Chania is by far one of the most beautiful cities in Greece, and given its astonishing history, spectacular old town, stunning Venetian harbour, and not to mention some of the most breathtaking beaches in Europe; it’s easy to see why it’s one of Greece’s number one destinations for both locals and international visitors.
Chania is the second-largest city in Crete, the largest island in Greece, and the fifth-largest in the Mediterranean Sea. Here, you can explore glorious beaches, a picturesque old town and the island’s rich gastronomical culture.
Around the Old Town’s maze-like alleys, beautiful Venetian buildings, fountains and elaborate churches will help you discover well-preserved historical monuments. You can easily become familiar with the city of Chania by wandering around aimlessly in its streets, visiting museums and admiring the different architectural styles on display throughout the entire town.
Chania is perfect for people of all ages. Whether you are travelling solo, with a group of friends, on a romantic getaway, or on a family holiday with young children, there is something in Chania for everyone.
- Seitan Limani boasts magical views and pristine water. It’s a bit of a hike to get there, and you need to walk down quite a few steps to go for a swim, so it may be best for people without children. Please note it’s a remote location with no shops, so don’t forget to take water, snacks and other essentials with you.
- For a morning swim and a great frappe, go to Loutraki beach, with lots of sunbeds, you can sit back and relax all day.
- Those who love beach parties go to Agia Marina, where the music is blaring, and the crowd is there to have fun. And when the sun goes down, you can kick on at Villa, a popular nightclub in Chania.
- Marathi is an amazing beach for people with young children as you have all the family-friendly facilities you need. From easy parking to shops, taverns and bathrooms all close by and for families- don’t forget to add to your list Falasarna and Stavros Beach (where Zorba the Greek was filmed).
- Balos Lagoon, Elafonisi and Gramvousa Islet are by far Chania’s most photographed and picturesque beaches, and you shouldn’t leave Chania until you have at least been to one.
- Bougatsa tou Iordani in Chania Town make famous bougatsa (pastry with filling) using fresh Cretan Mizithra. This favourite type of bougatsa can’t be found anywhere else in the world.
- Sea urchins (achinous) may be rare in your average restaurant, but in Chania, you will surely find them in nearly every Fish Tavern (psarotaverna) you go to.
- Gamopilafo is a traditional wedding rice dish that has now been included in most Cretan tavern menus and is like a deluxe risotto prepared in a rich meat broth.
- Fried snails (saligaria tiganita) are very much loved by the locals and are served as mezedakia.
- Stamnagathis are a type of greens, which are boiled and served with olive oil and lemon juice, it is a specific kind of Xorta (greens) that are grown locally.
- Cretan Dakos is rye dusk topped with juicy grated tomatoes and crumbled feta. It is eaten here any time of the day and is very popular.
- Kaltsounia are Cretan cheese pies with handmade pastry dough and can be found in each Cretan bakery you come across.
- Arni me Stamnagathi is lamb with a wild green, where the meat is sautéed in hot olive oil and oregano, then served with either avgolemono (egg and lemon sauce) or a squeeze of lemon juice- it is done in most Cretan restaurants.
- If you love cheese, you should try Graviera, a hard type, Pichtogalo Chanion, which has AOC protection and Myzithra, a young Cretan whey cheese.
- Raki or Tsikoudia is a Cretan Brandy made locally. Distilled from grapes and served in every Cretan taverna and kafeneio, this traditional beverage is not for the faint-hearted.
- Nea Chora is a wonderful waterfront location filled with traditional fish taverns, which are popular with the locals. These include Akrogiali, Volakas and Achilleas.
- Taverna Mpourakis is situated in Kounoupidiana, and its specialty is Xoirino Kotsi (pork hog), which is baked for hours and all their traditional Cretan appetizers are also delicious.
- Patrelantonis Fish Tavern and cafe Metaksi Mas are located at Marathi Beach. They have amazing mezedes and souvlaki, so this is the place to go if you are after a casual lunch or dinner.
- Ta Chalkina is a sensational restaurant at the Port, which offers the complete Cretan experience- from stunning views to live music and traditional cuisine- you can’t go wrong here.
- Tamam is set in the Old Town, where the décor is rustic, the vibe is cool, and the wine is plentiful. The menu consists of a wide variety of traditional dishes.
- In Kaliviani village, which is on your way to or from Gramvousa Islet, you will find Gramvousa Taverna. Here you can eat after a long swim and make sure to try the Dakos
- Wonder the Old Town, filled with colourful alleyways, leads to wonderful taverns, cafes and shops for visitors to explore.
- Visit the lighthouse at the old harbour entrance; this 21-meter tall lighthouse offers an amazing sea breeze, great views, and the mystique of the old buildings creates the ideal setting for a romantic, relaxing walk.
- Listen to live Cretan music and join in on some local Cretan dancing, which will be one of your most memorable experiences! If you wander around the Old Port at night, you will find some taverns that turn into all-night music and dancing venues.
- Check out the local markets in the Agora, where you will discover the freshest local produce. From herbs and spices, fruit and vegetables, to fresh seafood and meats, plus all other local delicacies, this is the place to grab some of your fave Cretan products to take home.