Chania (Greek Χανιά, also transliterated Hania or even Khania) is a beautiful port town on the north west coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Highly livable spot.
Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania bay is a well visited destination for Scandinavian charter trips. Chania, being the nearest city, is a attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. Here is plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking on Greek tavernas and modern cafés that are open into the night.
The old town is centered around the harbor, it is a maze of alleys and houses that has been standing for many hundred years rebuilt,ruined and built up again with details from the different epochs. Old town is full of souvenir, art and crafts shops; the new quarters house the regular span of shops, here you can find the most of your needs for the hiking or other adventures. The beaches begin in the city a bit away but not far from the old town. Nearest one is Nea Hora, a 1 km. walk from the west end of the Old Town.
Summer season (April to October) is hot and dry with clear skies. Dry hot days are often relieved by a seasonal breeze from the north, Meltemi. Occasional heat waves. Winters are mild with relatively little rain and rare frosts but with a high level of humidity that drops the relative temperature.
The city is served by Chania International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula a bit north-east of the city. The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century. It is rather small with six gates. tel: +30 28210 83800
There are several flights a day from Athens to Chania, with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. From April to early November, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and other European countries. It has recently become a Ryanair hub connecting Chania to over 20 European and Domestic destinations.
As of 2015 the tourist season is extending with the support of Ryanair who now offer 29 routes from Chania to destinations around Europe as well as all year round twice a week flights to Paphos Cyprus. This opens up new opportunities for expats and tourists to be able to get to Chania in winter, transiting via Paphos rather than Athens. All year round now both Ryanair and Aegean Airlines offer many daily flights direct to Athens. With its choice of city breaks, beautiful beaches, stunning mountains Chania in Crete is a very popular all year round destination, with Chania staying open all year round even if many of the smaller beach resorts are closed in winter. Many North European expats have made Chania their choice of home, in particular expats from countries such as teh UK and Norway. For all the flight information on all year round travel do see flights to chania where you can get all the latest flight routes.
As of 2015 you will also see a huge expansion underway at Chania Airport with a new terminal being built. All year round you will find car hire facilities, taxis and much more.
There are half-hourly buses which can take you from the airport to the center of town for €2-30 (2014).. The KTEL site is in Greek/ English/ German. Buses are arranged around arrivals of flights and the journey to Chania Central Bus Station takes about 20-30 min. Otherwise you can take a local taxi at approx. 18-24 euros or book an airport transfer in advance.
Chania is connected with the rest of Crete by regular bus lines operated the KTEL company . The coaches are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. Fare is reasonable. Public transportation is fairly frequent and timetables quite trustworthy. Bus services along the north coast and towards the south coast are excellent, reliable, frequent and cheap. Bus fare to Rethimno is around seven euros (two hours), Hiraklio 14 euro (three hours). If you pay on the bus, be sure to examine your change as there have been reports of conductors giving the old 500 lira coin back instead of the 2 euro coin.
Highway E75 (A90) goes along the North coast of Crete from Heraklion to Kissamos, it goes by the southern outskirts of the town. The old road, that still has the name 90, is parallel to the new highway and is the main road through all the small resorts west of Chania.
If you are on Crete to see the 'real Crete', as opposed to the night clubs for tourists, then visiting the villages of the island is a must. All Cretan culture can be seen, heard and tasted in the villages. The Cretans at work or at leisure will always welcome visitors and show you how to do things the correct way. All villages have a central kafenion (coffee shop) which is where all people eventually end up. The kafenion, apart from being a place to meet friends for a coffee, raki or a game of tavli (backgammon), is used as the main information center of the village. Be aware, however, that the kafenion is still very much a male dominion and women are generally not found inside (as opposed to a kafeteria or regular cafe), though the local custom of philoxenia(hospitality) usually ensures that Western couples and mixed groups are accepted. Most villages have war memorials and the locals will willingly fill in any missing information. Gavalohori has a wonderful Folklore Museum where much about village life can be learned.
