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Chania, Crete, Greece

Chania (Greek Χανιά, also transliterated Hania or even Khania) is a beautiful port town on the north west coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Highly livable spot.

Understand

Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania Bay is a well visited destination for Scandinavian charter trips. Chania is an attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. There are plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking at Greek tavernas and modern cafés that are open into the night.
The old town is centered around the harbour, a maze of alleys and houses that stood for hundreds of years, were rebuilt, ruined and rebuilt again with details from different epochs. Old Town is full of souvenir, art and crafts shops. The new quarters... Read more

Chania, Crete, Greece

Destination:

Chania (Greek Χανιά, also transliterated Hania or even Khania) is a beautiful port town on the north west coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Highly livable spot.

Understand

Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania Bay is a well visited destination for Scandinavian charter trips. Chania is an attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. There are plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking at Greek tavernas and modern cafés that are open into the night.
The old town is centered around the harbour, a maze of alleys and houses that stood for hundreds of years, were rebuilt, ruined and rebuilt again with details from different epochs. Old Town is full of souvenir, art and crafts shops. The new quarters house the regular span of shops, where you can find most of your needs for hiking and other adventures. The beaches begin not far from Old Town, the nearest one being Nea Hora, a 1 km walk from the west end of Old Town.

Climate

Summer season (April to October) is hot and dry with clear skies. Dry, hot days are often relieved by a seasonal breeze from the north, Meltemi. There are occasional heat waves. Winters are mild with relatively little rain and rare frosts but with a high level of humidity that drops the relative temperature.

The modern city

The modern part of Chania is where most locals live and work. It is less traditional than the old town, but there are still areas of some historical interest. The oldest district (early 18th century) of the modern city is Nea Hora (meaning "New Town") which is located beyond the west end of the old town. It is a developing area, but also a very picturesque one, with narrow old lanes leading to a small fishing harbour. During the same era the district of Halepa begun to grow to the east of the city and used to be home for the local aristocracy. Some of the historical buildings of the area (including old embassies of foreign countries) had been destroyed or abandoned during the later decades of the 20th century, and it was only recently when some interest was shown for the restoration of the remaining ones.

Other historical buildings in the area include Eleftherios Venizelos’s House (built 1876-1880), the old French school (now property of the Technical University of Crete, housing the Department of Architecture), the Church of Agia Magdalini (built 1901-1903), The “Palace” (built 1882, house of Prince George during the period of the Cretan independence) and The Church of Evangelistria (built 1908–1923). Part of the marine area of Halepa is called Tabakaria, where a unique architectural complex of old leather processing houses is situated. The district of Koum Kapi (the Venetians had first named it "Sabbionara", which means "the Gate of the Sand", the same as "Koum Kapi") situated beyond the walls at the eastern part of the old town, was also one of the first places to be inhabited outside the fortification walls. Initially, it was home for the "Halikoutes", a group of Bedouins from North Africa who had settled there in the last years of Ottoman rule. Nowadays it is a developing area with many trendy cafes, bars and restaurants on its beach.

Apart from the previously mentioned older districts of the modern part of the town, several new residential areas have been developed during the 20th century, like Agios Ioannis, Koumbes, Lentariana etc. Some part—but not the biggest—of the city centre is dominated by colourless medium-height block buildings, typical of the urbanization period of Greece (1950–1970). However, there are still some beautiful neoclassical houses especially at the eastern part of Chania and some of the neighbourhoods surrounding the centre are quite picturesque. There are some parks and several sports grounds, the most important being the Venizeleio Stadium of Chania and the Swimming Pool at Nea Hora. The 1913 indoor market ("Agora"), a large building based on the market of Marseille, is on the edge of the old town and is popular with tourists and locals alike. Some other important sites of the newer urban area are The Court House ("Dikastiria", built late 19th century), The Public Gardens ("Kipos", created 1870), The Garden Clock-Tower ("Roloi", built 1924–1927), The Episcopal Residence (Bishop's residence, "Despotiko", built early 19th century) and the House of Manousos Koundouros (built 1909), the Cultural Centre ("Pnevmatiko Kentro"). The central largest squares in Chania are the Market Square ("Agora"), the Court House Square ("Dikastiria") and the "1866 Square".

In the last two decades there has been a profound movement of Chania residents towards the suburbs, as well as towards areas around the city which used to be rural, mainly the AkrotiriPeninsula.


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Chania, Crete, Greece: Port Information


Cruise ships dock at the port of Souda, it's around 4 km (2.5 miles) from Chania. You can take a bus or a fare to the center of Chania.  

