Chania, a momentous city in the northwest coast of Crete, is filled with history and interesting sites to explore. We know a day is not nearly enough, however we’ll make sure you’ll take full advantage of even the last second of your trip. Here, we have for you a one-day guide for the city of Chania, enabling you to experience the Cretan lifestyle across a span of 24 hours!
Start your day with a traditional Greek breakfast in a local bakery
(Kalitsounia - credits: www.paxxi.gr)
In Greece, we take the saying ‘eat breakfast like a king’ literally; a fact not quite surprising if you consider how seriously we take our food. Cretan tradition follows and surpasses the Greek food obsession. Therefore, have an early start to your day with a boost of energy like a true local, and head to a regional bakery to try a selection of Greek baked goods and pastries, such as ‘spanakopita’ -spinach and cheese pie in ‘phyllo’ pastry- or the traditional treat of ‘kalitsounia’- small sweet or savory pies with different filling variations- preferably stuffed with ‘mizithra’ cheese and topped with honey. ‘Phyllo Bakery & Mediterranean Delicacies’ is one of the best bakeries in Chania, being an optimum spot for your Cretan breakfast. Don’t deprive yourself from the flavorsome delicacies of Crete; your diet can wait for you to return home!
Take your daily dose of culture by visiting some of Chania’s museums
(Archaelogical Museum of Chania - credit: https://creti.co)
After your delicious breakfast, it is time for you to explore the cultural side of Chania. You will have the opportunity to engage in some sightseeing, choosing between one of the many fascinating museums the region has to offer. Our top picks would be the Folklore museum of Chania and the Archaeological Museum. The former, located next to Chania’s Catholic church in Halidon Street, offers a accumulation of folklore and traditional exhibits, giving the visitors an insight into the everyday life of Cretans in the 18th and 19th century. The latter, also located at the same street, is where a medieval Franciscan monastery, one of the most important monuments of the Venetian period in Crete, used to lie. It became a museum in 1963 and now exhibits antiquities from the Neolithic to the Roman periods, demonstrating the historical and cultural evolution of Chania throughout the years.
The Folklore Museum of Chania
Opening hours: daily 9am-8pm
Contact info: (0030) 28210 90816
Archaeological Museum of Chania
Opening hours: Wednesday to Monday 8.30am - 3.30pm
Contact info: (0030) 2821 090334
Explore Chania’s Municipal Market and grab lunch in a local tavern
(The Municipal Market of Chania - credit: https://west-crete.com/)
Now that you’ve had enough food for thought, it is time to indulge in some delicious food for your belly as well! Crete is known for its delectable cuisine that is founded on fresh, local products. To explore the riches of the Cretan land, we highly suggest that you visit the Municipal Market of Chania, also known as ‘Agora’ in Greek, an area that covers 4000 square meters, and offers a wide selection of meat, fish, fruits and vegetables from the Cretan land. Get to know local kinds of cheese, olive oil and rusks, and taste the unmatched quality of the fresh vegetables that can transform any dish into a piece of heaven. Having worked up an appetite, you can enjoy a traditional Cretan meal in the city of Chania and see for yourself what the hype is all about. You can try Mon.Es, an amazing restaurant that offers delightful seafood, specializes in local flavors and is the best choice for someone looking to taste the essence of Crete. If seafood is not for you, you can opt for Oinoa, one of the best places to try the Mediterranean diet -the element most often held responsible for Cretans’ long lifespan. Wash your food down with ‘raki’, the traditional Cretan spirit, and we promise you, you’ll fall in love with Crete, just like we have!
Walk along Chania’s old harbour and enjoy a drink during sunset
(Chania Old Harbour)
Close to the sunset, there is nothing better to do than walk around Chania’s old harbour, one of Chania’s most scenic and lively regions. A walk along the quay will give you the opportunity to watch the warm sun melt into the peaceful sea, gifting the sky with an explosion of colors. You can take in the majestic view of the lighthouse and even indulge in a tour customised just for you. To bring your day in Chania to a close, enjoy a drink at Nama bar in the old port of Chania, and dance your troubles away to the beat of Greek music. Trust us, we’ll make sure you’ll get to discover all the secrets of the Chania Old Town.
(Optional) Cool down with a swim in some of Chania’s best beaches
(Falasarna beach, Chania)
If you’d like to explore the many wonderful beaches of Chania and spend your day sunbathing and swimming and not in the city, you’ll be happy to know that the island has been blessed with a long list of incredible beaches of unmatched allure. Balos beach is arguably one of the best beaches the island -if not the country- has to offer, with a long sandy coastline and marvellous crystal-clear waters. However, our personal favorite is the beach of Falasarna, which has made it into the list of the most beautiful beaches in Europe. The 3km long beach has a very distinctive quality of sand that makes you want to roll in it -no, we are not kidding; we’ve done it before and have zero regrets- and an inviting azure-coloured sea that makes swimming in it irresistible. You can combine your visit to Falasarna beach with an additional visit to the famous Elafonissi beach. From Falassarna to Elafonissi, approximately 1.5-hour drive, the road will take you through the picturesque landscape of Crete, passing by the monastery of Chrysoskalitissa, to eventually reach one of the most popular beaches of the island. Its shallow waters, pink sand that changes colour due to the reflection of the hundreds of shells found on the beach, and tiny island in the middle of the sea, make for an experience you wouldn’t want to miss!
Chania is arguably one of the better-looking regions of Crete. The city attracts an abundance of visitors every year, who admire its 14th-century Venetian aesthetic, the Egyptian and Ottoman influences of the town, the old harbor, the narrow streets and the delicious restaurants right by the sea.
A day might not be enough to fully explore Chania, but if you follow our suggestions it will sure leave a sweet taste in your mouth that will make you want to come back for more! If you wish to save some time off your planning and get the insights of an expert local instead, you can also check out our Chania walking & food tours. Come along while we show you around the beauties of one of the most popular Greek destinations and treat your senses to the wonders of the Cretan land!