Chania Municipal Agora. Built in 1913 as vegetable, fish and meat market for the city of Chania, it officially opend to the public 3 days after the union of the island of Crete with Greece. The architect, K. Drandakis, built the market were the mortar of the southern venetian walls were. This is evident by the difference of hight between the north and south entrance to the building. During the Nazi occupation, most of the market place was used as a storage space for the German army. Today, although there are some shops selling local products, there are also many souvenir stores. Entrace is free.
Chania Cathedral Trimartiti. Chalidon street. The church was built in 1860 during the Ottoman rule of the island. On the same site there was an original Byzantine church that had been converted into a soap factory after the sack of the city by the Ottoman Turks in 1645. The architectural style has influences from the venetian style and also the 'eikones', paintings of saints in the church itself are not according to the strict Byzantine style. On the contrary, the western influence is evident with background colours and softer facial features. Entrance Free.
Our Lady Catholic Church. Chalidon street. It was built in 1879 in the site of a Capuccin monestary in existance since 1566. For a time the monks also ran a hospital. Free Entrance.
Etz Hayyim Synagogue, Parados Kondylaki, 730 11 (The synagogue can be reached by walking up Kondylaki Street from the harbour and taking the second turn to the right (please check also the map icon bellow). This street is only about 25 meters long and leads to a cross street with no other exits. On reaching that intersection, the stone wall and entrance to the courtyard of the synagogue are directly in front of you.), ☎ +30 28210 862 86, . 10:00 - 18:00. Until 1999 Etz Hayyim was a desecrated house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on the Island of Crete after the destruction of Crete's Jewish community in 1944. Essentially it stood as a monument to the success of the Nazis in obliterating 2300 years of Jewish life on the Island of Crete. Between 1996 and the year of its re-dedication in 1999, the structure was painstakingly restored. The philosophy that directed this work is summed up in the Hebrew Am Israel Hayy:'The people of Israel Live'. Today it stands as a vibrant statement of Jewish life, vitality and values, whereas until recently it was still mentioned on the World Monument Fund's list of most endangered sites. edit
The Archaeological Museum of Hania Chalidon street. The original edifice was built in 1605 as a Franciscan Monestary dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. Before being turned into a museum it was converted into a mosque and a cinema. It now houses the Archaeological Collection of the city with findings from ancient Kydoniai (Chania) and Aptera. There is also a recent collection added by the ex-Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis who is born in Chania.
The Grand Arsenali. Port. The buildings in this part of the port were basically store rooms for the venetian fleet. In fall the venetians would pull their ships out of the sea, repair and store them until spring. The building itself, built in 1585 was also used as a school, a theatre, a hospital, the city Town house. Currently, it is being used as the Center of Mediterranean Architecture.
The Minoan Ship. Last Arsenali at the far end of the port. In 2003, a replica of the merchant ships that the Minoans used to control the trade in the eastern Mediterranean was built in Chania. Its maiden voyage was to Athens for the opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. It's worth having a look.
Splatzia Square. Easily reached from Daskalogianni street behind the Agora. A huge plain tree stands in the middle of the square where you will find cretan men drinking 'tsikoudia' a local spirit. Behind, you will find St Nikolas' church. Originally built for the Dominican Order it was turned into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation and now it is an Orthodox church. The minarets have recently been restored and not surprisingly, they do not follow the Ottoman architectural style but a more western venetian influence.
Dikastiria Square. This square is dominated by the neoclassical building of the Court House. It is a nice part of town to sit back and enjoy coffee. From the square, Iroon Polytechniou street, lined with fine examples of neo classical architecture reminiscent of the time the Chania was the capital of the short lived Cretan Republic, leads to the sea and the Koum Kapi beach and coffee shop area. Dimokratias Avenue will take you back to the Agora through upmarket boutiques and the more exclusive shopping area of the city.
