There is an ancient bridge below the monastery near the modern road from Rethymnon. A dirt-road starting near the Arkhadi café-and leads to the Viran Episkopi-Eleftherna road a pleasant walk of two hours. If you take the old road from Rethymno via Adhele and Piyi, you can stop in Panormos (left) where there's a taverna with its own wine in different vintages (Taverna Panorama) and lovely views over olive orchards.
Eleftherna (right) was one of the main ancient cities in Crete. Built on a ridge in the foothills of the Psiloritis range above two tributaries of the Mylopotamos River, it was the birthplace of the 4th to 5th century BC philosopher Diogenes, and minted its own coins with depictions of Apollo and Artemis. Evidence of Minoan occupation has been found at Elefherna, which was later one of the major Dorian city-states from the 10thcentury BC until medieval times, and fell to the Romans during the 1st century BC but thrived under Roman rule as well. Major excavations were done here since 1984 by the University of Crete (Archaeology and History Departments, based in Rethymnon). The acropolis and defensive tower stand on a high promontory between two streams with a narrow road (more of a cobbled path, of the kind known as a 'kalderimi') leading to it, with the city on the slopes below and on the other side of the valley where the modern town is now situated. There is a bridge spanning one of the streams reachable in a walk of about a half hour. Beyond the acropolis and the little chapel of Aghia Irini are cisterns cut out of rock, which were supplied by an allegedly Roman aqueduct which channeled water from nearby springs.
A large structure from the Early Christian period was found on the site of a sanctuary from the Archaic and Hellenistic periods not far below the summit of the promontory. An Early Iron Age cemetery was excavated on the valley floor (now heavily farmed) below the acropolis, at a site where a later Roman road was built. Skeletons of children who had been buried in pithoi (big clay urns) were found, as well as stone chambers with evidence of both burial and cremation practices. Bodies were cremated on elaborate pyres, surrounded by jewelry, pottery, ivory work, weapons, personal possessions and the fires were built to reach and stay at temperatures of 900 degrees Centigrade . After the pyres were quenched, the bones were cleaned and stored in pithoi or amphorae.