Rethymno - Greece

Rethymno administrative unit was re-established in 2011 through the unification of 4 pre-existing municipalities (Rethymno, Arkadi, Lappa, and Nikiforos Fokas) that are now called municipal units. It covers an area of 26,7 Km2 (city area), 397 480 km² (municipality area), and has a population of 57.216 (2021) inhabitants (de facto population of Rethymno Municipality according to 2021 census). The majority of the population lives in the city centre, which makes the rate of population density of the whole region very low (140 inhab. / Km2). The age distribution in the Regional Unit of Rethymno is predominantly middle aged. The higher aging index is shown in the northern part of the Regional Unit and specifically in the Municipality of Rethymno, in contrast to the southern part where in Municipality of Agios Vasileios presents higher youthfulness index.

Crete welcomes 5 million tourists every year. Rethymno, the third largest municipality of the island with 57.216 habitants, accommodates more than 700.000 tourists/3.5 million overnights per year. Due to its archaeological importance, remarkable beaches, traditional villages, cultural events and famous gastronomy, Rethymno also accommodates a huge number of visitors
of day tours and cruises.


57,216 (2021)


Led by Municipality of Rethymno, the local administration that provides the administrative and political authority all over the municipal territory. The Municipality of Rethymno is the biggest municipality of Rethymno Regional unit.

Key characteristics

Rethymno is a medium-size Mediterranean city located on the northern coast of the island of Crete, Greece. It corresponds with a LAU. Rethymno regional unit borders to the east with Heraklion, to the west with Chania, to north with Cretan Sea and to south with Libyan Sea. Its territory includes part of the Mount Idi (Psiloritis) massif to the east and the Kedros mountains to the southeast. The lowlands are limited to the coastal areas and its coasts are jagged, especially the southern one. The whole area can be classified as rural.

Mobility & tourism challenges

One of the major challenges of tourism sector for Rethymno is the seasonal tourism. As a top-rated tourism destination, visited both by air (airports in neighbouring cities, Chania and Heraklion) and sea (ports in Rethymno, Chania, Heraklion), Rethymno has to address the rising challenges derived from the high seasonal tourism flow and the subsequent strain on the city’s transport system.

Some of the more visited touristic attractions are in Rethymno city and in the coastal area on the east side of the city. Although the mountainous inner- municipal area is very attractive, it remains less developed in terms of tourism due to the lack of public transport connections between the hinterland and the urban centre. Indeed, the coverage of the public transport network within the whole municipal area is limited, and only few connections are available between the urban area and the remote settlements. Meanwhile, the city of Rethymno has good urban connections and a public transport system well developed in the city thanks to the SUMP. For this reason, Rethymno wants improve the standard public transport on rural areas and the integration with the flexible one. These mobility and tourism challenges are common to the most of the municipalities in Crete.

Mobility and tourism solutions

Promoting Electromobility

The Municipality of Rethymno was the first municipality in Crete to introduce an e-car in the municipal fleet (2018). In 2019 the first e-bus registered in Greece was launched in the municipality public transport. Rethymno was the first Cretan municipality to install e-cars public charging stations (2018).

Nowadays there are 4 double (22KW) and 1 fast EV chargers in the city (all of them free of charge). In addition, there are two solar carports of total installed power of 30KWp, producing the energy to partially cover the demands of the charging stations. Finally, you can find in the city a “micromobility charging station” where up to 20 e-bikes, e-scooters can be charged free of charge.

Thermal cameras for traffic monitoring

11 thermal cameras are installed for real time traffic monitoring. Their data are collected in a web-based platform and can be used for future analysis.

Smart Parking System

The Smart Car parking Management System of the Municipality of Rethymno, was installed in the restricted parking zone area to better control ticket payment. It is supported by a platform, mobile app and uses on-street sensors. With this system the public is aware of the free parking spaces and can use an online payment system. The municipality can monitor the system and is getting immediate notifications for any violation or malfunctioning.

Extensive network of cycle paths

There is an extensive cycle path (more than 12Km) network in the city. This network is being extended year by year.

Accessibility measures for the disabled (including sea/beaches access)

There is an extensive pavement network for people with disabilities in Rethymno municipality. City traffic lights are equipped with countdown timer systems and audio systems for the vision impaired people. 5 municipal beaches are accessible for the disabled. Two of them are equipped with
“SEATRACK” autonomous swimming systems and one with an innovative system guiding blind people to the sea.

Organisations involved at the Lighthouse Site

Mobility solutions at the Lighthouse Site

  • Promoting electromobility
  • Smart parking system
  • Thermal cameras for traffic monitoring
  • Extensive network of cycle paths
  • Accessibility measures for the disabled (including sea/beaches access)