Most visitors describe Chania as the most charming city of Crete—and with good reason. The Old City boasts narrow cobblestone streets where you get lost amidst beautiful medieval buildings dating back to the 1500s.
A few kilometers away and you have splendid beaches, astounding castles by the shore, and monasteries precariously perched on mountainsides.
Between the two, you get to experience true Cretan living. Countless farms, olive groves, beekeepers, and wineries dot the land to remind you of what life should really be about.
Visit the Old City
The Old City is a maze of streets winding up and down. The best thing to do is to ignore your map and just stroll around, taking in one breathtaking vista after the other.
Crete has had many occupiers and Chania displays the full array of these cultures, from Venetian to Ottoman quarters, a beautiful Jewish neighborhood, and the landmark light house of the Old Harbor of Chania. There are also the Neorio Moro and the Sailing Club of Chania to visit.
All these speak to the multicultural background of Crete and Chania in particular. They form a beautiful kaleidoscope of buildings, churches, mosques, shops, and museums to enjoy and immerse yourself in.
To get a glimpse of the full history of Chania you can visit the Archeological Museum of Chania, which displays beautiful artifacts from the long-gone Minoan era.
We suggest you spend a few days just soaking up the vibes of Chania’s Old City. Enjoy dinner by the seashore, have a drink at one of the cafés, and shop at the quaint places that dot the city.
Immerse yourself in Cretan food at the Municipal Market
Crete is famous for its fresh food and produce. It’s impossible to visit Chania and the surrounding areas without visiting the many wineries and farms that produce spectacular wines and the freshest produce to enjoy.Find out what makes Chania the perfect destination for foodies!
To experience a Cretan market first-hand, visit the Municipal Market of Chania, where you get to taste and buy olive oil, honey, fruit and veg, wines, and spirits, as well as cheeses and herbs—all produced locally on the island.
You will also find ready-made dishes, prepared according to Cretan recipes and with local produce. For an unforgettable picnic by the beach, all you need is to head to the Municipal Market first and stock up on Cretan delicacies. Discover what makes eating in Crete such a mouth-watering experience!
Take day trips
Chania is surrounded by beautiful landscapes and astonishing beaches and places to visit. Rent a car and go on day trips from Chania to the surrounding places. You can easily spend a week simply discovering the whole area.
Chania is synonymous with beaches. There are so many to enjoy that you will be spoilt for choice. Many of these beaches make it to the top 10 list of the most amazing beaches of Greece, which is completely understandable.
Have you ever seen pink sand? Visit Elafonissi and you will find out what a difference it makes. This is a beach two hours away by car from Chania; the sand gets its characteristic colors because it’s made of finely ground shells. The sea is shallow, which makes it perfect for families with children and the turquoise of the sea is unreal.
40 kilometers from Chania is another beach with turquoise water: Balos. The sparkling waters meander through the sand for a unique experience. Reaching Balos beach requires a 4WD vehicle but you can also join a boat tour.
As for Falassarna, it is renowned for its crystal waters and is considered one of the most stunning beaches in Europe. Deep blue and turquoise blend to create astonishing views of the sea.
Have you ever visited a castle by the sea? Fragokastello was built by the Venetians right by the sea, back in the 14th century, to protect the island from pirates. It is located on the south coast of Crete, overlooking the Libyan Sea. The views from the castle are breathtaking and the beach at the foot of the castle is shallow and sandy.
It is located 80 kilometers south of Chania and makes for a great way to spend a full day exploring the area and swimming.
Discover the mountains
We often talk of beaches but Chania and the surrounding areas have great mountains to enjoy as well.
If you like hiking, you should head for the Samaria Gorge, which crosses the Chania municipality and ends up on the Libyan coast. The gorge is 18 kilometers long and it takes about 6 to 7 hours to hike through it.
You start the hike from Omalos which is a village 40 kilometers south of Chania town. The hike is all downhill and one-way, so you should arrange for transportation back to Chania at the end of the hike. You pass through pine forests and amazing rock formations and the views are simply dazzling. As a bonus, you get to swim and relax at a beautiful beach when you finish the hike.
Akrotiri is another mountainous area, only 10 kilometers from Chania, where you can visit monasteries dating back to the 1500s. There are three major monasteries, one of which is abandoned. The overall views are stunning, with cliffs and rocks delivering Instagrammable scenes.
The monks at the Agia Triada monastery make olive oil from their own olive groves, which you can buy.
Botanical Gardens If climbing, hiking, and swimming seem too much for you, you can always head to the Botanical Gardens, which are 18 kilometers from Chania.
Thanks to the area’s benign climate, the gardens feature several exotic trees and plants such as bananas and avocados, as well as local trees, herbs, and flowers. There is even a lake to enjoy!
The park has a taverna where you get to taste dishes prepared with local produce, some of which come from the gardens themselves. It doesn’t get any more farm-to-table than that!
Holiday in Chania
If you are planning on a holiday to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Chania, Crete is the perfect place, combining scenic views, rich culture, and delicious food. Crete is one of the most beautiful Greek islands, providing visitors with unforgettable experiences that simply can’t be found anywhere else. Chania, in particular, is considered one of the most picturesque towns in Greece. It offers stunning scenery, wonderful beaches, and an immense cultural heritage. From taking historical trips to enjoying natural adventures and mountain hikes, exploring ancient sites, relaxing on sandy beaches, or simply indulging in local flavors, a visit to Chania will fill your days with an exciting cultural experience. Check out our special offer on Cretan villas and visit Chania for the most amazing family holidays in Crete
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