Always the first thing you hear about Chania - the Venetian Harbour, the old port, the narrow shopping streets and waterfront restaurants.
Chania is also one of the two places you are most likely to see on arriving in Crete. It is beautiful - that is to say much of the Chania you will want to see is clustered close to the harbour - old buildings, museums, churches and crafts shops (some with genuinely interesting and sometimes local, products on offer).
Food is offered in great variety and sometimes great similarity - there are many restaurants and also cafes, at which to reflect upon the experiences of places you have just explored together with the enjoyment of some tasty food - we have suggestions for restaurants further on.
The atmosphere has a touch of Florence and Venice (a few years ago when those cities still had some room to walk), combined with the culture and character of Cretan people and traditions.
The Chania harbour is wonderful and at any particular time of day the light produces a different result, creating a "different place”.
This is the best chance to see some of the old buildings - of Venetian and Turkish design, that Crete once had across the island - many have since been destroyed by the ravages of war and plunder.
Chania is surrounded by numerous rich options for sightseeing, exploration and discovery. Mountain villages provide a view into the "inner Crete". The Samaria and many other gorges can be hiked, archaeological sites abound.
How to get there
Chania has an international airport with scheduled flights year round and abundant charter flights serving much of Europe during the season - April to October. Buses from the airport are virtually non-existent. If you're not driving, you should take a taxi.
Ferries sail to and from Athens (Pireas) daily - the port for ferries for Chania is at Souda, a few kilometres away. When the ferry arrives, if you manage to scamper onto the bus in time, this will take you to Chania. But it is best to plan to take a taxi.
Of course if you are renting a car on arrival, you can drive to your chosen destination at will! If a pause in Souda before your first sighting of Chania seems just right, try "Exandas" cafe which serves Illy coffee and the famed, welcoming treat of a "bougatsa" (pastry with cheese or cream filling).
You can pick up your favourite car from our variety of cars for rental through our website. You can book online or get a quote. We offer you a car hire at best available prices in crete.
Where to stay
Many hotels and apartments exist which you can book in Chania. We recommend you to find one in old town. The prices there are a bit higher but it’s totally worth it as you can enjoy the history of Chania in a beautiful street full of tradition.
Explore the waterfront and streets just behind. Walk along the harbour wall to the Venetian Lighthouse.
Visit the wonderful Naval Museum (Maritime Museum) - it delivers a superb introduction to the History of Crete and is by no means only for maritime mavens, you will learn more here in half an hour than most could teach you, about the events that filled Crete's moving past. Excellent, well done. Open: 10.00 to 14.00 daily, except Monday. Tel: 28210-91875. Admission: 2.50 euros.
The Archaeological Museum on Halidon Street is smaller than its grand Heraklion cousin, though well worth visiting and appealing even to non archaeologists. Open: 8.00 to 17.00 (to 19.30 April-October) daily, except Monday. Tel: 28210-90334. Admission: 1.5 euros Historical Archives (museum): Open 9.00 to 13.00, Monday to Friday. Tel: 28210-52606. Admission: Free. Byzantine Museum. Open: 8.30 to 14.00 daily, except Monday. Tel: 28210-96046. Near the waterfront (at the back of the Naval museum).
Visit the Maritime Museum on the west side of the port and walk along the port till Arsenali where is situated the Arsenali Centre of Mediterranean Architecture that organises exhibitions and has as primary goal to promote the Mediterranean arts.
Visit Venizelos Graves, which has magnificent views from amongst the trees, on a hill above Chania, across the the town, Venetian harbour and sweeping over the sea & beyond. Best place to pause & enjoy the view, Ostria cafe.
Visit Tabakaria a district with old leather processing houses found on the rocky eastern side of the city of Chania. The area was chosen for the following reasons: the abundant brackish subterranean waters used to soften leather, and its relative closeness to the city. Today some of the leather processing houses are still in operation. Adjusted to the natural properties of the land, the buildings have only one floor on the side of the street and two or three floors on the side of the sea. They are made of stone with tile roofs. They are built close to each other with very narrow, steep passages and steps going down to the sea. Tabakaria constitute a unique architectural complex.
Visit villages near Chania, where the old men talk, argue, discuss, play cards at their local kafeneio or simply find a stretch of beach and immerse the cares of yesterday in the waters of today. With children you might treat them to a visit to the water park at Limnoupolis.
In Summer, the municipality hosts cultural events around the town, including these in the public gardens and at the open air-theatre on the outskirts of the town walls, which has various music and theatrical performances.
Swim. The nearest beach is 500m away, Agii Apostgolli Beach is 4 km, and the famous long beach of Agia Marina, is 7km away. Or maybe you prefer the enclosed waters of Marathi bay, on the Akrotiri peninsula.
Outside Chania: trips to the many surrounding monasteries, the Samaria Gorge (take a bus to Omalos or a tour as you will walk the Gorge, take a ferry from the end at Agia Roumeli to Sfakia and then a bus back to Chania).
Chania is full of traditional tavernas (restaurants) and nice cafes next to the main port of old town. Beautiful stores and streets crowded with people full of life and entertainment.
The night life in Chania is superb with bars and clubs.
The night lights of Chania are wonderful and we strongly suggest you take a walk among the old streets.