This impressive Venetian city is arguably the most beautiful and cosmopolitan in all of Crete.
Surrounded by white mountains, Chania provides a picturesque backdrop to a perfect holiday.
The main tourist area lies to the west and includes popular resorts such as Stalos, Agia Marina, Platanias and Gerani.
All four locations boast everything you would associate with a trip to the Mediterranean. You’ll find sandy beaches of the blue flag variety, tavernas, bars and shops both varied and niche. The further west you venture, the quieter the ambience and the more traditional the resorts. Indeed, every taste is catered for.
Chania town itself encapsulates the Cretan experience. Famed for its Venetian harbour, it has no shortage of museums, nightlife and markets both indoor and out. The old quarter, defined by beautiful narrow streets, are like being transported back in time. You can breathe in Byzantine, Venetian and Turkish history all around.
The harbour itself is a wonderful place to sit and drink in the scenery, as well as beverage or two by way of a taverna. The nearby ark on Tzanakaki Street meanwhile is perfect for younger members of the family to wear themselves out.
What separates Chania’s restaurants from others on the island is the fact so many are set in renovated houses, often in the open air no less. Its fine dining with an unforgettable view.
The majority of bars and clubs remain open through the night, literal music to the ears of those hoping to dance the night away.
Best of all, Chania is easily accessible from all Crete Escapes properties. You can reach the region in next to no time by way of bus, taxi or hire car. Those travelling from further afield will delight in hearing there is even an international airport.
The history of Chania is a fascinating one which began with it being built on the site of the ancient city of Kydonia. This land was inhabited from Neolithic times and through all phases of the Minoan Period.
Kydonia evolved and was at the centre of the Minoan civilization, building a reputation for pottery workshops during this era.
It was a hub of activity during the Roman empire also and was actually destroyed in 828 AD by the Saracene pirates. Its importance waned somewhat during the Byzantine period before an inevitable resurgence.
The Municipal Market is an impressive town centre building, constructed at the beginning of the present century (1911). It houses grocery stores, butchers, a fish market and vegetable shops.
The Public Gardens, based close by, are ideal for those in search of shade and tranquillity. North of the gardens is the area of Chalepa where Prince George and Eleftherios one resided.
At the entrance to the harbour meanwhile, at its northerly east point, is the renovated Fort Firkas. Erected in 1629 it today houses the Maritime Museum of Chania as well as a summer theatre, where drama performances are enacted.
Opposite the Firkas Fort stands the magnificent Venetian Lighthouse, built in the 16th century.
Yet more history can be devoured in the likes of the Archaeological Museum of Chania and the Maritime Museum of Crete which is also based here.
Whether you travel in search of a beach day, a wild night out or a slice of history, Chania will exceed all expectations. It’s the epicentre of the island and worthy of its stellar reputation. A jewel in the Crete crown, it simply has to be experienced.