Venizelos Family Tomb. This area also known as Profitis Ilias is situated on a hill above the city. Access is easy by buses leaving from outside the National Bank of Greece opposite the Agora. Eleftherios Venizelos was a politician that marked Greek history of the 20th century and was born in Chania. The view, especially in the late afternoon is breathtaking. There are coffee shops at the level of and below the tombs. Don't forget your camera.
The venetian port. This is probably one of the most picturesque ports of the country. It is lined with a number of coffee shops and restaurants and is frequented not only by tourists but also by locals who on cool summer evenings stroll up and down. Reaching the port from Chalidon street there are a number of monuments to look out for. In front of you you can see the light house which was built during the Venetian rule of the city in 1595 and is considered to be one of the oldest standing lighthouses intenationally. It has undergone renovations at least 5 times and is considered to be the landmark of the city. Opposite the lighthouse you can find the Frikas Fortess which houses the naval museum, is still a military base and were the Greek flag was first raised after unification with Greece in 1931. To your right is the Yiali Tzami , the Sea mosque, built by an Armenian architect in the late 17th century. Today, it is used as a municipal art gallery. Free Entrance.
The village of Maleme, Old national road Chania Kissamos (15 km after Chania town), . See the German Cemetery on Kaukales hill at Maleme. It is a haunting experience as on the graves there are names of 16 year old German soldiers. This was the site of the first airborne attack in the history of mankind. The Battle of Crete is thought of as one of the most glorious moments in Greek history as it took the Nazis the same amount of time to sweep through Holland, Belgium and central and northern France as it took them to conquer Crete. Don't be surprised if you see Kyria Eleni, and old woman dressed in black lighting candles for the dead soldiers. If asked why, she will tell you that she hopes that some german daughter will be doing the same for her father who was exterminated in a concentration camp. You can also see the historical airport battlefield and for nature lovers the beach of Gerani where the sea turtle Caretta Caretta is preserved.edit
Samaria gorge is a popular day trip from Chania. A word of warning, make sure you are wearing good quality walking shoes/ hiking boots/ trainers with sticks. Tourists trying to cross the gorge in flipflops, and trendy sandals end up walking barefoot and in pain. The nature and landscape are amazing; the gorge is home to a protected (under extinction) goat. The sea at the far end of the gorge in Agia Roumeli is absolutely amazing, crystal clear and turquoise.
Botanical Park Of Crete, Skordalou Platania, ☎ +30 697 686 0573, . Twenty-tree of March to Noveber every day: Entrance is allowed starting at 9 am , all through the day , with the last entrance allowed no later than one hour before sunset.. Walking in the Botanical park & Gardens of Crete offes spiritual tranquility and visual pleasure in addition to knowledge on plants and their material . Nearly 20 hectares of land are waiting to welcome you, full of fruit trees from all over the world, herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants in a park different from others, where the land’s formation and the region’s microclimate make it a paradise for hundreds of plants and animals! In the midst of this colorful and vivid landscape stands a burnt centennial olive tree, a memorial and a reference to the dismal fires of 2003, the park’s history and origin. The newest and one of the most interesting sites of the Prefecture of Chania lies only 18 kilometers outside the city, on the feet of the White Mountains.6 Euros Ages 6 to 12 4 Euros, Ages 6 and under are FREE with parents. edit
Mpourakis in Kounoupidiana presents delicious traditional cuisine, cooking only with extra virgin olive oil. From Kounoupidiana center take the road on the right go towards Stavros, 100 meters on your right side.
The Roadhouse Bar & Grill (Mike's Roadhouse), Kounoupidiana, Akrotiri (Go 7km east on Leoforos Venezelos (Main Road) out of Hania towards the Akrotiri Peninsula.), ☎ +30 28210 64072. Everyday 7PM. Mike's Roadhouse is a bar & grill with great cheeseburgers and chili. Mike and Petia speak fluent English, Bulgarian, and German. Pick up a microphone and sing Karaoke.$$. edit
Mike's in Maleme, 17 km west from Chania. Home-style cooking .
