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Chania Old Town
Chania Sightseeing

Old Town
An enchanting traditional neighborhood with picturesque small, stone paved alleys, souvenir shops, tavernas, traditional hotels and old mansions is the epitome of sightseeing in Chania! Nestled right next the scenic Old Harbour Chania Old Town allures any visitor making him not want to leave it. You should definitely stroll around the small alleys and admire this great architecture and the discerning atmosphere that will seduce you and take you in an unforgettable travel back in time.

Venetian Harbour
The Venetian Harbour of Chania with the monumental, worldwide known Ottoman Mosque and Lighthouse offers an utterly pleasant walk to the boarders of Old Chania Town. Fish taverns, cafes and bars await guests to indulge in this beautiful and romantic setting.

New City
Chania city is a literal contemporary city offering all modern comforts and choices of any other great city in Greece. More than a place to be, Chania City is the place to live in! The Old Market, created to resemble to the market of Marseille, is a large building bursting with visitors shopping. Other attractive sites in Chania new city are the Public Gardens, the Garden of Clock Tower, the Cultural Center and the Bishop’s Residence (also known as Despotiko). The larger and most popular squares of the city are 1866 square, the Court House Square and the Market Square, which are also greatly developed and worth a visit on foot.

Museums in Chania

Chania city and the rest of Chania settlements and village are full of Museums offering valuable exhibits from past eras and the location’s tradition. Find right below and indicative list of the most important museums in Chania prefecture:

Archeological Museum
The Archeological Museum in the Venetian Saint Francis Monastery: A historical building that has been destructed and re-constructed during 2008 right in the heart of Chania city. The exhibits vary from a wide range of coins, jewelry, sculpture and clay objects to Minoic period findings and a clay ceiling from Kasteli region depicting a Minoan city and its patron god dating back to the second half of the 15th Century B.C. the floor of the building is a Roman mosaic depicting god Dionysus and Ariadne.

Folklore Museum
A collection of traditional items and depictions of cultural craftsmanship, the museum is found in the Old Town of Chania, at Kountourioti Coast. A unique tribute to Cretan traditional and folklore elements including items and illustrations of everyday life in Crete to woven and embroidered cloth, traditional dresses and furniture.

Historical Archives Museum
It is located in the new city of Chania and is considered to be the second most important collection of historical findings in Greece. The museum exhibits various items that illustrate the history of Chania, including coins, maps, vessels, documents and pictures and it is hosted in a wonderful neoclassical building.

Nautical Museum
Located at the northeast end of the Old harbour of Chania the Nautical Museum offers a vast variety of ship models from antiquity to recent years. It also includes the remains or real vessels and a separate section dedicated to the German invasion in Crete.

Byzantine Museum
It is located right behind the Nautical Museum right in the heart of the Old Town and it houses a vast collection of findings dating back to the Byzantine period. Mosaics, ceramics, sculpture and various art objects together with Byzantine and post Byzantine religious icons.

War Museum
In the town of Chania, in the military camp of Tzomapanaki, the War Museum is a collection of objects connected to the revolution of Crete against Turks, Balkan Wars, the Battle of Crete, the War of Macedonia and the destruction of Asia Minor.

Neoreia
A new neighborhood right next the Old Harbour and the Old Town, Neoreia is the alternative region with many small restaurants, bars and cafes mostly preferred by locals and full of the new hotspots of Chania. Neoreia  or Arsenalia were built during the Venetian period in a an arch architectural style serving mainly as shipbuilding and ship repair for the Venetial flett took place. Take the pedestrian pavement of Old harbour eastwards and troll in the narrow streets around the buildings interfused with the cozy tavernas and bars to live the unique experience of Chania!

Koum Kapi
Another charming promenade of Chania right next to the Old Town and in front of the Old Harbour. As you walk from the Old Town right on the sea front of the Old Harbour and pass the Ottoman Mosque at your right hand side a short pedestrian road begins full of cafes and bars that by night turn into small clubs. Koum Kapi was initially the settlement of a group of Bedouins from North Africa, named Halikoutes, while in most recent years it used to be one of the alternative spots of Chania but during last years it has turned into the entertainment hotspot for young people, mostly locals.

