Crete - Rethymno
Yes, sea turtles nest on Rethymno beach every summer!
The nesting beach is located east of the town of Rethymno, on the northern coast of Crete. It is about 12 km long with shallow waters and a few pockets of natural low sand dunes. On the rest of the beach there are well-developed services for tourists including buildings, roads, beach furniture and marine sports.
ARCHELON's project in Rethymno began in 1990 and has been carried out every summer since then. Volunteers from all over the world join the project every year and help apply conservation measures to the 200 sea turtles nests recorded annually (average number of nests for the period 2000-2014).
You can meet the ARCHELON volunteers and find out more about sea turtles at the Information Station of ARCHELON, Rethymno town
Every year since 1990 researchers and volunteers walk the beach every day recording and protecting sea turtle nests. Almost 200 nests are recorded annually in the area (2000-2014 average). Visitors and sea turtles can all live together under some conditions.
See the directions below for visitors in the area.
Attention beach users!
We all share this beach with the Loggerhead sea turtles, which lay their eggs here every summer. Sea turtles are globally protected species.
How to enjoy the beach without disturbing the breeding sites of the sea turtles We are all welcome in the beach from sunrise to sunset. Please avoid the beaches during night hours.
Also, keep in mind that…
- driving on the beach and sand dunes is forbidden.
- all beach furniture and umbrellas must be put away at night to allow space for sea turtles to nest.
- the use of artificial lights, bonfires and parties on the beach at night are not allowed.
How can you help?
- The protective cages over the nests are important – please respect them.
- The hatchlings must reach the sea on their own – please do not touch them.
- The beaches must stay clean – please do not litter
- Request ARCHELON ’s educational presentations in your hotel or camping site.
Turn off or cover the lights! Mother- sea turtles need free space in dark and quiet beaches to come ashore and lay their nests. When the baby turtles hatch, they will find their way to the sea by following the light of the moon and the stars. Artificial lights on the beach confuse the hatchlings, which will lose their way to the sea, and will die from dehydration or get run over by cars.
Help us keep the beaches free of artificial lights! Ask everyone to turn off any lights that reach the beach after 11pm!
More than 500 volunteers from all over the world help us protect sea turtles in Greece every year. In 2022, volunteers managed to protect about 170 sea turtle nests, among thousands of tourists. They also informed about 14,000 visitors through presentations in hotels, on the nesting beaches and at the ARCHELON's Information Station in the city of Rethymno.
The sea turtle nesting beach in Rethymno has been included in the European Ecological network NATURA 2000.
ARCHELON the Sea Turtle Protection Society of Greece was founded in 1983 and is a non-profit Association active all over Greece. All of ARCHELON activities on Crete, which include monitoring and protecting the reproduction of sea turtles as well as raising public awareness, are performed in close collaboration with the local authorities.