They say that a picture is worth a thousand words. We would rather say that a word is worth a thousand pictures and we can prove it! When someone hears the word “Chania”, all of a sudden endless turquoise waters and a touch of Venetian finesse come to mind. Chania, located on the northwest coast of the island of Crete, is well known for its picturesque pedestrian streets and serves as a prime example of how years of history can shape a city’s unique vibe. One great thing about this city is that you are going to have a fun time no matter what you crave for; either you like dancing all night long with your friends or would prefer relaxing at the beach with the kids until the sun sets, this is the place to do both. If all that is not enough to convince you about what Chania has to offer, read our selected tips below and start planning your trip right away!
Walk around the city
Every single town in Crete has its own special story. In Chania, the wide and narrow paved streets are where tradition and geography meet. The Old Town is full of examples of how tradition can still survive; head to the Skridlof Street and watch manufacturers making “stivania”, the famous classic Cretan boots. Nearby, you will find Karaoli Dimitriou Street, where authentic Cretan knives are made! However, the city descends to the port. During the 14th century, Venetians built this magnificent port which is surrounded by the Old Town of Chania. There, you will also see the Venetian Lighthouse, overlooking the Mediterranean. Strolling around this alluring city can take a while so it is likely that you will hear your stomach growling eventually. Thus, you should combine your walk with some food stops to refuel before continuing your route!
(Old Venetian Lighthouse. Photo credits: www.crete-marathon.gr)
Eat good, feel good
Speaking of food stops, you have a great opportunity to explore the one-of-a-kind gastronomy, Cretan cuisine. Chania is the best place to eat authentic Greek food but be aware of touristy eateries. Search restaurants and taverns that give you a “homey” feeling, located in various spots in the city. Beautiful gardens surrounded by ivies and bougainvilleas serve fresh calamari, gopa, and octopus.
Of course, Cretans like to accompany food with local wine, as their love of winemaking is very well known. Most of the wineries are hidden in small villages near the city, and we can say with confidence that they are totally worth visiting. Take some time to taste different types of wine while hospitable winemakers narrate the wine production process. Save some room in your suitcase as we guarantee that you won’t leave empty-handed.
There are many excellent choices that will satisfy your tummy, as well as many hidden treasures in and around the city. So, before starting your gastronomic journey, make sure to get the most special ones so you can eat and drink like a local.
(Traditional tavern in Gramvousa. Photo credits: www.gramvousarestaurant.com)
An active mind exists in an active body
Apart from all this (irresistible) eating and drinking, you also need something to help you remain active. How does hiking sound? We have the most spectacular spot for you to hike; the Balos. This masterpiece of nature is 18 kilometers long. Needless to say, you would need to dedicate a whole day there but you would definitely not regret it.
If you feel a bit less adventurous, you can head up to one of the mesmerizing beaches of the city; Agia Marina, Stalos, and Platanias. These are the paradises of the island where you can relax and enjoy the sun and summer vibes. Also, if you have time, you should not miss Balos Beach.This beach is 52 kilometers away from the city but you can also take a ferry from Kissamos and discover probably one of the most beautiful places in Greece.
Last but not least, the Nautical Museum of Crete is located in Chania and its valuable collection includes war relics, ship models and lots of historical photographs. Maritime and history enthusiasts would really appreciate this museum as they could learn about topics like the liberation of Greece and the battle of Crete. It also contains exhibits from the Second World War, making this educational visit a memorable and touching experience.
(Panorama of Balos Lagoon and Gramvousa island. Photo credits: www.chania.org.uk)
As every other city in Crete, Chania has its own exceptional beauty that distinguishes it from Heraklion, Rethymno and Agios Nikolas. A place that combines tradition, vibrant nightlife, serenity, a long history and amazing landscapes would be any traveler’s paradise. All that being said, the location is ideal for day trips around Crete, so you can also plan to go to multiple destinations while visiting. You won’t bear to leave this city!