The settlement of Panormo is on the southern coast of Crete island. It is a popular tourist destination located 21 km from Rethymno and 10 km west of Bali. Despite the numbers it receives, Panormo retains quite a bit of its traditional character as many of the stone-built houses have been restored, and not simply replaced by modern apartment buildings. Above the small harbour, on a rocky outcrop, you can spot the remains of an old fort – the Genoese occupied Crete shortly before the Venetians took over again – and a small stone-built church (Ascension). The village of Panormo has witnessed steady developments in recent years, and there are various hotel complexes and accommodation options for visitors to choose from.
The shorefront that is made up of various small bays, has many swimming options. All of the beaches tend to get crowded during the busy summer season; some have sand and others are pebbly. The waters are shallow and protected, making Panormo an ideal spot for families with small children. The main beach is a natural harbour where the locals moor their boats. Both this and the adjacent strand are fully organized with umbrellas, sunbeds, showers, numerous water-sports activities and a lifeguard. In addition, there are other beaches, more or less organized, that attract fewer people – a fact that makes them perfect for those that prefer a relaxing experience. Moving east, a hiking trail will take you to the cape where the lighthouse of Panormo stands. The view is excellent but the path can be challenging so proper footwear is required. Further down the east coast, we come across the beaches of Koukistres, Agios Nikolaos and Karavostasi before reaching the popular town of Bali (10 km).
In the area, you will also find Klados Winery, where you can taste local Cretan varieties and learn more about the process of vine growing. Only 10 km south, don’t skip a visit to Melidoni Cave, one of the most historically important spots on the island. It is estimated that the area was first inhabited around 3000 BC and was also an important place of worship during the Minoan period.