Chania town in Crete Island: From the old town, to exotic Balos beach and the famous Samaria Gorge, Chania will treat you to raki and unforgettable adventures.
The westernmost side of Crete, Chania is a wonderful place for vacations. The Town is a romantic place to stroll around, with Medieval architecture, elegant mansions and a wonderful Venetian port, the most famous spot of the town. In close distance to Chania Town, there are many tourist beaches and hotels.
However, you should not also miss excursions around the region to discover the fabulous spots of Chania: Balos, Elafonissi, Sfakia, Falassarna and Samaria Gorge. All beaches in Chania Greece have crystal water and each one offers a unique experience, from the most tourist to the most secluded beach. The natural beauty of the area is breathtaking.
Chania will steal your heart. Romans, Byzantines, Muslims, Venetians, Ottomans… all came through here, creating a multicultural corner of Crete. Wandering around the port, you’ll encounter the Venetian lighthouse, the Grand Arsenal, Kum Kapi and Halepa. You’ll enjoy luxurious accommodation in elegant villas, pulsating bars and restaurants, as well as significant cultural sites.
Where is Chania Crete
Chania in Crete is located on the westernmost side of the island. Although some places have developed in tourist resorts, most beaches and villages in Chania keep their authentic style. The northern side is more developed and lined up with luxurious tourist resorts and organized beaches. This is where the most popular beach villages of Chania are found. On the contrary, the southern side is secluded and more traditional, with small seaside villages and unorganized beaches.
How to Get to Chania Greece
Travel to Chania, Greece: Chania is one of the most breathtaking destinations in Greece, popular for its exotic beaches and lively atmosphere. On this page, you will find out in which ways you can reach and explore this unique place!
Ferries to Chania
There is a frequent ferry connection between Athens and Chania all year round. Ferries depart from Piraeus port in Athens for the port of Chania almost every day. During summer, both day and overnight routes are carried out.
However, there is no ferry connection between the port of Chania and other islands. You can reach Kithyra, Antikithyra and Gythio only from Kissamos port, which is about an hour away from Chania, and Gavdos island from the small port of Paleochora. These routes are carried out about 3 times per week.
Flights to Chania
Chania International Airport “Ioannis Daskalogiannis” is the sixth busiest airport in Greece. It receives domestic flights from Athens and Thessaloniki all year round, as well as seasonal flights from many European countries during summer. The flying time from Athens to Chania is about 45 minutes.
Upon your arrival, it is a nice idea to take a taxi for your transfer, since the airport is located near Souda Bay, 14 km away from the Town centre.
Things to do in Chania
There are many chances for alternative things to do Chania, apart from beach holidays. Diving is gradually developing in the region of Chania as the coastline of Crete is rich is sea flora, rare fish species, ancient wrecks, and other interesting diving spots. Most diving centers are found on the northern coasts of Chania and offer diving trips and courses of all levels. Windsurfing and kitesurfing are also developing in the western coasts of Chania.
The region of Chania is also perfect for hiking. In fact, many hikers come to Crete mostly in spring and autumn to walk the hiking trails in the inland. Along their way, they see interesting sights, authentic villages, and secluded beaches. Samaria Gorge is the most popular hiking spot in Chania. Before flying back home, taste and buy local traditional products and souvenirs from Crete.
Sightseeing in Chania
Famous for the lovely beaches and the wild countryside, the region of Chania, the westernmost part of Crete island, gets very popular in summer. The list with the top sightseeing in the region could include so many places: from tiny villages and fantastic beaches to impressive landscape spots. Not to miss is the Old Town of Chania, with the Venetian port and the lighthouse on its side. Take a stroll around the town and get lost in time. Among the most wonderful beaches in Chania are Balos, Elafonissi and Falassarna. As for activities, visitors can experience hiking at the Gorge of Samaria, bungee jumping at Aradena Bridge or windsurfing at Elafonissi.
Eat & Drink in Chania
There are so many places to eat and drink in Chania that a drive or walk around will bring you to some fantastic choices. Restaurants and cafe by the sea, lounge bars or clubs with all-night parties are only a few alternatives for a lovely nightlife in Chania. Most of these alternatives are found in Chania Town, however, a lot of seaside taverns and cafes are also found in popular tourist places of the region, such as Georgioupolis, Kolymbari, Paleochora, Maleme, Platanias, Kissamos and more.
Numerous beautiful beaches with soft sand or colored pebbles are found in the prefecture of Chania in western Crete. Many Chania beaches are among the best on the island, such as Balos, Falassarna, and Elafonissi. Apart from organized beaches in Chania Greece, there are also plenty of deserted coves and lovely bays to enjoy total privacy. All Chania beaches though have crystal waters and look like paradise. You will find below a list of the best beaches in Chania Crete.
Beaches of Chania
The old town of Chania
You’ll discover its secrets step by step. The alleys are full of surprises and every stroll is an experience. Stand next to the picture-perfect lighthouse at the port, a 16th-century Venetian construction. Walk among the impressive buildings and attractions: the Küçük Hasan mosque, the renovated Grand Arsenal, the Splanzia ruins and the Kum Kapi at Miaouli Beach.
Get lost in the ambience of the aristocratic suburb of Halepa, with its neoclassical buildings that once hosted the consulates of the Great Powers. You’ll feel as if you’re in a different era: the school of “San Joseph”, the Russian church of Saint Mary Magdelene, the Palace of Prince George… Chania’s old town will sweep you off your feet.
