Chania Town is a beautiful, historic city wrapped around a gorgeous Venetian harbour that was the capital of Crete until 1971. It’s a fabulous place for a holiday, offering everything from an enchanting old quarter packed with boutiques and cafés to some stunning beaches. The harbour is the centre of the action, an elegant ensemble of Venetian buildings overlooking wooden fishing boats and yachts. You can stroll around to the lighthouse, built to resemble a minaret under the Ottomans, or dine at one of the host of restaurants and cafés with tables on the water’s edge. There are lots of family-friendly attractions in the area, including a fun water park, and you’ll also find some fantastic hikes within easy reach.
Most popular hotels in Chania Town
Chania Town, Crete
At a glance
- Time Zone: GMT +
- Average flight time: 4h 0m
When to go
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The historic capital of Crete, Chania Town is a gorgeous city, with ice-cream coloured houses arranged around a magnificent harbour. The perfect holiday destination, it offers something for everyone, whether you simply want to sprawl on golden beaches, stroll through the narrow cobbled streets, or enjoy a romantic dinner by the picturesque port. There are some fascinating museums to visit for culture buffs, and children will love the beaches and the water park. Chania Town is also a great place for nightlife, from live traditional music to lively clubs that keep going until dawn. Inland, you can escape the crowds in timeless hill villages or go hiking through gorges and canyons.
Foodies will be in heaven in Crete, which prides itself on its fantastic fresh produce and delicious local cuisine. There is a huge choice of places to eat and drink in Chania Town, from traditional tavernas to trendy cafés. Many of the restaurants are gathered around the harbour, and have tables with views of the colourful wooden boats bobbing in the port. There are plenty more in the atmospheric cobbled streets of the old quarter. You could try some unusual local specialities such as the wild greens or the tiny snails, or stick with some fabulously fresh seafood or one of the island’s celebrated lamb dishes.
Chania Town is a perfect destination for all the family. Families with young children will enjoy the wonderful sandy beaches, where kids can paddle in the shallow waters, while older kids and teens will love the water sports and the opportunities for shopping and nightlife. This beautiful and historic city is a delight to explore on foot, and you can follow a stroll around the picturesque harbour with a well-earned ice cream on a charming square. Family-friendly attractions in the area include boat rides – including pirate boat and submarine trips – and a water park with plenty of slides and pools, located just south of the city.
Action & Adventure
There are scores of things to do to keep you active on your Chania Town holiday. There is a huge choice of water sports, from sea kayaking and sailing to diving and snorkelling. The northern coast has some fantastic diving sites to explore, and there are lots of local schools that offer courses as well as renting out equipment and running trips to underwater caverns and wrecks. You could also try some extreme sports like paragliding, or have a go on a flyboard or hoverboard, or even take a buggy safari across the beaches. Inland, there are even more things to do, from hiking (Crete is a fantastic hiking destination) to canyoning and off-road adventures in Jeeps.
The closest beach to the centre of Chania Town is Nea Chora, located just west of the harbour. The shallow waters make it particularly good for families with small kids, and there are lots of facilities, including sun loungers for rent plus a choice of cafés and restaurants. You can take snorkelling or diving excursions out to the little island of Lazaretta, which sits just offshore. Further west is Golden Beach, aptly named for its gorgeous sands, which is also a good family option and has plenty of facilities. For something more secluded, head east to Souda Beach, which is enclosed by rugged headlands. Considerably quieter and less developed than beaches closer to the city centre, it still has sun beds and some excellent taverns specialising in fresh fish.
Chania Town buzzes all year round, but is particularly vibrant in the summer when the party moves outdoors. It’s a truly enchanting little city, and its seductive cobbled streets and tiny squares are home to a huge choice of cafés and bars. A long, languid dinner in a local tavern might be followed by a visit to one of the stylish rooftop cocktail bars, where you can soak up amazing views as you sip your drink. The city also boasts a great selection of clubs and live music venues, so you’ll have to plenty of places to choose from if you want to dance until dawn.
Chania Town is a truly enchanting destination for a romantic holiday. Its beautiful harbour, with its wooden boats and elegant buildings painted in hues of rose, provides a cinematic backdrop for romance. You can stroll hand in hand through the cobbled streets of the old quarter, browsing in the chic boutiques and relaxing in one of the outdoor cafés. Or take a romantic sunset boat trip around the bay. Or simply laze on the golden sands of a beautiful beach – Souda Beach is particularly good for romance, framed with rugged cliffs and endowed with some fabulous traditional tavernas famous for their seafood.
Chania Town was the island’s capital until 1971, and its rich and colourful history is evident everywhere you look. This area has been inhabited for millennia, and you can explore the ruins of Kydonia, an ancient Minoan settlement, which are located on the hill of Kasteli. A 12th-century Byzantine wall still encircles Kastelli, which is the oldest part of the city. The elegant harbour, one of the most beautiful in the Mediterranean, was built under the Venetians, and is overlooked by an Ottoman-era mosque and a charming lighthouse built to resemble a minaret. Chania has a whole slew of fascinating museums, including an excellent naval museum and a Byzantine museum full of gilded icons.