Chania is a gorgeous, historic destination that is sure to hold the memories of the lifetime. At the heart of Chania is the Old Town where the architecture from different eras illustrates the town’s complex and turbulent history. The Venetian element is everywhere, from the harbour to the Firkas Fortress on the waterfront. You can also see it in the little streets that zig-zag the Old Town and the remains of the city walls. By way of contrast, there is a former Turkish mosque on the waterfront with Kastelli Hill rising behind it. Today, the Old Town is very much alive with shops, restaurants and artisan workshops repurposing the historic buildings. The new town has grown around the ancient city walls, and the sandy beach is just a 5 minute walk from the harbour. The surrounding area around Chania has plenty more beaches and cultural spots to discover.
Local markets and shopping
Chania's main market hall is the Agora, with shops selling meat, a wide range of fruit and vegetables, cheese and yoghurt, herbs and spices. This is where the locals come to shop, and you can gain an insight into Cretan life and its culinary traditions as well as stock your villa’s fridge. The most popular street market in Chania is the ‘Laiki’ on Saturday where you can buy locally grown fruit and vegetables, cheese, herbs, fish, honey and ouzo. You’ll find supermarkets and mini markets in Chania and the surrounding small towns. For souvenirs and crafts, try the boutiques in the Old Town.
Bars and restaurants
Nightlife in Chania is centred around the harbour which is the main hub for bars and clubs. Live like a local and have a drink or two followed by a leisurely meal at one of the waterside tavernas. If you still have the energy, head for the bright lights and inventive cocktails of the clubs and dance to an eclectic mix of music. The villages surrounding Chania where many of our countryside villas are found, like Kalyves, Almyrida, Maleme and Armeni, have traditional tavernas where you can enjoy some delicious local dishes and wines. By the beaches, you’ll find a mixture of international style beach bars and tavernas serving the typical Greek menu of salads with fish and meat grilled over charcoal.
Up the east coast from Chania is the largely undeveloped Akrotiri Peninsular with some of the best beaches in the area. These include Kalathas Beach which has sunbeds and umbrellas for hire plus a taverna for lunch stops. To the west of Chania, you’ll find plenty more beaches, both developed and a little more rustic. Kolymbari Beach has a long stretch of coast where you can relax and sunbathe whilst enjoying the clear blue sea. Gerani and Maleme are both small with a few facilities but plenty of charm. The more vibrant beach at Platanias has plenty of watersports and nesting loggerhead turtles. If you are looking to venture further afield, the well-known beaches of Balos and Elafonissi are well worth a trip to experience their breathtaking turquoise sea and fine sandy beaches.
Limnoupolis Waterpark is a 30 minute drive from central Chania and has a variety of slides. Mega Place in Chania is a great complex where children can enjoy a variety of play areas all under one roof. Or you can make your way to the go-kart track on the outskirts of Chania which is suitable for everyone from 6 years old upwards.
Places of Interest
Gonia Monastery, a 30 minute drive West from Chania, has Byzantine icons and frescos. The cave of St John the Hermit in Marathokefala and the Minoan Tholos Tomb in Maleme are in the same area and can be combined for a full day exploring. Perched above Kalami village 30 minutes’ drive East of Chania is the ancient Minoan city of Aptera, a must see for history enthusiasts. Samaria Gorge, the longest of its kind in Europe, is about 1 ½ hours' drive south of Chania and very popular with walkers.