Venice of the East
Chania is the most poetic city of Crete, which drags you with its beauty. The Venetian harbor with its lighthouse and the old city center, have given in Chania the reputation of the most picturesque city in Crete, and many people call it as the "Venice of the East".
It is the second largest city on the island of Crete, and the capital of the prefecture of Chania. The area is about 11 square kilometers and is located 60 km west from Rethymnon and 145 km from Heraklion.
Chania is one of the oldest Minoan cities in Crete with a long history, as it is built on the ruins of ancient Cydonia.
“A city which has retained most historical monuments since the days of the Venetians and the Turks, that compose a unique architectural style, wherein over the centuries, different cultures have flourished.”
As evidenced of the findings existing, the story of Chania begins from the Neolithic period (3rd-2nd millennium BC). In Chania, the old and the new city, coexist harmonically, as the new part of the town is embracing the old harmoniousness. The narrow winding cobblestone streets of the old city, and the listed buildings of various historical periods cause the admiration to the guests with different architectural styles, testifying the historical journey of the city.
The hill of Kastelli, is located in the center of the city and constitutes a fortified site next to the old port. Although Chania, was bombed and burned several times in its long history, the old town is considered as one of the prettiest towns of the Mediterranean.
Many of the old buildings have been converted into small hotels, restaurants, shops or homes.
Weather in Chania
Weather in Chania is characterized by the typical Mediterranean climate with dry summers and mild wet winters. A guide to the seasons can help you plan your clothing equipment. With over 300 days of sunshine per year; Chania benefits from one of Europe’s most vital climates. Spring in Chania brings light winds occasionally from Northern Africa and Sahara desert and some rain, with the season's temperatures ranging from cool to warm. Summer is characterized by bright, sunny, hot and dry days. The fall season is cool and rainy. The winter months are not so cold -the average temp is about 11o C- but they are wet too.
There are great hotels, apartments, villas to choose from across the prefecture. Several tour operators send organized groups in Crete, and you can easily find a great 4 or 5 star hotel for your accommodation with “all inclusive” packs for a week or more. On the other hand we recommend you to travel by yourself, as the beauty of Crete is the hidden mountain or coastal villages, that reveal the beauties of the Mediterranean.
Chania and generally all Greece is in the Eastern European Time Zone (Greenwich Mean Time plus two hours during daylight saving time, all over the year).
Getting to Chania and navigating the town is not a big deal—and it's even easier with these tips.
By air: Welcome to Chania airport.The airport is located at Souda—14 km away of the center of the city-. It is not big, but operates domestic flights to Athens International Airport every day. During summer season -April to early November- hosts charter flights from across Europe. The airport provides short and long term parking areas and it is connected with the city center and other main cities of the Crete island by public transport and taxis. Tour operators and many hotels, provide shuttle buses for their visitors to get to or from the airport.
By boat: Welcome to Souda port: During the summer months there is a daily connection of the port of Chania, Souda, with the harbor of Piraeus.
Crete is famous not only for the beauties of the scenery and long sandy coasts but also for the Cretan diet. The Cretan diet is not just a variety of “healthy” dishes presented on the table. It represents a whole philosophy of the lifestyle of the Cretan and in fact the Greek people.
The “unique” Cretan Diet is not only a tasty but also a healthy diet that exists throughout the centuries. Old recipes and modern creative versions of them, are always cooked, with the same top quality of pure products of the blessed Cretan earth.
This diet embodies a whole philosophy of life, in fact is, the quality way of life of the Cretan people.
Travellers, who will visit the traditional small taverns or even those modern restaurants in the city of Chania, will have wonderful experiences, by participating in the life and the “taste” of the local people.
Egyptian lighthouse: It is the oldest lighthouse that still exists, not only in the Greek coast and the Mediterranean, but also one of the oldest lighthouses in the world.
Archaeological Museum of Chania:The Archaeological Museum of Chania, located in the former Venetian monastery of St. Francis.
Municipal Market:The municipal market was built in the area that the southern city walls were located, in the position of the Venetian fortress of Piattaforma. It is a huge surface building area market construction, was completed in 1913. The municipal market of Chania is not only a great business center, but also a tangible image as a concept of the Ancient Greek Agora. During the 80’s, was characterized by the Ministry of Culture as a monument.