Pinaleon in El.Venizelou. Good tavern which serves tasty Cretan cuisine.
theodosi restaurant, Paparigopoulou Street (2 km out of Chania, on Parigoria Hill Top), ☎ +30 2821093733 / +30 6979151577, . 18:30. A restaurant serving traditional Greek and Cretan dishes. The food is very fresh with very large portions. Their patio seating has fantastic views of the sea and city.8-18. (35.507684,23.998458)edit
The Well of the Turk, Kallinikou Street 1-3 (Olde Town, historic Turkish district of Splanzia (Rouga Sq)), ☎ +302821054547, . Dinner until late. Long before you get tired of standard taverna fare, take a wander into the labyrinth of the old Turkish quarter and discover this delightful place. Owner Jenny's cooking is excellent, thoroughly authentic with undertones of the Levant and the atmosphere is casual and welcoming. The service is efficient without being pushy and the staff seemed to get it right in several languages. The inside room (actually several small rooms) is perfect for cooler evenings; as soon as it gets warm the tables outside are the place to be. A friendly mix of diners of all types and backgrounds. It makes a great change of pace from the harbor scene; coffee and raki under the stars in a pedestrian backstreet straight out of the middle ages. Winner of Gourmet's award for the best ethnic food in Crete for the last two years. Open daily for dinner except Tuesdays.Moderate. edit
Gramboussa (Restaurant), Gramboussa Kissamou (Kaliviani), . Traditional Cretan cuisine in quiet surroundings.Moderate. (35.512893,23.608825)edit
Restaurant Kariatis (Old Venetian Harbour), Katechaki Square, Chania (Next to the Arsenali, Old Harbour), ☎ 28210 55600, . dinner 6-12. Beautiful, stylish restaurant built on the old Kastelli wall in the wonderful, picturesque Venetian harbour of Chania. Established in 1993, Kariatis enjoys an excellent reputation for top quality food and service with an impressive menu created and served with proficiency and flair. Kariatis also offers a delicious selection of Italian & Mediterranean-style tapas in the newly-opened wine bar together with an extensive choice of Greek and International wines by the glass. Open every evening all year-round (except some National Greek holidays).12-30euros. (Open all year round.,open every evening)edit
Italian Restaurant Zafferano (Platanias, Chania), Platanias - opposite the Minoa Palace Hotel (14km west of Chania situated on the old coast road.), ☎ 28210 38180-1, . Dinner 6-12. Very stylish Italian restaurant set on a beautifully decorated, spacious roof piazza overlooking the coastline of Platanias. Fresh seafood, pasta, risotto, succulent fillet steaks and wood-fired oven gourmet pizza all created with premier ingredients from Crete and Italy. Open every evening from May until October for dinner and take-away.12-30 euros. (Summertime only,May - October)edit
Mama's Dinner (Kaliviani, Chania), Kaliviani - 5 km west from the town of Kissamos and 8 km north from Falasarna beach (35 km west of Chania situated in the traditional village Kaliviani, on the way to Balos Beach.), ☎ 28220 23204, . Dinner 6-12. Fine restaurant with creative cretan cuisine and stunning sea views to the gulf of Kissamos15-20 euros. (Summertime only,May - October)edit
Kariatis Wine Bar, Katechaki Square, Old Harbour, Chania (Next to the Arsenali, Old Harbour), ☎ 28210 55600, . 6pm 'til 12.. Elegant new wine bar at Kariatis. Offering more than 100 different Greek and International wines and champagnes together with a great selection of wines by the glass. There's also an Italian and Mediterranean-style tapas menu to enjoy with your drinks. Open every evening from 6pm 'til 12.00am.5-20 euros. (Open every evening,All year round.)edit
Chania and environs off accommodations ranging from hostels to 5 star hotels. The historical backstreets by the old harbor in Chania are full of old Venetian houses that have been renovated into hotels, some of which are very well priced with a unique atmosphere, friendly proprietors and, obviously, an excellent location. However, most of these are not advertised online, so unless you are going at the peak season (June-August), consider not making a reservation and shopping for accommodation once there. You will likely find yourself happily surprised.
