaki is a smaller, less populated sandy beach.

The second main beach, Limni, is situated just 200m west of the village. Similar to Limanaki, it is sandy and shielded by a rocky pier, essentially dividing it into two separate beaches. Further east, a small, secluded cove with a pebbly beach is perfect for undisturbed relaxation and snorkelling during calm seas. Panormo can be reached via direct bus services from Rethymnon or suburban bus services between Heraklion and Rethymnon. Excursion boats also operate from the local harbour.

A short history of the area

Panormo is historically significant and is thought to be located on the site of the ancient city of Panormus. The discovery of the impressive basilica of St. Sophia, dating back to the 6th century AD, confirms the presence of an ancient city. The basilica, situated 500m southwest of the village, is considered one of the largest Christian churches in Greece and the biggest in West Crete. The village is also known as Kastelli of Milopotamos, named after the fort built by the Genoese conquerors in 1206, which was later captured by the Venetians. Remnants of this fort can still be seen near the harbour.

In more recent history, Panormo served as a hub for transporting goods produced in the surrounding region, particularly olives and carobs. A renovated old carob mill, now used as a cultural centre, can still be visited. The village was bombed during the German Occupation. The construction of a new national road in the 1970s, adjacent to the village, and the building of a marina in 1980 has contributed to Panormo’s tourism growth. The village celebrates three festivals every year: Ascension, St. John on June 24, and St. Nicholas on December 6.