Get around Chania, Crete, Greece


If you are on Crete to see the 'real Crete', as opposed to the night clubs for tourists, then visiting the villages of the island is a must. All Cretan culture can be seen, heard and tasted in the villages. The Cretans at work or at leisure will always welcome visitors and show you how to do things the correct way. All villages have a central kafenion (coffee shop) which is where all people eventually end up. The kafenion, apart from being a place to meet friends for a coffee, raki or a game of tavli (backgammon), is used as the main information center of the village. Be aware, however, that the kafenion is still very much a male dominion and women are generally not welcome inside (as opposed to a kafeteria or regular cafe). Most villages have war memorials and the locals will willingly fill in any missing information. Gavalohori has a wonderful folklore museum where much about village life can be learned.

In order to visit the best beaches of Crete and to see the interesting archaeological sites of Crete, it is a must to rent a car. There are many companies with car rentals that provide services.

What to see in Chania, Crete, Greece


  • Etz Hayyim Synagogue

    , Parados Kondylaki, 730 11, Hania, Crete, Hellas (GR) (The synagogue can be reached by walking up Kondylaki Street from the harbour and taking the second turn to the right (also check the map icon below). This street is only about 25 m long and leads to a cross street with no other exits. Upon reaching that intersection, the stone wall and entrance to the courtyard of the synagogue are directly in front of you.), ☎ +30 28210 862 86. 10:00-18:00. Until 1999 Etz Hayyim was a house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on Crete after the destruction of Crete's Jewish community in 1944. Essentially it stood as a monument to the success of the Nazis in obliterating 2,300 years of Jewish life on Crete. Between 1996 and the year of its rededication in 1999, the structure was painstakingly restored. The philosophy that directed this work is summed up in the Hebrew Am Israel Hayy: 'The people of Israel live'. Until recently it was still mentioned on the World Monument Fund's list of most endangered sites.
  • Samaria Gorge

    is an easy and popular day trip from here.
  • The

    Archaeological Museum of Chania

    is well worth a visit. The original edifice was built in 1605 as a Franciscan Monastery dedicated to St Francis of Assisi. Before being turned into a museum it was converted into a mosque and a cinema. It now houses the Archaeological Collection of the city with findings from ancient Kydoniai (Chania) and Aptera. There is also a recent collection added by the ex-Prime Minister Konstantinos Mitsotakis who is born in Chania.
  • Maleme village. Old national road Chania Kissamos (15 km after Chania town). See the German cemetery on Kaukales hill at Maleme, the historical airport battlefield, the beach of Gerani where the sea turtle Caretta Caretta is preserved.
  • Chania Municipal Agora. Built in 1913 as vegetable, fish and meat market for the city of Chania, it officially opened to the public 3 days after the union of the island of Crete with Greece. The architect, K. Drandakis, built the market were the mortar of the southern venetian walls were. This is evident by the difference of height between the north and south entrance to the building. During the Nazi occupation, most of the marketplace was used as a storage space for the German army. Today, although there are some shops selling local products, there are also many souvenir stores. Entrance is free.
  • Chania Cathedral Trimartiti. Chalidon street. The church was built in 1860 during the Ottoman rule of the island. On the same site there was an original Byzantine church that had been converted into a soap factory after the sack of the city by the Ottoman Turks in 1645. The architectural style has influences from the venetian style and also the 'eikones', paintings of saints in the church itself are not according to the strict Byzantine style. On the contrary, the western influence is evident with background colours and softer facial features. Entrance Free.
  • Our Lady Catholic Church. Chalidon street. It was built in 1879 in the site of a Capuccin monastery in existence since 1566. For a time the monks also ran a hospital. Free Entrance.
  • The Grand Arsenali. Port. The buildings in this part of the port were basically store rooms for the venetian fleet. In fall, the Venetians would pull their ships out of the sea, repair and store them until spring. The building itself, built in 1585 was also used as a school, a theatre, a hospital, the city Town house. Currently, it is being used as the Center of Mediterranean Architecture.
  • The Minoan Ship. Last Arsenali at the far end of the port. In 2003, a replica of the merchant ships that the Minoans used to control the trade in the eastern Mediterranean was built in Chania. Its maiden voyage was to Athens for the opening ceremony of the Athens 2004 Olympic Games. It's worth having a look.
  • Splatzia Square. Easily reached from Daskalogianni street behind the Agora. A huge plain tree stands in the middle of the square where you will find cretan men drinking 'tsikoudia' a local spirit. Behind, you will find St Nikolas' church. Originally built for the Dominican Order it was turned into a mosque during the Ottoman occupation and now it is an Orthodox church. The minarets have recently been restored and not surprisingly, they do not follow the Ottoman architectural style but a more western venetian influence.
  • Dikastiria Square. This square is dominated by the neoclassical building of the Court House. It is a nice part of town to sit back and enjoy coffee. From the square, Iroon Polytechniou street, lined with fine examples of Neoclassical architecture reminiscent of the time the Chania was the capital of the short lived Cretan Republic, leads to the sea and the Koum Kapi beach and coffee shop area. Dimokratias Avenue will take you back to the Agora through upmarket boutiques and the more exclusive shopping area of the city.
  • Venizelos Family Tomb. This area also known as Profitis Ilias is situated on a hill above the city. Access is easy by buses leaving from outside the National Bank of Greece opposite the Agora. Eleftherios Venizelos was a politician that marked Greek history of the 20th century and was born in Chania. The view, especially in the late afternoon is breathtaking. There are coffee shops at the level of and below the tombs. Don't forget your camera.

