Chania is synonymous with perfect Mediterranean climate, clear sky, and blue seawater. The city captivates with its calm and relaxed atmosphere, and is an ideal place for relaxation and escape from the hustle and bustle of a big metropolis. In addition, the varied landscape of the western part of the island encourages to go on excursions and explore the beaches, forests and the Lefka Ori Mountains that tower over the city.

Chania is the second largest city in Crete. The first references to settlement in this area date back to as early as 3400 BC. The local architecture speaks for the long and rich history of Chania, as it shows traces of various civilizations and rich traditions of the citizens – before the city was incorporated into Greece, it was ruled by the Arabs, the Byzantines, the Venetians and the Turks. Its heart is the Venetian harbour and the historic old town with colourful cramped houses, a labyrinth of alleyways and narrow passages.


Most famous for: being considered by many as the most beautiful city in Crete.

A breakthrough moment in history: 1898 – liberation from of the Ottoman occupation and the foundation of the Cretan State with the capital in Chania.

Famous historical monuments: 14th Venetian harbour district, Giali Tzamisi Mosque, the Firkas Fortress with a lighthouse on the opposite shore.

Most interesting architecture styles: Renaissance (Venetian), Turkish architecture.

One definitely needs to: visit the old town, the Center of Mediterranean Architecture, the Archaeological Museum, Ruins of the ancient Kydonia.

Something for gourmets: the famous Greek cheese called feta, olives… and mountain snails.

A place for a walk: city park with mini-zoo and the kri-kri goats, that is, the Cretan goats.

Off the beaten track: one of the most beautiful monasteries in Crete called Moni Katholiko, the Bear Cave, or the quiet village of Stavros, located 15 km from Chania.

Famous citizens: Elefterios Wenizelos – eight-time Greek prime minister, leader of the uprising against the Turks, George Psychoundakis – the Second World War hero, Kostas Mountakis – a lyre virtuoso, who popularized the traditional Cretan music.

Chania – the Greek Venice

One of the city symbols is the historic harbour, built by the Venetians in the 14th century, which today houses 9 out of 23 arsenals, where ships were built and stored. From the Bastion of St. Nicholas it is worth walking along the promenade leading to the very tip that closes the entrance to the harbour. There we can find a lighthouse, rebuilt by the Egyptians, to whom it owes its loftiness making it look similar to Muslim minarets.
Along the promenade around the harbour, visitors’ attention is drawn by the works of local artists and craftsmen. Nearby are the dense buildings of the old city. It is here that the most delicious Greek delicacies are served, so it is worth dining in one of the harbour restaurants, which become packed with people after the sunset.

History and monuments

It is worth getting to know the rich and turbulent history of the city. In order to do so, visit the archaeological museum where colourful mosaics, ancient coins, and remnants of the Minoan culture are presented. Another interesting thing is the very location of the museum, as it is situated in a church on the premises of a Franciscan monastery, built by the Venetians.
In the vicinity, one can find an archaeological site with the ruins of the ancient city-state Kydonia, which, according to a legend, was founded by King Minos or Kydon, a son of Hermes. There are a lot of evidence of the Ottoman Empire influence on this city and it is definitely worth learning more about cultural monuments, such as famous mosques of the Janissaries (Giali Tzamisi) and Yiali Tzami.

Going shopping

The gourmets should visit the city market hall created in 1923, where they can find stalls full of souvenirs and try various local products and delicacies, such as the best olives and oils in various flavours, local cheeses, fresh seafood, mountain snails, and halva.
It is also a good idea to try a piece of the original Greek feta cheese ripening in enormous barrels filled with brine. Alcohol lovers will also find a wide offer of local wines that bring out the flavour of Crete. Finally, Chania is famous for production of traditional shoes (Kyrvan) and knives (Skalidakis), which can be a great souvenir from the trip.


the Venetian harbour district

architecture that derives from different cultures Minoan, Byzantine, Venetian

the city market hall