Chania (also spelled: Haniá)is the capital city, a place where different civilizations have flourished throughout the centuries. Wandering around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys with the beautiful Venetian mansions, the fountains and the elaborate churches will help you discover well-preserved historical monuments.
The city of Chania is built on the area of Minoan Kidonia, at the end of the homonym gulf between Akrotiri and Onicha peninsulas. It was the former capital city of Crete (from 1847 until 1972). Nowadays, it is the second largest city of Crete after Heraklion and capital of the homonym prefecture.
Chania includes the old and new city. It is one of the most beautiful and picturesque cities in Greece and for food lovers, it’s a paradise!
Get familiar with the city of Chania by wandering around in its streets, visiting its museums and admiring the different architectural styles presenting the historical route of the city.
After Arabs and Byzantines it was conquered by Venetians in 1252 and was given to Turks in 1669, later it was annexed to the rest of the Greek State on December 1913 under the administration of Eleftherios Venizelos and King Konstantinos the 1st. The old town is an integral settlement with visible boundaries set by the Venetian walls surrounding it.
The old town is built around the Venetian port and is also a relatively integral area where Venetian buildings and later Turkish elements compose a unique architectural style. Due to the historic center of Chania with its Venetian walls defining the borders between the old and new city and its ramparts, the city has been pronounced as preserved. It consists of five connected districts surrounding the Venetian port.
Its design was made by Venetian engineer Michelle Sammichelli. The Lighthouse is located at the end of the rock protecting the port from the north. It was built in 1570 by the Venetians and reconstructed in 1830 by the Egyptians and from there on preserves its current state.
On the east of Palea Poli is Splantzia (or Plaza) district built on the former Turkish district. Here you will see among others Aghii Anargiri church, the only Orthodox church which had the permission to operate during the period of the Venetian and Turkish occupations. You will also see the Sintrivani square.
Neoria (or Chiones) district on the northeast side is located in the area of the former port of the city and of the Venetian ship yards of 14th and 16th centuries from which it also took its name.
Kastelli district is in the center of Palea Poli (Old Town) west of Neoria. It is the exalted location of the Byzantine citadel where “palatso” (palace) of the Veneti an commander and the lodgings of Pashas of Chania were later built. Venetians used to call the area Castello Vecchio.
On the southeast of the old city lies the Hebrew district or else Ovraika. It reminds us the times when the developing Hebrew community of Chania was obliged by the Venetians to move to a delimitated area called judeca where two synagogues were operating.
On the boarders of Ovraika, in Chalides Street, you will see the Folklore Museum of Chania and Aghios Fragkiskos church (14th century) which houses the Archeological Museum of Chania. On the north side is the Turkish bath (chamam). In the south side of Ovraika and on Skridlof Street lies the so called Stivanadika (from stivani, the Cretan boots). Among the shops selling leather items and souvenirs survive some traditional shoe ateliers.
Numerous beautiful beaches with soft sand or coloured pebbles are found in the prefecture of Chania in western Crete. In fact, many Chania beaches are among the best on the island, such as Balos, Falassarna and Elafonissi. Apart from organized beaches in Chania, there are also plenty of deserted coves and lovely bays to enjoy total privacy. All Chania beaches though have crystal waters and look like paradise.
You will find below a list with the best beaches in Chania Crete.
Elafonisi is a small islet with exotic water. It can be reached by boat from Paleochora as the road leading there is track and difficult.
Balos is an amazing beach on the north westernmost spot of Chania Crete. It is accessed through a track road or by tour boat from Kissamos.
Falassarna is a lovely tourist resort with an extended, sandy beach. The area is filled with olive groves and other vegetation. Falassarna stands on the north western spot of Crete, pretty far from Chania Town.
his long and sandy beach is located on the southern side of Crete, in front of an imposing Venetian Castle.
Pahia Ammos is the most popular beach close to Paleochora, on the southern side of Crete. It is organized and has golden sand.
This is a popular tourist resort about an hour drive from Chania Town. It has many tourist facilities and a lovely, sandy beach.
It is well organized and it also offers watersports and accommodation options. The water at the beach is shallow and suitable for children to swim in.
Where to eat
At Chania you will find the famous Cretan cuisine enriched with local specialties and the delicacies of western Crete for your enjoyment. Do not miss out on such dishes as “kaltsounia”, “staka” (a local salty creamy-cheese), “boureki” (a dish with vegetables, cheese and mint), the “kreatotourta” (a meat-pie).
In the city of Chania you’ll find a wide range of culinary options: from picturesque and traditional taverns up to elegant restaurants with modern cuisine and international flavours. No palate will remain unsatisfied!
I Sterna tou Bloumosifi
One of the best restaurants in the prefecture of Chania. Do not forget to try the pork with staka (a local salty creamy-cheese) and the lamb roasted in the wood-oven, and also be sure to ask Spiros about his music collection – he has just about everything in it!
An elegant Italian restaurant in the heart of the old port of Chania, operating for 12 years now in a romantic setting. An extensive wine list is available
The tavern has been in business since 1954. The open-air terrace is set almost on the beach and has stunning views. Fresh fish is always available here.
In this Venetian mansion with its magnificent views of the old lighthouse of Chania, you’ll taste local dishes and fresh fish. At the end of the meal you will be served the “Abbot’s” dessert, with fresh fruit and ice cream. An ideal place to take in a most beautiful sunset.
To pigadi tou Tourkou (the Well of the Turk)
Three interconnected rooms painted in ochre and blue with strong oriental touches with the well in the middle room and a beautifully carved fountain. Here you can taste the authentic flavors of Morocco, Egypt and Lebanon, such as hummus. The cuisine is tasty without being too heavy.
In perfect harmony with nature, under towering trees and next to the crystal waters of Armeni, you’ll find a unique area of coolness and exquisite tastes. This small wooden chalet, surrounded by plane-trees, will impress you with its organic cuisine and tasty suggestions.
Thalassino Ageri (Sea Breeze)
Discover a secluded spot in the city, where nothing disturbs the peace and quiet but the sound of the sea. Savour delicious seafood and fresh fish, drink a glass of raki or a refreshing beer and enjoy the serenity and the sea breeze from the Cretan sea. The best time to be here is at sunset .