Located on the northern coast of the island of Crete, Rethymno is a medium-sized city with growing tourism and mobility sectors. With a population of 63,000, it accommodates more than half a million tourists every year. When also accounting visitors that explore the city on day tours and cruises – to explore its archaeological landmarks, magnificent beaches, traditional villages, cultural events and world-famous gastronomy – the total number of annual visitors climbs to 1.2 million.
As a top-rated tourism destination visited both by air and sea, Rethymno had to address rising challenges from its high seasonal tourism flow and the subsequent strain on the city’s environment and transport system. This works aims to improve local quality of life and to strengthen the city’s image as a green tourism destination. Furthermore, this work complements its involvement in the European Reference Framework for Sustainable Cities and Rethymno's role as a signatory to the Covenant of Mayors since 2011; sustainable mobility is among its strategic pillars.
Local mobility patterns indicated car use as the main transportation mode (60%), with walking and biking accounting for only 20% and 5% of the modal share, respectively. Through CIVITAS DESTINATIONS, Rethymno introduced measures focused on accessibility, active mobility and changing mobility behaviour. Actions promoting electric vehicles (ΕVs), enhancing walking, cycling and road safety, and improving PT and shared mobility services were demonstrated. Rethymno increased sustainable commuting across groups, including school communities, older people and people with disabilities, and saw a significant boost to e-mobility at the regional level.
1.2 million annually