An afternoon in Kastelli
Kastelli Hill was once ancient Kydonia and, later, a Byzantine castle. Eventually a city was built around it, with new walls erected by the Venetians. That’s the history you’ll encounter today. You’ll see the Byzantine walls on Karaoli Dimitriou Street and the excavated Proto-Minoan settlement on Kanevaro Street. Make your way to the edge of the Kastelli citadel to watch the sunset, which turns the old town into a technicolour dream.
Boutique guest houses, historic hospitality
In Chania’s old town, the Venetian and neoclassical mansions of past generations and the emblematic buildings with their rich history have been converted to luxurious boutique hotels. Enjoy elegant design details, high standards of service, rooftops and balconies with incredible views, manicured gardens, pools and fountains. Here, the sophisticated ambience of the past is combined with modern comforts, making Chania a luxury holiday destination.
The citadel of faith in Chania
East of Chania, Akrotiri and its old monasteries await you. Walk to the monastery of Agia Triada Tsagarolon (17th century), the Gouverneto monastery (16th century), the ruins of the Catholic monastery, considered the oldest in Crete (11th century), and Panagia Arkoudiotissa. Its altar is hidden in the dark of the so-called Arkoudospilias (Bear Cave), named after a bear-shaped stalactite. Its religious history dates back to ancient times. The goddess Artemis was also worshipped here.
Here you’ll understand why Cretan cuisine has gained worldwide acclaim. In the fish tavernas, rakadika, and historic cafes with their VIP clientele, the flavours of Crete will win you over. For a more innovative gastronomical experience, try Chania’s gourmet restaurants, where renowned chefs have elevated the island’s traditional cuisine, winning many awards and accolades in the process (such as the Golden Chef’s Toque).
It’s worth visiting the villages of Apokoronas, about 20 minutes outside of town: Armeni, Vamos, Xirosterni, Kefalos, Gavalohori, and Agios Pavlos are some of the most beautiful villages in Crete, and promise to be great culinary journeys. Here you will experience authentic Cretan cuisine, sampling local recipes such as tsigariasto, boureki, kalitsounia, pilafi, dakos, as well as all sorts of delicious grilled meat.
Just ten minutes outside Chania, beach parties are happening left and right. At Agia Marina, Platanias and Stalos, you will find beaches with turquoise water, sun loungers, bars, hotels and tavernas right on the edge of on the sea. If you want to dance till dawn, don’t miss the parties at Platanias, where summer nights never end.
Beach attractions in Chania
Excursion 1 Chania-Falasarna: 58km and you’re in paradise. White sand between your toes, emerald water and magical sunsets. Endless beauty at one of the most stunning beaches in the Mediterranean, 3km long, north of which is ancient Falarsana.
Excursion 2 Balos: 52km from Chania (or you can take a caique from Kissamos) and you find yourself in one of the most photographed beaches in Crete, the heavenly saltwater Balos lagoon. Relax in its shallow blue-green water, sink your feet into the luminescent sand made up of thousands of broken seashells. Across the way, two islets, Gramvousa and Agria Gramvousa, form a protective perimeter.
Samaria Gorge, an unforgettable experience in Crete
Just a few kilometres outside Chania is the renowned Farangas (Gorge), the largest and most famous gorge in Crete. Devote one day to exploring its 18km and see nature in all its glory. You may even meet the elusive and rare wild Cretan goat. When you reach the narrow passage (only 3km wide) at the end of the gorge, called Portes (also known as the Iron Gates), your adrenaline will soar, like the rock walls on each side, that reach a height of 300m. Your five-hour hike will end in Agia Roumeli where you’ll be rewarded with the swim of a lifetime.
Hora Sfakion, Loutro, and Frangokastello
You’ll arrive at Hora Sfakion travelling south from Chania through the beautiful Aradaina Gorge. Discover history and the legend surrounding the impressive castle of Frangokastello, built by the Venetians in 1371. In May 1866 a bloody battle took place here, between Mustafa Pasha’s soldiers and 338 of Hatzimichalis Dalianis’ warriors. Legend has it that every May, on the battle’s anniversary, the Drosoulites appear as shadows of the corpses of the heroic warriors.
Centre of Mediterranean Architecture and Chania’s museums
This hidden but important cultural centre, with exceptional exhibitions and events, is housed in the Grand Arsenal. The building was the last dry dock erected by the Venetians in 1600 and its rebuilding began in 1941. As for the museums, be sure to put them all on your itinerary: the Archaeological Museum, the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection, the Nautical Museum of Crete (the second oldest in Greece), the Typography Museum in the Park of Local Industries, and the Arts & Crafts village in Souda with its ceramic, mosaic, silversmith and glass-blowing workshops.
The cobblestones of the old town
This is where you’ll encounter local tradition and folklore. Tabakaria is the centre for traditional leather production. At Skrydlof street (also called Leather Lane), you will find the traditional high Cretan boots called stivania. In Karaoli Dimitriou, you can buy authentic Cretan knives, but beware of imitations: the real thing doesn’t cost less than 200 euros.
Where to stay in Chania
You will find below our selection with the best hotels in Chania.Want to see more? View all hotels in Chania.
Hotels in Chania are found almost everywhere. If you want to be in the center of activities, Georgioupoli, Agia Marina, Platanias, and Kalives are some of the most popular tourist spots to stay in the region of Chania. These places are close to organized beaches and have many tourist facilities, from accommodations to shops and taverns. Maleme and Kissamos are quieter places to stay.
If you are looking for something more secluded, then head to the southern side of the region, where Chania hotels are smaller and with more family facilities. Paleochora, Sfakia, and Frangokastello are especially recommended, as they have a relaxing atmosphere and nice beaches.