The “Venice” of the East
Plan your next trip to Chania – whatever you dreamed you will find it in this seaside town. Cydonia, Alchania, La Canea, Chania… Many characterize as the “Venice of the East”, others city of jasmine and Cretans the diamond of Crete! Chania is the second largest city of Crete, which is one of the largest islands in Greece. This coastal town has a history of more than fifty centuries sculpted by myths, beliefs, and ancient culture, kings and conquerors who envied her beauty.
Here visitors can wander the labyrinthine streets that lead to the old Venetian harbor and see the signs that the civilizations left behind, on their pass for the last 5000 years and more that it is inhabited. History, landscapes, monuments and findings, in harmony with the modern city of Chania, drifts the visitors in a unique sensory journey from prehistory to the present.
What to see
The Venetian harbor with its lighthouse and the old city center dominate the city and has given in Chania the reputation of the most picturesque city in Crete. What else should not miss …
The Municipal Market of Chania, in the heart of the city, which was built on the model of a covered market of Marseille. It is a cross shape building, with four doors in order to provide protection to the shops it hosts. An architectural gem and one of the most exciting markets. Just behind the municipal market is the area of Stivanadika (traditional shoe), the busiest street of Chania, with many designer shops nowadays and of course the traditional stivanopoiias (shoe makers) shops. Close by, near Eleftherios Venizelos Square in the port, is the Cathedral of Chania ”PanagiaTrimartiri”, a church of great interest.
During the time of the Turkish seizing, the church was turned into soap factory but during that time, the image of the Presentation of Mary was never moved from her place. In the city center in the Venetian church dedicated to St. Francis Franciscan monks, is the Archaeological Museum of Chania with treasures from the Neolithic to the Byzantine period.Nearby in the enchanting alleys of the old town is the Maritime Museum, housed in the Fortress of Firka, which was built to protect the Venetian harbor from invasions, also there was hosted the celebration for the union of Greece with Crete, back in 1912.
The Venetian harbor with its lighthouse, the hallmark of the city, is a place overwhelm with historical memories that unfold in front of the eyes of the visitor through the architecture of the buildings and turns back in times when the East intertwine with the West. Οn the one hand the Yali Mosque and on the other the Venetian Shipyards or Arsenals while the modern restaurants, cafes and bars give the port the freshness of today.
The KoumKapi, the district just outside the eastern walls of the old town is the area that houses the city’s nightlife. Its name means in Turkish “gate of sand” and actually leads to a sandy beach. A little further north is the Splantzia district, the old Turkish mahala with the churches of Saint Nicholas and Saint Rocco.
The aristocratic district of Chania, Halepa, is located in the city’s eastern boundary where you can make a visit the house of El. Venizelos, one of the most important prime ministers of Greece, and the palace of the High Commissioner of the City during the Venetian domination. Finally, shortly after Chalepa at the Prophet Ilia area worth visiting is the Tombs of Venizelos family in order to enjoy the magnificent view of Chania from above.
Variety of activities in Chania – From the traditional festivals and local products celebrations to hikes and international sporting events…The visitor has at his disposal a variety of options to choose on how he wants to spend his days and nights in the island. He can tangle with the locals in traditional festivals that take place throughout the year, especially in the summer.
If happen to be on the island on July 1-2 do not miss the unique festival of Ag.Antoniou in the coastal church in Charei. The walking from the international E4 walking path from Sougia can last two hours but the unique pictures of the Libyan sea and the steep pine peak will etched in memory forever, of course there is always the possibility to make the trip with traditional boats from Sougia or with your own boat. Try the traditional raki and the famous wines of Cretan Wine Festival in Vouves in late July. Walk the famous gorge of Greece and the longest in Europe, the Samaria Gorge or Faragga as the locals call it.
The canyon trail is well marked and on the route you will have the opportunity to get to know the delicate ecosystem of Samaria with its rich flora and fauna. To admire the traditional Cretan architecture in the village of Samaria, which is located in the middle of the gorge and was evacuated at the 1962 when the area was proclaimed protective and the national park was establishment. To monitor the international track events “Venizelia” in early summer and the Naval Week in the Venetian harbor the first week of July. Of course one should not omit a visit at the nearby islands of Gramvousa and Gavdos for swimming and diving to admire the beauty of the landscape in and out of the sea.
Crystal clear waters, hot sun, endless organized or unorganized beaches ready to satisfy the most demanding guest!
Elafonisi is the most popular, without doubt, beach of Chania, with crystal clear water, golden sand and a bottom covered with a pink carpet of shells. In the area of Paleochora, with the organized bays of Pahia Ammos and Chalkion, tailwinds make them ideal for water sports, especially for serf.
The Freshwater beach, does not take its name by accident, since in this Libyan Sea beach sources of sweat water from the White Mountains are ending here offering the unique turquoise color of the waters of the beach. -Is only accessible by boat-
A 10-minute drive outside the city is the busiest beach of Chania, Agia Marina, lively from morning until the next morning. In Balos beach the big blue of the sea becomes one with the blue of the sky and stony element making the beach look like a fairytale picture. The Kerdodasos beach (cedar forest) is an oasis with turquoise waters and cool atmosphere even during the hottest summer days thanks to cedar forest behind it.
The beach ‘’Seitan Limania’’ is unique, as its turquoise waters and the rocks that enclose this beach will amaze you! Required are sports shoes as the descent is quite difficult but once you arrive you will see that it was worth it! Falassarna, one of the most famous beaches of Greece, is a long coastline with white sand and amazing water! As the winds are mainly Westerners, is a favorite destination for windsurfers!
The Journey of taste in Chania: Starting from the lush olive groves, vineyards and orchards that generously offer pure raw materials in the famous Cretan diet. Dozens of herbs and vegetables as stamnagathi, ovries and papoulias are thriving in the best quality only here in Crete. Traditional dairy products such as full-fat gruyere from sheep milk, ricotta from Sfakia and stakovoutyro are indispensable companions in the traditional Cretan table. A walk through the narrow streets of the old town where you can find dozens of traditional restaurants is the best opportunity for someone to taste the famous local dishes such as eggs in the stack, kaltsounakia with cheese and honey, goat stamnagathi, dakos, fried (boubouristoi) snails, patty from Chania and for something sweet… the crunchy xerotigana drenched in melosiropo. One of the most famous restaurants of Chania is the ‘”Tamam”.
It has 2 large indoor spaces and outdoor tables in the alley. Its unique dishes will be unforgettable! Thoughtfully restaurant ” Theodosi ” offers seafood, which combined with the view of the location, will steal your impressions! The ” Salis ”, a unique restaurant in the heart of Chania, with Greek cuisine and a special menu will make your meal unique! For something Oriental, choose ” The Well of the Turk ” where the oriental flavors will travel you! In Stalos you will find the Leventis Tavern where the traditional recipes and good service shop, will give you an incredible experience! All of this always accompanied with a glass of wine from the most ancient, timeless and constant productive vineyard of Europe for the last 4000 years, the vineyard of Crete!
The most easily accessible city of Crete! You can travel to the area by plane, boat, speedboat or helicopter. You can travel by plane from all airports of Greece with almost daily flights especially during the summer months. Also, international charter flights are schedule from many European countries. The international Chania airport “Ioannis Daskologiannis” is located at the peninsula Akrotiri just 14 km. from the city. Moreover, from the port of Piraeus there is daily evening service to the port of Souda which is located 7 km. from the city of Chania. The trip’s duration is about 10 hours. At the summer months additional daily schedules are available too. For your transportation to the city center in addition to regular public transport there is a wide variety of private transport options at your disposal from both the port and the airport.