Chania is one of the prettiest towns on the island of Crete, with its cobbled streets filled with shops selling clothes, ceramics, and local artworks, and restaurants and cafes overlooking the Venetian harbour, but if you fancy venturing further afield, we have listed a few suggestions below.
The Old Port
Dating from the 14th century, the old harbour is ringed by a promenade lined with seafood eateries and cafés. As you wander to the east of the old harbour, you'll pass by the small mosque, erected by the Ottoman Turks after they took Chania in 1645. Today it serves as a small art gallery. Beyond the mosque stand the arsenals, where the Venetians repaired their galleys. There is also a yachting marina.
Walk the Seawall to the Lighthouse
One of the best views of the old port and Chania's old town can be found by taking a stroll along the Venetian seawall to the 19th-century lighthouse. The walk takes about 15 minutes one way, at a leisurely pace. This walk will also take you by some of the main sights in the old port, including the Yiali Tzami mosque and the Venetian arsenals. Although the lighthouse is not open to visitors, you can still climb the set of stairs to the first level.
Maritime Museum of Crete
The museum traces Crete's centuries-old relationship with the sea, from the Minoans, through the Byzantine, Venetian, and Turkish periods, to arrive at the German invasion of the island during WWII. Spread over two floors, the collection includes video presentations, amazing models of ships, paintings, photos, and nautical equipment
Archaeological Museum of Chania
Chania's history dates back millennia to somewhere around 2200 BC, when the Minoans founded the ancient city-state of Kydonia on this same spot. You will be able to view archeological finds from western Crete dating from Neolithic times through to the Roman era, with a vast array of ceramics, painted burial urns, gold jewellery, and clay tablets with inscriptions to name a few.
Botanic Park & Gardens of Crete
Crete is well known for growing olives and grapes, but also farms tropical fruits, such as avocados and bananas. In this carefully tended park, at the foot of the White Mountains, you can follow a two-kilometer path that will take you through a garden planted with exotic flowers and fruit trees from all over the world. Sit in a shady spot to take in the wonderful aroma of the fragrant herbs or visit the café-restaurant where they serve Cretan dishes prepared with the park’s own seasonal produce.
The Monasteries of Akrotiri Peninsula
The rocky peninsula of Akrotiri, 10 kilometres east of Chania, is home to three monasteries; Agia Triada, Gouverneto and Katholiko, each one set in beautiful surroundings with unique characteristics.
Day Trip to Hike the Samaria Gorge
For the adventurers among you, take a day trip to hike the Samaria Gorge, the longest of Crete’s deep cut gorges at 18 kilometres. You can do the hike independently or as part of an organised trip, which is highly recommended as the hike is quite complex and challenging. This is a one-way hike, so you need to consider transport back to your starting point before embarking on this activity. Entrance to the gorge is at the village of Omalós, 42 kilometres south of Chania. The hike is almost all downhill, with the gorge opening out to the sea at the village of Ayía Rouméli, with a black-sand beach where you can swim at the end of your hike to cool you down.
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