What to do in Chania, Crete, Greece


  • The venetian port. This is probably one of the most picturesque ports of the country. It is lined with a number of coffee shops and restaurants and is frequented not only by tourists but also by locals who on cool summer evenings stroll up and down. Reaching the port from Chalidon street there are a number of monuments to look out for. In front of you you can see the light house which was built during the Venetian rule of the city in 1595 and is considered to be one of the oldest standing lighthouses intenationally. It has undergone renovations at least 5 times and is considered to be the landmark of the city. Opposite the lighthouse you can find the Frikas Fortess which houses the naval museum, is still a military base and were the Greek flag was first raised after unification with Greece in 1931. To your right is the Yiali Tzami , the Sea mosque, built by an Armenian architect in the late 17th century. Today, it is used as a municipal art gallery. 
  • The village of Maleme, Old national road Chania Kissamos (15 km after Chania town). See the German Cemetery on Kaukales hill at Maleme. It is a haunting experience as on the graves there are names of 16 year old German soldiers. This was the site of the first airborne attack in the history of mankind. The Battle of Crete is thought of as one of the most glorious moments in Greek history as it took the Nazis the same amount of time to sweep through Holland, Belgium and central and northern France as it took them to conquer Crete. Don't be surprised if you see Kyria Eleni, and old woman dressed in black lighting candles for the dead soldiers. If asked why, she will tell you that she hopes that some german daughter will be doing the same for her father who was exterminated in a concentration camp. You can also see the historical airport battlefield and for nature lovers the beach of Gerani where the sea turtle Caretta Caretta is preserved. 
  • Samaria gorge is a popular day trip from Chania. A word of warning, make sure you are wearing good quality walking shoes/ hiking boots/ trainers with sticks. Tourists trying to cross the gorge in flipflops, and trendy sandals end up walking barefoot and in pain. The nature and landscape are amazing; the gorge is home to a protected (under extinction) goat. The sea at the far end of the gorge in Agia Roumeli is absolutely amazing, crystal clear and turquoise.
  • Botanical Park Of Crete, Skordalou Platania, ☎ +30 697 686 0573. Twenty-tree of March to Noveber every day: Entrance is allowed starting at 9 am , all through the day , with the last entrance allowed no later than one hour before sunset.. Walking in the Botanical park & Gardens of Crete offes spiritual tranquility and visual pleasure in addition to knowledge on plants and their material . Nearly 20 hectares of land are waiting to welcome you, full of fruit trees from all over the world, herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants in a park different from others, where the land’s formation and the region’s microclimate make it a paradise for hundreds of plants and animals! In the midst of this colorful and vivid landscape stands a burnt centennial olive tree, a memorial and a reference to the dismal fires of 2003, the park’s history and origin. The newest and one of the most interesting sites of the Prefecture of Chania lies only 18 kilometers outside the city, on the feet of the White Mountains. 

