Chania - The hidden treasure
The beauty of the Cretan landscape reigns supreme in the Chania county. Mountains, wooded slopes, cliffs and gorges, dense vegetation, rivers and brooks, scenic bays and endless sandy beaches stun every visitor.
Sights are wonderful, ranging from the scenic Venetian harbor in the city of Chania to Georgioupoli, Vryses and Asi Gonia, from Splantza, Agia Marina and Stalos to Kolymbari and then even further to Gramvousa. To the west as well, from Kissamos to Falasarna, Chrisoskalitissa and the unique Elafonissi or to the south from Platanias to Paleochora, Sougia, Sfakia and Frangokastello.
The picturesque Venetian port of Chania attracts thousands every year, for its beauty and for its choices of entertainment for all tastes and demands. The old city districts preserve their Venetian nobility.
From Piraeus to Chania and Kissamos (also known as Kastelli) Ports.
From Kalamata, Gythio, Monemvassia (Peloponnese) and Kythera Antikythera Islands to Kissamos (Kastelli) Port.
Ferries also call at the south Crete ports (Agia Roumeli, Loutro, Palaiohora, Sfakia) and Gavdos Island.
From Athens and direct flights from many European cities to Chania airport.
Afrata, Sandy cove, drive on narrow road
Agia Marina, Long sandy beach
Agioi Apostoloi, Excellent well protected sandy beach
Almirides, Very nice sandy beach
Kalathas, Nice sandy beach
Kalives, Very nice sandy beach
Kissamos, Long sandy beach with tamarisk trees
Kolimpari, Pebbly beach
Maleme, Grey pebbles
Marathi, Nice beach with fine sand
Nea Hora , Chania Town beach. Sandy
Platanias, Very long sandy beach
Ravdoucha, Quiet with pebbles
Stalos, Beautiful sandy beach
Stavros, Nice sandy beach
Tavronitis , Shingle and pebbles
Agia Roumeli, Nice beach with dark pebbles
Hora Sfakion , Pebbly beach
Ilingas, Beautiful pebbly beach
Loutro , Nice beach with pebbles
Orthi Ammos, Beautiful beach with fine sand and sand dunes
Pachia Ammos, Nice beach with fine sand
Paleochora, Nice beach
Sougia, Very long with shingle and pebbles
Balos, Excellent beach accessed by boat from Kissamos
Elafonissi , Excellent sandy beach, one of the best in Crete
Falassarna, Beautiful beach with fine sand
Places to visit in Chania
The Fort of Firka (Chania Town):
The fort still known by its Turkish name, Firka (Firka = barracks) was built in order to protect the entrance to the harbour. A thick chain from the Firka to the base of the lighthouse closed the harbour in times of siege. The fort was the headquarters of the Military Commander of the city. The inside area was divided into barracks and ammunition warehouses, with the buildings of the west wing having two-floors with dome-covered rooms. Over the door of the first floor there is the following inscription: "ALOYSIUS BRAGADEUS PROVISOR CYDONIAE M. DCXX". In the centre of the court there is a large water reservoir, where the water running from the roofs was collected. In the period of the Turkish occupation and until fairly recently, the Firka was used as a military barracks and as a prison. The flag of the Unification of Crete to Greece was symbolically raised on the corner watchtower on 1st December 1913.
Koum Kapi (Chania):
Koum Kapi is one of the most tourist districts in the Town. The history of Koum-Kapi begins during the last years of the Turkish occupation when the Arabs grew "Halikoutes", a small village, near a sandy beach and next to the Venetian fortifications. This district was called in Turkish Kum Kapisi (meaning Gate of the Sand) because of the Venetian Gate built there. The area of Koum Kapi is quite near the old Venetian Town so that you can walk to get from the one place to the other.
Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection in the church of San Salvatore 15th-17th century (Chania Town): Tel: +30 28210 96046
This monastery is situated within the fortifications on the northwest side of the harbour. (This part of the fortress was named after the monastery). The entrance to the nave is on Theotokopoulos Street, which was the entrance for the worshipers. On one side it is connected with the monks' cells through a covered arcade. It was constructed in three phases. Originally there was a small vaulted chapel, probably built in the 15th century. The first extension to the west was built in the 16th century, and the church took its pesent form in the late Venetian period. In the years of the Turkish occupation it was converted into a mosque, the Topou Aga Han or Aga Tzamissi. The plentiful archeological material, gathered from excavations conducted by the 13th Agency of Byzantine Antiquities in the county of Hania, as well as from private collections and donations, has created a unique collection, which clearly records the historical course of the westernmost county of Crete from the first years of Christianity to, and including, the years of the Turkish occupation. Representative samples of this collection on display outline the historic and artistic face of the county during the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine periods. The exhibits have been grouped according to type: mosaics, tomb stone inscriptions, murals, icons, architectural sculptures, ceramics and coins. The works in each group are exhibited in chronological order with maps and details of the origins and historical background also displayed.
The Archaelogical Museum of Chania: Tel: +30 28210 90334
In the museum it is exhibited the history of the city and county from the Neolithic age to Roman times. In the east section of the basilica there are displayed objects from prehistoric and Minoan times, whereas in the west section there are displayed objects and collections from historical times.
The Naval Museum of Chania: Tel: +30 28210 91875
The Naval Museum of Chania was founded in 1973 and it is housed in the entrance of the Firkas Fortress in the Venetian harbour. There are exhibited models of ancient and modern ships, navigation equipment, naval mementos of the Greek Wars and even a collection of rare shells, and paintings.
War Museum (Chania): Tel: +30 28210 44156
The War Museum of Chania It is located next to the Municipal Gardens. The collection exhibits photographs, mementos and guns from the most important wars in which the Cretians took part in the 20th century.
Agia Triada (Holy Trinity) monastery: Tel: +30 28210 63310
It is located in the northwest part of the Akrotiri peninsula, 16 km from Chania. Agia Triada monastery was built in the seventeenth century on top of a pre-existing church according to the Byzantine cruciform architecture with three domes. The monastery’s museum has manuscripts and important icons from the 15th, 16th, 17th and subsequent centuries. In the Agia Triada Monastery was a religious school in the 19th century.
Limnoupolis (water amusement park): Tel: +30 28210 33246
8 km from the town of Chania near the community of Varipetro.
Chania is a city of unique beauty, filled with an abundance of fragrant flowers and boasting a rich cultural heritage. Ancient and modern monuments, the Venician Harbour and the Old Town, colourful neighbourhoods, a traditional lifestyle and the friendly inhabitants warmly invite you on a step by step journey to become acquainted with the city, promising you unforgettable moments.
The most poetic city of Crete when you walk through it leaves you with a pleasant taste of beauty. Built on the ruins of ancient Kidonia it has seen and survived many invaders, but has also tasted civilizations that left their marks on building faces, castles, walls, antiquities, monasteries and churches.
The Venetian port, picturesque any time and season, is attractive to visitors and locals, for its beauty and for its choices of entertainment for all tastes and demands. The old city "intramural" districts preserve their Venetian nobility. Narrow paved alleys are surrounded with tasteful renewed houses, from various ages, are offered for a pleasant walk.
Historical buildings in the area include Eftherios Venizelos's House (built 1876-1880), the old French school (now property of the Technical University of Crete), the Church of Agia Magdalini (built 1901-1903), The "Palace" (built 1882, house of Prince George) 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 Sabionera, which means "the Gate of the Sand")
Agia Roumeli (reached only on foot or boat)
Agia Roumeli is a very special and unique place with its genuine cretan background. It has strong character and soul surrounded by breath taking, wild mountains and a long beach of fine pebble by the clear Libyan sea. The village is remote and isolated. It can only be reached on foot or by boat (from Paleohora and Hora Sfakion). Accommodation and taverns are available.
In Agia Roumeli and its surroundings you can relax, you can switch off the outside world. The location is perfect for unwinding, forgetting the cares of the world and drinking of the local wines, notably tsikoudia, and eating the local cuisine for which the island is famous. This is not a destination for the sophisticated tourist, but more for the discerning traveler looking for a laidback and unforgettable experience.
Agia Roumeli is the place where Samaria Gorge ends.
Almyrida is located 19 Km from Chania and was once just a quaint fishing hamlet. It has a lovely sandy beach, popular for windsurfing and catamaran sailing. There are tavernas all along the seafront, a small archaeological site and it is a good walking area. Beyond is Plaka, a picturesque hamlet and Kokkino Horio an old world Cretan hamlet nestling on a granite landscape supporting olive groves and scrub, criss-crossed by dry stone walls.