Mosque of Küçük Hassan:The mosque of Küçük Hasan (Yali Tzami) is an example of the Renaissance of the Islamic art, dating in the second half of the 17th century. It was built in his honor of the first garrison commander of Chania, Küçük Hasan. The mosque is a cubic building that is covered by a large hemispherical cupola supported by four elaborate stone arches. From the western and the northern side surrounded by an arcade roofed by six small cupolas. The Yali Tzami (mosque of the beach), as it is commonly known, was the work of an Armenian architect who had constructed another similar, in Spaniako village of Selino. In the courtyard of the mosque, there were palm trees, and beneath them were pashas and janissaries’ tombs. The area stopped operating as a mosque in 1923 and now is renovated in order to constitutes events and meetings.
Samaria canyon:Samaria Canyon is one of the main attractions in Chania. The wild beauty fascinates nature lovers and makes you feel closer to nature than ever. This is the most developed Canyon in Crete- as there are a lot in the island-, and has bridges where are the difficult passages, fountains with drinking water, fire fighting stations and first aid stations. It is a National Park of Greece since 1962 and is located at a distance of 43km. away the city of Chania. The Samaria Canyon extends about 18 km and is home to more than 50 species of wild birds, native plants of Crete and the Cretan wild goat. For security reasons, the canyon is closed from October to May.
Balos beach: Balos is the exotic beach lagoon formed between the peninsula Gramvousa, cape Tigani, and the two Gramvousa Islands (Imeri & Wild Gramvousa). Balos and Imeri Gramvousa can be reached by cruise ship from the port of Kissamos, and only to Balos you can go by car, driving up to a point and then walking.
Elafonissi beach: Elafonissi or Elafonissos, is located in the southwest corner of the Chania territory and is something between an island and peninsula as to go there you will have to walk through the water. It is a place of great natural beauty and the place is a Natura protected area. We can say that beach is a miracle of nature!
Falasarna: Falassarna is located on the west side of Chania territory, about 53 km from the city of Chania. This is one of the best beaches not only of the Chania prefecture but for the entire island. Today anyone who refers to Falasarna has in mind the magnificent shore as the crystal clear waters, meet the fine golden sand!
Platanias, Agia Marina, Stalos: This is the main resort not only of Chania but also in the Western Crete. It is the most cosmopolitan region just after the city of Chania. It is only a 10 minutes drive, west of the city. In this area are located the larger hotels of western Crete, and most tourists visiting Chania stay here. For the day, the place is characterised by the beach bars, the swimming in the crystal waters, the sunbathing under the hot sun, the sea sports and fun on the beach. For the night, it is full of nightclubs, bars, cafes, greek traditional taverns, and fine restaurants.
One of the main areas for entertainment in Chania is the Old Harbour. It is the Venetian harbour of Chania with the legendary Egyptian lighthouse decorates its entrance. This is an area where bars, cafes, restaurants and nightclubs are located. The domestic people as well as tourists enjoy evenings and nights here as they can enjoy to have a late dinner and drink a few cocktails. Especially during the summer period when the level of tourism is high, this is one of the “hot spots” of the town for barhopping.
Many people start their evening with a late dinner at a traditional small tavern, a café, or a restaurant that serves home-cooked types of Cretan cuisine.
There are quite a few different bars in Chania and they all feature different types of music - some of which is played live. Not only can International music be enjoyed in some of the bars, but other popular types of music such as Latin, European, American and Greek music is also played. Don’t miss for the fliers posted around on the walls and advertising local -and live in many cases- events.
“The nightlife in Chania starts from late evening and continues through the night, and does not end until the early morning.”
In Chania and throughout Greece, the euro is the standard currency. This converter allows you to determine the value of other currencies compared with the euro.
Of course, there are so many places where you can exchange your currency for euro such as Banks, Currency exchange offices etc.
Chania is a popular holiday destination and generally a quite safe place for visitors. Use common caution and be careful when walking around after dark and you won't face any problems while staying in Chania.
Power sockets in Greece deliver 220-240 volts at 60 hertz, and you may need a converter to use your electrical and electronical devices here.
If you have a laptop or a tablet with you, wireless Internet is available throughout Chania, including in many hotels, coffee shops, parks, etc. At some locations, you have to pay for WiFi.
The drinking age in Chania —and throughout Greece—is 18, and smoking is banned in public places throughout the Town, including bars, restaurants, Public Transport and taxis. Cigar smoking is permitted at cigar bars that register with the Town. In Chania, those who are 18 or older can purchase tobacco and cigarettes.