Panormo is a peaceful seaside village located approximately 20km to the east of Rethymnon. Despite experiencing rapid development in recent years, the village has managed to retain its traditional charm. The village’s triumph can be credited to multiple factors, such as its mesmerizing beaches, serene landscapes, and favorable location.
For visitors, Panormo offers two main beaches and a handful of smaller ones. It is aptly named, as ‘Panormo’ translates to ‘place with natural port’, and it has a sheltered harbor with calm waters. The harbor beach, Limanaki, is sandy, with crystal-clear waters and is ideal for families with young children, as it is shallow and the cement pier provides some protection from the waves. This beach is well-equipped with umbrellas, showers and various water sports, as well as plenty of accommodation and food options. Adjacent to Limanaki, further to the east, there is a smaller sandy beach, which is not as popular with swimmers.
The other main beach, Limni, is located 200m west of the village. Similarly to Limanaki beach, Limni is sandy, with two separate beaches protected by rocky piers. Further to the east, there is a small cove with a pebbly beach facing north, which is perfect for those seeking seclusion and a spot of snorkeling in calm waters.
Panormo is situated on the site of the ancient city Panormus, evidence of which can still be seen today in the form of the impressive 6th century basilica of St. Sophia, which is located 500m southwest of the village. It was also fortified by the Genoese in 1206, and traces of the castle of Milopotamos can still be seen next to the harbor.
More recently, Panormo was a hub for the transportation of goods from the wider region, such as olives and carobs. There is still a renovated old carobmill, which is now a cultural center, and during the German Occupation, the village was bombed. The national road constructed in 1970s and the marina built in 1980 contributed to its touristic development. Each year, Panormo celebrates three festivals: Ascension, St. John on June 24 and St. Nicholas on December 6. Access to Panormo is straightforward, with direct bus services from Rethymnon, as well as suburban bus services between Heraklion and Rethymnon, and excursion boat trips from the local harbor.