Hotels in Chania City:
Iro Apartments, 36 K. Paleologu Street, Tel./Fax: (0030)2821074269, . Small hotel combining vicinity to the centre of Chania and the old town (within 900 m) as well as the sandy beach of Nea Hora (30 m away). Great atmosphere.
Hotel Helena - Lovely hotel, very reasonable prices in the off-season (one traveler paid a total of €40/night for a triple in April; the prices listed are somewhat more at €35/n for a single and €55/n for a double), with a very friendly and chatty proprietor who was always available to provide advice or assistance. Just two streets down from the waterfront.
Ontas Traditional Hotel, Epimenidou and Ikarou, +30 28210-27691,  - in the old town.
Vilelmine Hotel, 32 Betolo St., +30 2821 0 46048,  & . Quaint, clean, centrally located in the Old Town.
Outside Chania city:
Esthisis suites and maisonettes, Platanias - Chania,  , Tel. +30 694 8581232, With spectacular view to Cretan sea, the coastal zone and the village of Platanias, provides full equipped suites and maisonettes of one, two and three bedrooms equipped with all modern comforts for a pleasant and relaxing stay.
Frideriki Studios & Apartments - in the village of Platanias
Mike Hotel & Apartments - in the village of Maleme
Sunrise Studios Chania - in the village of Kalathas
Corissia Group Hotels in Chania Georgioupolis Crete.
Villalux, Kalathas Beach, . Luxury Villa rental in Kalathas/Tersanasedit
Blue Beach Apartments in Stavros - Akrotiri - Chania, , TEL.: (0030) 28210 39404/5, FAX.:(0030) 28210 39406. The spotless, well appointed, villas and apartments (recommended by "Rough Guide to Crete"), which can accommodate 2 to 6 people, come complete with private bathrooms, kitchenettes and balconies with wonderful view. The villas and apartments vary in style and location. All are within two minutes from the beach and provide clean attractive accommodation.
Alexis Hotel, Parigoria (just 2 km from the city centre), ☎ 28210-93733, . checkin: 15:00; checkout: 12:00. A family run hotel, with friendly and helpful staff who really want their guests to be happy. It's near the national road which is important if you want to easily go on an excursions and explore the island. It is close to the beach and the rooms have fantastic sea views. Booking a room with breakfast and dinner is a good thing to do. The hotel restaurant is called Theo.28 euro/night low season. edit
Yakinthos Beach Hotel, (Near Chania), ☎ +302821033456, . checkin: 12.30; checkout: 12.00. 3-star beach hotel in Chania prefecture, right near the beaches of Agii Apostoli and Glaros.(35510518,23975075)edit
Hotel Phaedra Studios & Apartments (Hotel Phaedra), Kato Stalos (7 km from Chania), ☎ +30 28210 60690, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. Family beach hotel with swimming pool, on the beach, awarded the “Blue Flag” of the European Union and supervised by lifeguards. It consists of 22 apartments and studios with private balcony or patio with sea view. A bus-stop is close to the hotel.edit
Room Honeymoon (Room Honeymoon), Zampeliou 85 (in the center of the Old Town), ☎ +30697755792, . checkin: 14:00; checkout: 12:00. The Room Honeymoon is a charming Guest House nestled in the heart of Chania's Old Town that offers a pleasant mix of historic charm and modern comforts.70USD. (35.516692,24.015511)edit
Louis Creta Princess (Louis Creta Princess Hotel in Chania), Platanias, Crete (73014), ☎ 0030 28210 62702, . a step away from the beach with sunny rooms and 4 bedded garden rooms situated around the pool.edit
Vritomartis Naturist Resort (Vritomartis Naturist Resort in Sfakia), Sfakia, Crete, ☎ 0030 28250 91112, . The only naturist resort in Crete. Its spectacular location overlooking the Cretan Sea and its private beach ensure you will have an excellent time here.(35.19705,24.14815)edit