The lovely seaside village of Adelianos Kampos in northern Crete by Rethymno is a convenient destination for those interested in a relaxing beach holiday and easy access to some of Crete’s most fascinating sights and activities.
Where is Adelianos Kampos Located?
Adelianos Kampos is directly outside of Rethymnon, just 4 kilometers east of the city. It’s at the edge of the Adelian Plain, from which it takes its name – “Kampos” means plain. The beautiful Venetian Port town of Rethymnon is located between Chania in the west and the capital city of Heraklion in the east.
How to Get to Adelianos Kampos
Adelianos Kampos is very easy to reach, in the heart of the north coast of the island. If you are arriving at Nikos Kazantzakis International Airport in Heraklion, you can pick up your car rental directly in Heraklion Airport. From there, you can get directly on the highway and be in Adelianos Kampos in an hour.
If you are arriving by ferry, a car can be waiting to meet you directly in the port.
There is also a car rental depot at Chania Airport. Similarly, if you are arriving by ferry, a car can meet you at Souda bay – the ferry port for Chania – and you can be on the road at once. From here, Adelianos Kampos is also just an hour away.
The History of Adelianos Kampos
The little town of Adelianos Kampos itself is relatively new – an extension of the city of Heraklion in response to growth and a perfect place to accommodate visitors. The beach is fantastic for those who are fans of organized beaches.
The Adelianos Kampos is a fertile plain, the largest of the Arkadi municipality. Olive groves and vineyards flourish here.
Neighboring Rethymno is rich in fascinating history. This beautiful port town is full of Venetian architecture and monuments. But of course, like most places in Crete, its history started much earlier, in the Bronze Age with the Minoans, when the city was called “Rithymna.” Coins of that era show a circle made of two dolphins, the town crest.
What to See and Do in Adelianos Kampos
Adelianos Kampos has a beach almost 2 kilometers long, and that, of course, is the main attraction – the beautiful waters, the services, and the water sports facilities. But of course, here one is centrally located in every sense – next to lovely Rethymnon, directly between the two Venetian cities of Chania and Heraklion, and in one of the narrowest points of the island with fast access to the splendor of the south coast and all its many attractions. There are many excellent things to see and do very close to Adelianos Kampos.
Beaches Near Adelianos Kampos, Crete
Beaches of course are one of the main reasons to visit Crete, and having a car here means you can explore the very finest of them. Here are some of the best beaches an easy and beautiful drive away from Adelianos Kampos.
Bali beach is actually several beaches – a series of coves that face east. The first one is Livadi, a lovely pebble beach, with tavernas nearby. The central cove, which has more tavernas and shops and a small harbor, has the shallow, child-friendly Varkotopos beach. For the best swimming, head to the small third cove which has the beach Karavostasis.
Plenty of superb beaches await you on the south coast. The Libyan sea features crisper temperatures and pristine, unspoiled beaches with far fewer crowds. Frangokastelo – “The Frankish Castle” is framed by the namesake beautiful Medieval fortress. The beach has shallow and crystal clear waters, and many services nearby. Frangokastelo is about an hour and a quarter from Adelianos Kampos.
Directly south of Adelianos Kampos and just 45 minutes away are the beaches of Souda and Plakias. A freshwater river runs into Souda beach so there is a lot of vegetation, adding to the beauty of the pure sands and turquoise waters. Nearby Plakias beach is a full-service beach with sun loungers and umbrellas, showers, and changing rooms. Here you can enjoy water sports and beach volleyball, or just lounge in the shade under the tamarisk trees.
Lastly, just to the east of here is the magnificent Preveli beach. Be prepared for a hike down the many, many stairs descending the cliff. But you won’t notice a thing because of the stunning views of the waves and the palm forest lining the shores of the river that runs through the gorge.
Activities Near Adelianos Kampos
Centrally located, Adelianos Kampos is perfect for sightseeing. Rethymno itself, just next door, is a wonderful destination for a morning coffee and a stroll around the marina, or a romantic evening at a taverna. The Rimondi Fountain in the old town and the Venetian Fortezza fortress guarding the harbor add plenty of atmosphere.
Chania, just an hour’s drive away, is largely considered the loveliest town of Crete. From the Venetian boathouses to the enchanting traditional architecture painted in pinks and ochres, to the Giali Tzami old mosque, the harbor is gorgeous – walk out to the Egyptian lighthouse for an unusual view, then get lost strolling in the jasmine-scented alleys of the old town.
There are also some enchanting villages near Adelianos Kampos that will give you an authentic experience of Crete. One is Spili – a refreshingly green mountain village that makes an easy detour on your way to the south coast. Traditional tavernas and small shops selling local crafts are enough reason, but the star of the Spili is the fountain, dating from the Venetian era. Cold fresh mountain water gushes with great force from the mouths of many lion heads, carved from stone.
Margarites village, about a half an hour from Adelianos Kampos, has a tradition in ceramics that dates back centuries, owing to the excellence of the local clay. Here you can visit many workshops who craft both ancient designs – clever innovations such as the “Pythagoras cup”, and beautiful hand-painted tableware.
Did you know that Crete has its own special indigenous grape varieties, dating from ancient times? You can increase your knowledge of Cretan wines during your stay at Oinochoos House, just west of Rethymnon, on a gorgeous terrace overlooking the sea. You can also visit the vines themselves cultivated at the family-run vineyard Kourkoulou, where you can also enjoy a tasting of varieties such as vidiano and liatiko.
Are you looking for a classic Cretan night out, complete with excellent Lyra playing, traditional dancing, and Cretan meze with raki? Then head to Poliou House in the village of Asteri. If you go by day, you can visit the museum that gives you a good idea of the traditional Cretan lifestyle before the war.
Cultural Excursions Near Adelianos Kampos
One of the most famous monasteries of Crete is very close to Adelianos Kampos. The Arkadi Monastery is a beautiful example of the Cretan Renaissance – while much of Greece was under Ottoman rule during the Renaissance, Crete was in the hands of the Venetians. This was a time of flourishing for arts and culture, and you’ll see it in the baroque and renaissance facade of the chapel. The Arkadi Monastery is also an important sight in history, with many heroes martyred here in the quest for independence from the Ottomans (they came later to Crete than they did to other places in Greece).
One of the essential historic sights of Crete and indeed of all the world is Knossos, the main Palace of the Minoans, just outside of Heraklion. Here, thanks to the vivid and enthusiastic reconstruction of Sir Arthur Evans at the beginning of the 20th century, the life of this advanced Bronze-Age culture comes alive. You can follow it with a visit to the Archaeological Museum of Crete where many treasures from the excavation are now housed.
Children and adults alike will enjoy an education trip to the CretAquarium, where you can learn about the ecosystems of the sea and some of its most popular inhabitants, like the protected caretta caretta sea turtle. This is one of the largest marine science and education facilities in the Mediterranean.
Lastly, one rarely thinks of contemporary art when in Crete. Yet Rethymnon has a fine contemporary museum, specialising in works of Greek artists from the 1950s and onwards.
Staying in Adelianos Kampos
Whether you are looking for a convenient family stay or a holiday on the road with plenty of adventure and culture, Adelianos Kampos makes a fine home base.