What to eat and drink in Chania, Crete, Greece


Eat

  • Mpourakis in Kounoupidiana presents delicious traditional cuisine, cooking only with extra virgin olive oil. From Kounoupidiana center take the road on the right go towards Stavros, 100 m on the right side.
  • The Roadhouse Bar & Grill (Mike's Roadhouse), Kounoupidiana, Akrotiri (Go 7km east on Leoforos Venezelos (Main Road) out of Hania towards the Akrotiri Peninsula.), ☎ +30 28210 64072. Everyday 19:00. Mike's Roadhouse is a bar & grill with great cheeseburgers and chili. Mike and Petia speak fluent English, Bulgarian, and German. Pick up a microphone and sing Karaoke. 
  • Mike's in Maleme, 17 km west from Chania. Home-style cooking .
  • Pinaleon in El.Venizelou. Good tavern which serves tasty Cretan cuisine.
  • Theo Restaurant, Paparigopoulou & Nikolaou Xilouri, 99 (2 km out of Chania, on Parigoria Hill), ☎ +30 2821093733, +30 6979151577. 18:30. A new restaurant serving traditional Greek and Cretan dishes. The food is very fresh with very large portions. Their patio seating has fantastic views of the sea and city. 
  • The Well of the Turk, Kallinikou Street 1-3 (Olde Town, historic Turkish district of Splanzia (Rouga Sq)), ☎ +30 2821054547. Dinner until late. The cooking is excellent, and the atmosphere is casual and welcoming, The inside rooms are perfect for cooler evenings. Previous winner of Gourmet's award for the best ethnic food in Crete for the last two years. Open daily for dinner except Tuesdays. Moderate.
  • Gramboussa (Restaurant), Gramboussa Kissamou (Kaliviani). Traditional Cretan cuisine in quiet surroundings. Moderate.
  • Restaurant Kariatis (Old Venetian Harbour), Katechaki Square, Chania (Next to the Arsenali, Old Harbour), ☎ +30 28210 55600. Daily 6pm-midnight. Situated among the beautiful Venetian ruins of Chania old harbour. Open for dinner all year round. 
  • Italian Restaurant Zafferano (Platanias, Chania), Platanias - opposite the Minoa Palace Hotel (14 km west of Chania situated on the old coast road.), ☎ +30 28210 38180-1. May-Oct daily 18:00-midnight. Stylish Italian restaurant set on a beautifully decorated, spacious roof piazza overlooking the coastline of Platanias. Fresh seafood, pasta, risotto, succulent fillet steaks and wood-fired oven pizza. Open every evening in summer for dinner and take-away. 
  • Mama's Dinner Restaurant - Fine Cretan Gastronomy (Kaliviani, Chania), Kaliviani - 5 km west from the town of Kissamos and 8 km north from Falasarna beach (35 km west of Chania situated in the traditional village Kaliviani, on the way to Balos Beach.), ☎ 28220 23204. Fine restaurant in Kaliviani with creative cretan cuisine and stunning sea views to the gulf of Kissamos.

Drink

  • Kariatis Wine Bar, Katechaki Square, Old Harbour, Chania (Next to the Arsenali, Old Harbour), ☎ 28210 55600. 6pm 'til 12.. Elegant new wine bar at Kariatis. Offering more than 100 different Greek and International wines and champagnes together with a great selection of wines by the glass. There's also an Italian and Mediterranean-style tapas menu to enjoy with your drinks. Open every evening from 6pm 'til 12.00am. 

Safety in Chania, Crete, Greece


Health care

The main hospital in the city is the General Hospital "Agios Georgios". Other health institutions include the Crete Naval Hospital, the branch of the National Centre for Emergency Medical Care (E.K.A.B.) and the Clinic of Chronic Disease. The Chania branch of the Organisation Against Drugs (Ο.ΚΑ.ΝΑ.) 

There is also a number of private clinics (e.g. Iasis and Central Clinic of Chania) as well as medical centres specialising in various areas within the city.

Language spoken in Chania, Crete, Greece


The spoken dialect of Greek in Crete is similar to that of mainland Greece but it has some differences. The true Cretan dialect is spoken in pure form only in remote villages, although most native Cretans do know it.

The language used in Crete is Greek, although in the cities and tourist areas people have no problem understanding English. Even in small villages you usually have no problem for basic things like shopping or eating. Education is good on the island, and English is taught from the first grade. Additionally, tourism is important, so many people will speak English. The island welcomes a large number of tourists from around the world, especially northern Europe, therefore many in the tourist industry will speak other European languages. The menus in tavernas that cater to tourists are usually in several languages - Russian, French, Italian, English and German.

LOCAL TIME

8:03 pm
June 17, 2019
Europe/Athens

CURRENT WEATHER

28 °C / 82.4 °F
sky is clear
Tue

26.05 °C/79 °F
sky is clear
Wed

25.45 °C/78 °F
broken clouds
Thu

25.45 °C/78 °F
sky is clear
Fri

26.35 °C/79 °F
sky is clear

LOCAL CURRENCY

EUR

1 USD = 0 EUR
1 GBP = 0 EUR
1 AUD = 0 EUR
1 CAD = 0 EUR

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