As the second largest city on the Greek island of Crete, Chania is a stunning holiday destination for those wanting to escape the humdrum of everyday life. The first thing most people hear when talking about Chania is the grand Venetian harbour and after you set your eyes on it for the first time, it’s easy to see why. This amazing site is home to many a beautifully quaint building which all benefit from having influences from both Venetian and Turkish design, making the whole area look wonderfully unique.
But Chania also has an abundance of more amazing things to explore during your stay. This beautiful island city is surrounded by numerous rich options for sightseeing, exploration and discovery, so make sure to bring some comfortable shoes with you. Samaria and many other gorges can be hiked on and there are many archaeological sites to uncover. And when you’re done with physical activity, there are a number of beautiful beaches for you to catch your breath on while also catching some rays.
Top hotels in Chania
Cretan Pearl Resorts & Spa
Elia Stavros Villas
Koukouras -Lia Apts Hotel
Paradice Hotel Luxury Suites
At a glance
- Currency: Euro
- Language: Greek
- Time Zone: GMT +2
- Average flight time: 4h 10m
When to go
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As mentioned before, the Venetian Harbour is perhaps the number one sight in Chania and a visit to witness its splendour is a must for all visitors. This picturesque and historic harbour is a sight to behold and it really gives you a sense of the life and culture of the city. Cosy restaurants line the harbour streets and there is life pulsing through every part of this unique area. From the harbour you can wander to see the equally resplendent Venetian Lighthouse. This scenic walk from the harbour to the lighthouse provides you with a number of amazing photo opportunities while also filling you with the fresh sea air. Look out to the majestic lighthouse, expensive boats sailing around it and if you time it well enough, a beautiful sunset in the background.
The ancient architecture continues with the site of Ancient Aptera, here you can find some amazing Roman relics and have one of the prettiest history lessons you’re ever likely to receive. Another favourite attraction is the Maritime Museum of Crete where you can learn about the beautiful islands long relationship with the ocean and all that comes with it.
Wine and Dine
Cretan cuisine is well known throughout Greece for being both distinguished and traditional. From local cheeses and olive oil to many a punch liquor, Chania is a great showcase for dining on the island. Cooking here is based on simple techniques. The cuisine is a variety of local produce that serves to distinguish the dishes from traditional food on the mainland.
Leaving Chania without trying some of its signature cheese would be a travesty. Most villages on Crete have their own cheese, usually made from sheep or goat’s milk, and each one has its own local interpretation. Graviera, a hard and sweet cheese, pichtogalo Chanion, a creamy soft cheese and myzithra, a young whey cheese, are all local favourites. Greek cuisine is famous for mezze the world over and its own take on that concept in Chania, known as dakos, is a delicious dish to choose at dinner. This traditional dish is like a mixture of bruschetta and greek salad and it will definitely keep you coming back for more. Those on the hunt for slightly left-field choices when choosing to dine abroad should look no further than the local delicacy of fried snails.
Families staying in Chania are sure to experience one of the best family holidays here in one of the most exceptional family resorts on the island of Crete. Enjoy the most relaxing holiday with your other half as your children are having some fun of their own or spend a quality vacation with your family right on the beach. Are there many things better than teaching the little ones to swim or building sandcastles with them? On the many amazing beaches in Chania you can do both to your heart’s content.
With many hotels offering indoor and outdoor kids club as well as several kids’ facilities and services for young toddlers and babies, a holiday in Chania ensures that your family holidays are more than just a collection of memories. When you’re done lounging on the beach a trip to Daios Cove is sure to provide wonder for the youngsters while also proving to be an amazing spot for some great photos. With the many water sports on offer, it’s easy to find some more geared towards youngsters with kayaking, banana boats and of course snorkelling in shallow areas. So why not give some a try?
Action and Adventure
Being an amazing island with picturesque oceans surrounding it in every direction, it seems fairly standard that water-sports are some of the favourite pastimes for both tourists and locals alike. Diving is a particularly favourite in the area and there are many amazing underwater environments to explore and indulge in. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned pro, there are many companies around the resort who can provide you with an unforgettable underwater experience.
If you’d rather stay on top of the water but are still curious about roaming the beautiful ocean then there are many other boat trips available too. A particular favourite around the resort is the choice of a glass bottom boat where you can see directly down into the depths of the ocean to make sure you don’t miss any of the amazing sights on offer. Back on land there are many hikes and treks available to those active holidaymakers who are interested in exploring on their own. There are many routes which weave up and through the mountains, providing breath-taking views throughout the journey. But if you want to take a more leisurely approach to exploring the island then there are also many safari packages which can show you a side different to the beaches and hotels.
Life's a Beach
As expected with this beautiful Greek island, Chania also has some amazing beaches to match its beautiful setting. With many different options to choose from, perhaps Elafonissi Beach is the first name when deciding which to visit first. This small islet in the southwest of Crete is popular for its emerald exotic waters. These waters offer you the chance to forget about everything and relax by the amazing beach while the crystal clear waters lull you into complete relaxation.
With enough beaches to rival the Caribbean, the Greek islands are widely known for their quality sands and among them, Chania is very close to the top of the pile. In addition to Elafonissi Beach there is also Falasarna beach with its fine sand and amazing sunset. If you want to tick off even more beaches when you’re done with those two sterling options, Platanias, Loutro, Kedrodasos are also excellent beach choices really worth seeing.
Start off your night with an alfresco meal in Chania, following your meal with some wine while watching the sun go down. Many restaurants will double as bars as the sun goes down so that you can sit and enjoy the atmosphere as the night draws in. If you fancy something a bit more wild there are also dance clubs in the harbour area and in the beach resort Platanias. Head to Splendid for cocktails in a lounge bar or Eclipse or Mylos for dancing. For metal heads, the Avalon Metal Café plays rock and metal music. If you are feeling upmarket and want to get dressed up you can take your chances at the Senso Club which has a strict door policy but if you get in you will be rewarded with one of the best nights out in Chania. Flamingos Sky Bar will give you excellent views to sip your wine by and then if you are feeling rowdy many places offer karaoke nights, head to Tropicano Club for a good one just outside of the centre of Chania. If you want to dance and party then you will find loads of places to head, if you want to drink quietly in beautiful surroundings then the many beach bars will provide this.
he natural scenery, romantic architecture and quaint way of life of Chania all make for a perfect couples destination. Many of Chania’s villages are characterised by its cobbled, narrow streets. And down each of them you can find some cool bars and cosy restaurants where you can enjoy a romantic candlelit dinner. During summer nights, village squares are open for pedestrians only, and many become large open air taverns and cafes, providing perfect opportunities to find some quiet time with your significant other.
Visiting Chania is one of the most charming experiences for couples in the whole of Greece as it represents enough of a quiet getaway, while also providing numerous opportunities to experience new things. Meaning you can get the best of both worlds when holidaying with your partner.
Chania hosts a variety of events throughout the year and the city is proud of their local history, in the spring months until May you can go on a tour of the city learning about the history and looking at key archaeological sites. Also in May memorial festivities are held to commemorate the battle of Crete, remembering the soldiers who died in the Nazi invasion of Crete in 1941. Throughout the summer months, sports events such as volleyball and handball take place on the beaches. In July Chania hosts an international dance festival with dancers from all over Greece and the world. Cultural summer events are held all through the summer months with music and theatre held in public places all over the city. If you are visiting in September, the sardine festival celebrates one of the staple exports and foods of Chania with free sardines and general festivities in Nea Chora.