Georgioupoli or Georgioupolis is a village and resort on the Greek island of Crete. It is located 43 km east of Chania, about 22 km west of Rethymno and about 100 km west of Heraklio in the Apokoronas region. It was named after Prince George of Greece, high commissioner of the island in the last years of Ottoman occupation.
Formerly a small fishing village, Georgioupoli is very much a tourist town now, with many cafe's, tavernas and small hotels and apartment blocks. The 9 km beach is the main attraction of the area, with Kalyvaki beach on the other side of the river as well. Nearby Lake Kournas is also a popular excursion by foot, bicycle or tourist 'train'. Georgioupoli is a well-located base for exploring the traditional villages of the area towards Vamos or into the White Mountains to the south.
Hora Sfakion (or Sfakia)
Hora Sfakion is a town on the south coast of Crete, Greece. It is the capital of the remote and mountainous region of Sfakia, and is a small town of just 500 inhabitants. It is found on the southern coast near the end of the Imbros Gorge, 74 km south of Chania. In its two small harbours, the ferry boats from Agia Roumeli dock, which in the summer bring the hikers from the Samaria Gorge to take buses back to the northern coast. It is a small village with a main harbourfront of tavernas, and has two minimarkets, a butcher and a bakery. You can hire a car, or arrange a local taxi. The village has a quiet local beach inside the village, and several pebbly beaches nearby.
Hora Sfakion prospered during the Venetian and Turkish occupations and up to the 18th century carried on a flourishing trade with its own small fleet. It was said to have had a hundred churches but the town suffered badly from wartime bombardment during and after the Allied evacuation.
Kalives (Kalyves) is a large village in Crete Greece, located about 20 km east of Chania in the Apokoronas area and it is a popular tourist resort that has maintained its Cretan character. It is on the coast at the entrance of Souda Bay. It essentially consists of one long road, with houses opening directly on to it, with the occasional alley behind. The town is bound on one side by the sea and the other by low hills. A long sandy beach runs alongside most of the town, interrupted by a small stream.
Kissamos is a town on the west of the island of Crete, Greece. The town of Kissamos is officially known as Kastelli-Kissamou and often known simply as Kastelli after the Venetian castle that was there. It is now a port and fishing harbour, with a regular ferry from the Peloponnese via Kythira. A town museum is located in the old Venetian governor's palace and there have been important archaeological finds in the town, including fine mosaics, dating from the Roman city of Kissamos, the port of Polirinia.
Kolymvari is a coastal town at the southern end of the Rodopou peninsula and is a local centre for commerce and fishing. It does not have a sandy beach and is thus not as popular with tourists as the nearby resorts of Maleme and Platanias. Near the town is the historic Moni Gonia monastery. The Spiliakos river enters the sea at Kolymbari.
Beautiful, tiny and seaside village than it can be reached on foot or boat. Loutro is set on an idyllic setting, guarded by mountains all around. It is a peaceful place, favoured by people who want a quiet holiday. It can however be a little bit busy in the high season. A pebble beach right in the middle of the village with crystal clear waters is the place for bathing.
Paleohora is a large village which has been popular with tourism for a number of years, no doubt because of its beautiful beach. The sandy beach is huge, over 1 km long, and there is space for everyone to lounge or to swim. From Paleohora are ferry departures to Gavdos Island
Platanias is a village is located about 10 km from the city of Chania and east of Kastelli-Kissamos and is by Chania Bay. It is a popular village with a beach, several hotels, restaurants and souvenir shops. Not far from the coast is the island of St. Theodori.
The gorge of Samaria is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Crete. In the winter the gorge (located in the National Park of Samaria) is closed to visitors because of the danger posed by water and falling stones.
The reason for the popularity of Samaria may be that it is said to be the longest gorge in Europe, it may also simply be that it is an area of stunning natural beauty, passing through forests of ancient cypresses and pines, then cutting very deep between vertical cliffs through the mountains to emerge at Agia Roumeli by the Libyan sea in the South of Crete.
It is not an easy stroll. The gorge is 16 km long and the path, although it is maintained and in good condition, is stony and also steep at times.
Samaria Gorge is open from May to October. In the winter the gorge (located in the National Park of Samaria) is closed to visitors because of the danger posed by water and falling stones.