Even visiting the worst marina ever has its benefits. Find out what we discovered when we moored at the Rethymno Marina in Crete.
After leaving our anchorage at Spinalonga Island, Crete we headed for Rethymno Marina.
And after sailing all day the sun was setting so we decided to duck into Bali to anchor rather than push onto Rethymno. Knowing what I know now, it was a very good decision. Chances where than no one would answer the VHF at Rethymno – more on that to come.
Bali was an excellent anchorage. The winds were slight so we were able to leave the boat and enjoy the surrounding bars, beaches, and tavernas. Read more on Bali here: Sailing around Crete – anchoring off the town of Bali
After 2 nights in Bali, we pulled up anchor and pressed onto Rethymno. It didn’t take us long to get there.
I wish that mooring in Rethymno Marina was as easy as Agios Nikolaos Marina but that would be far from the truth. In fact, our mooring experience turned into a nightmare.
Overall, the marina is in a state of disrepair.
The mooring lines are terrible – if you can find them. The visitor’s jetty is not a good place if the winds come from the south. And several times per day you get Captain Barbosa’s pirate ship slowly going by oozing out a black slime and ridiculous amounts of exhaust fumes.
The facilities are abysmal. Absolutely terrible. The windows have bars on them. Everything is cracked, broken, and falling apart. The men’s shower had brown water at the bottom…the taps just poured out water. I was so disgusted by them that I didn’t take the time to take photos.
HOWEVER…the cost of the marina is only €10/night.
Furthermore, Rethymno is an incredibly interesting city. In addition to sightseeing in Rethymno, we stayed for a week using it as a base to see the south coast and visit Chania on the west. Read my write-up on Rethymno here: Sailing around Crete – Rethymno
Let me break this review down into the usual components so I know that I’ve covered everything:
Upon arrival, no one answered channel 16 and the marina’s call sign is not displayed. The pilot book offers no number nor does any of the websites on Rethymno marina. So you know, they operate under channel 67. When leaving the marina, the call sign is noticeable but it’s redundant by then!
After calling the port authority to get the call sign, my husband, Simon, called up to request a berth. He was instructed on where we could moor and then told we’d have to wait until 7 pm for an attendant to come to help us. That was 5 hours later!
The wind was blowing a gale but we didn’t want to motor around for 5 hours. Simon and I prepared the boat to go stern-to the jetty. We weren’t too worried as we’ve been able to moor up easily all summer.
All that being said, when we did go to the marina office, three days after we arrived, the staff were very kind. Doing the paperwork was easy and the few people we met were very accommodating.
On three or four occasions I did see a person with ‘Security’ written on the back of their shirt. Usually, they were talking to the fishermen casting a line off the side of the jetty.
The scenery around Rethymno Marina
The view from our boat was that of a Venitian castle, port, and a long strip of beautiful palm trees. Every morning as I went into the town to do my typing, I couldn’t help but take a picture across the marina. To the side of our berth, you could see the commercial port. During our weeklong stay, we saw the ferry to Santorini, 2 tankers, and a couple of large gullets. Otherwise, it was very quiet.
On the other side of the marina is a long beautiful stretch of sandy beach. As far as cities go, it’s very picturesque.
Comfort of mooring
The mooring lines were terrible, the position of the jetty wasn’t good. It seemed that with any wind there was a problem. One day it was hitting us from the North and we had to tie lines to our bow to keep us from swaying and the next day the wind was from the South and we had problems keeping the stern from hitting the jetty.
I did not feel safe until we tied our own line from the concrete mooring line base to our bow. Fortunately, our neighbor put on his scuba kit and helped to secure both our boats.
From our mooring, you could hear music playing into the night but it wasn’t very loud. I didn’t hear any traffic. The worst thing was the Captain Barbosa Pirate boat. On Sunday it seemed to be the loudest! And if the weather is bad they sail around the commercial port blaring Greek music and spreading exhaust fumes.
General Atmosphere on the Pontoon
The visitor’s pontoon is furthest from the land so for the most part, the people on the jetty were boat owners. On the other side, the opposite of us were small motorboats. Most evenings there were a few people on their boats in addition to some fishermen fishing off the jetty. Everyone was very nice and had a smile to share.
At the end of the jetty is a public walkway so you get quite a few kids messing around and couples walking by. The walkway was far enough from the boats and the kids all seemed quite behaved.
Facilities on the Jetty
The electricity and water worked fine. There is no wifi and if something doesn’t work, who knows how long it might be before help arrives. I must say that through the course of a week we didn’t have any disturbances.
Facilities on land
Don’t use the showers or toilets (pictured above). Just don’t even go there…
Overall, Rethymno Marina is falling apart!
If you want a nice shower or a secure holding, Rethymno is not the place to go. From what we were told, however, Heraklion is worse.
For us, however, our stay was most enjoyable. Aside from our mooring issues and remaining tied down, I quite liked the city. We enjoyed the Rethymno Red Bus tour, eating at the excellent restaurants in the old town, and exploring the beautiful Venetian ruins. Make sure to read: Sailing around Crete – Rethymno
Further, when the wind wasn’t blowing, and we felt happy to leave the boat, we enjoyed a trip through the Amari valley, a swim Agaia Galini and explorations at Gortys – Crete’s ancient capital city. We also took the time to drive to Chania and fell in love with the old town.
If time wasn’t an issue, we would have sailed to Chania.
During our day trip, we discovered the visitor’s pontoon to be mostly empty.
In fact, while sailing around Crete we found very few sailboats. Every marina or harbor we could get into was quiet. There was never a fear that we wouldn’t find a berth. And in general, the waters around Crete had few boats.
On land, it was almost impossible to find a chandlery and no one catered for boats. We couldn’t get ice anywhere. There were no grocery delivery services and finding a laundry took quite some time (my neighbor explained to me).
If you’re planning on sailing to Crete, the best marina I can recommend is Agios Nikolaos Marina. And as long as your prepared for Rethymno, you can’t beat the price.
Read All My Articles About Crete
To get a synopsis of all the places we visited in Crete, visit Exploring Crete. Otherwise, here lists all the articles:
- Agios Nikolaos, Gournia, Mochlos and Vai Beach
- Knosos, Aqua Park and Elounda
- Anchored off of Spinalonga Island Crete
- Anchoring off the town of Bali
- A tour of Rethymno
- Agia Galini, Gortys and the Amari Valley
- Agios Nikolaos Marina – Crete: A review
- Rethymno Marina – Crete: A review
Check Out Some Other Areas – Greece & The Mediterranean
If you’d like a breakdown of all the places we’ve visited while sailing the Mediterranean please read our destination overview: Sailing The Mediterranean. Otherwise, check out more posts about our time spent in Greece.
- The Greek Ionian Islands
- Corinth Canal
- Poros Greece
- Kos Marina
- Methoni, Greece