Chania is the most beautiful city on the island of Crete and it is also a prefecture where you can find many amazing places that you just cannot miss visiting! Chania combines history, paradise beaches, and the wild beauty of mountain life. As a local but also as a travel lover, I would like to give you useful tips on the “must-do” list in Chania!
The old Venetian port
Magical, romantic, like an old colorful picture, this is the heart of the town! Morning coffee at one of the dozens of cafes around it, delicious lunch at the traditional or modern restaurants, or romantic dinner by the view of the lighthouse, that is watching the city through the centuries! In the summer, I love the long evening walks around the port and through the narrow roads of the old town, with the hundreds of beautiful shops and taverns! Every corner has something to tell you…The best time to visit our old port and the old town is when the sun begins to set! The best places to eat at the port, are of course the ones where you find many locals and not the touristic ones!
Food and drink
My country Greece has the best cuisine in the world! Crete is one of the parts of the country where the food is just amazing if you know where to go and what to ask for!
In the mountain villages (for example Therisso, Meskla, Omalos plateau, Askyfou, Elos, Kournas lake) you can find the best taverns with traditional food! Must have dishes are: antikristo, pilafi, kalitsounia, kalitsounia with honey, kreatopita, hohlii boubouristi, mpoureki and horta! Of course, there are many choices of delicious dishes, I am just mentioning the traditional must-have!
For seafood and fresh fish, you should visit Kolymbari village and the taverns by its small fishermen’s port. Other choices for good and affordable seafood are: Nea Chora fishermen’s port (close to the old Venetian port), Kissamos town, Sfinari village, Almyrida, Kalyves, and Marathi.
Cretan wine, the nectar of the Gods, is the best choice for an unforgettable lunch or dinner in Chania! But during hot summer days, Greek beers and specifically the local beers of Chania are a must-have! The best fresh beer you can find here is Χάρμα (Charma beer), blond or not. Search for places that serve it because it is a little more expensive than the usual Greek beers!
Our traditional drink is raki as you already know and you will drink some for sure if you visit any kind of restaurant! Even if you do not order it, you will be served some raki when you ask for your bill! Usually, taverns and restaurants serve raki with fruits or something sweet (like ice cream), as a treat! Cretan people are famous for their hospitality!
Cocktails in Chania are a must-have, especially if you have them at places where locals go out for a drink! You can try Παλλάς (Pallas) at the old port, for me the best place in town!
Chania is full of beautiful beaches. Most hotels are in the area of Agia Marina and Platanias but the long sandy beaches there, are not something special. If you want to see true beauty you have to visit the following locations!
- Balos beach and Gramvousa island. The best choice is to go by boat (private boat or the everyday boat from Kissamos) so you do not miss Gramvousa! Both places are protected from Natura and are must-see destinations on the world’s top list!
- Elafonisi beach and the island. You should stay there for at least 3 hours, so you can discover the place, enjoy the paradise sea and walk to the island. Ideally, you should spend a whole day there but be careful not to get sunburnt! Elafonisi is also protected from Natura.
- Falassarna beach. One of the top beaches in Greece, sandy with turquoise water and easier to visit since it is located just a few kilometers from Kissamos town.
- South Chania beaches. For me, south Crete is the best place on earth! You can feel the positive energy when you arrive south – anywhere in south Crete – and the climate is so much better! South Chania is full of amazing beaches which are not so crowded as in the north part. The best choice (if you can afford it) is to visit all of them by boat since some of them can only be reached by boat. From Paleochora, Sougia, or Chora Sfakion you can take a boat or a boat taxi and discover these beauties! Must-see beaches in south Chania (if I have to choose) are: Krios, Gialiskari, Sougia, Marmara, Loutro, Glika nera, Iligas, and Orthi Ammos in Frangokastelo. Remember that from the north coast to the south coast of Chania the distance is about 1-hour driving!
The longest gorge in Europe does not need words to convince you to walk it! This is an adventure of a lifetime. Make sure you wear the proper shoes and be prepared for a long day hiking! After the gorge you spend time in Agia Roumeli, a beautiful south coast village, reached only by boat! The best way to do the gorge hiking is by booking an organized tour!