Ottoman or Hasan Mosque
Right in the heart of the sea front pedestrian part of the Old Harbour lays the Ottoman Mosque; a remnant of the Ottoman occupancy in Crete and the first mosque to have been built by the Turks in Chania after they conquered the city in 1649, the Turkish or Yali Mosque hosts various folk artisans, paintings or sculptures’ exhibitions throughout the year. A well preserved monument with a unique architecture resembling mostly Arabic than Ottoman buildings, the Mosque is nowadays widely used to promote local and, in general, Cretan culture, art and tradition.

Venizelos Tombs
On the upper edge of Chania City a spectacular garden with the tombs of Venizelos family tombs exist. Eleftherios Venizelos is considered to be one of the most important figures in Greek political scene, who also contributed in Crete’s liberation s an autonomous state and its unification with the rest of Greece during the early ‘10s. Venizelos tombs is a park established to honour Venizelos and his son, full of trees and vegetation boasting a really breathtaking view t the entire Chania bay. Visit the place late afternoon in order to avoid the sun and enjoy the magical sunset.

Vamos Village
Vamos is a traditional village highly revived and developed during last years by the homonymous organization founded in order to promote Vamos as an eco-touristic and agricultural destination in Chania, Crete. A complex of small settlements, Vamos is located in the wide area of Apokoronas, on the eastern part of Chania near Rethymno. A place of extreme natural beauty has been turned into a destination with a vast variety of accommodation units for travelers who want to live agro-tourism at its most. A walk through its picturesque alleys will allow you to have a taste of what living in Crete means.

Sfakia Region
At the southern part of Chania prefecture, Sfakia region is found. A rough and steep place of wild natural beauty, which is successfully illustrated on its people faces and everyday life. Hora Sfakion (the Town of Sfakia) is in fact a small harbour from which boats depart to reach nearby coves and settlements in a beautiful itinerary right in the heart of the Libyan Sea. Sfakia is rich in culture and gastronomy and here you will have the chance to taste the genuine side of Cretan cuisine and, of course, Raki. Settlements in the wider region are Loutro, Foinikas, Likos, Marmara, Frangokastelo, Agia Roumeli and Agios Pavlos. Do not miss them out!

Paleochora
Also located in the southernmost part of Chania, Paleohora is a fishing settlement more contemporary than Sfakia. It boasts a charming sea front with fishing boats and a beach and is surrounded by many charming small coves for seclusion and tranquility. You will find there many accommodation units, an organized camping site, tavernas and some bars to make your stay as comfortable as it gets.

Frangokastelo

Yet another southern settlement right next to Sfakia for tranquility and relaxation as it does not provide for vivid nightlife and is mostly ideal for family vacations. Frangokastelo is a scenic village with a beautiful main beach and the popular Venetian Castle, right at the foot of White Mountains (Lefka Ori).

Apart from its intense natural wild beauty, Frangokastelo is also know through a legend very well spread among locals and visitors: the myth of Drosoulites, meaning Dew Men in Greek, which are in fact ghosts of warriors appearing right at the dawn in early May. Drosoulites were in fact the men of a local hero, Hatzimichalis Dalianis, who were slaughtered while trying to defend the area against Turks.  Due to this unfair death they had they are supposed to appear at dawn time, when morning mist is at its highest level, in early May each year. Many people have attempted to experience this phenomenon but mostly with no success. Scientists support that these shadows appear due to the high levels of humidity interfering with the sun light but have not completely managed to explain this. So the story is still wrapped in mystery…


Panagia Hrisoskalitisa Monastery
An imposing monastery whose name in Greek means the monastery of Virgin Mary with golden steps because it is built on the top of a cliff overlooking the endless sea at the western part of Chania and it features a remarkable number of stair steps. The view to the sea is breathtaking, especially during the time before sunset and the architecture of the building really interesting.   

Kournas Lake
Located next to Giorgoupolis, a touristic settlement in wider Apokoronas region and near the borders for Chania to Rethymno prefecture, Kournas Lake is the only fresh water lake in Crete. The lake is about 579.000 m2 and it is shallow enough nut is considered to be one major ecosystem of Chania as it is protected site under Natura 2000. A vast variety of ducks, water snakes, rare species of sea turtles and eels are amongst the most important species found here. Kournas is at times also a refuge for herons and cormorants. At the southeast bank of the lake there are two springs which gush fresh water to the lake from underground streams carrying water from the mountains. One of them, named Mati or Amati by the locals, meaning eye in Greek, can be sometimes seen during late summer. The place is ideal for an afternoon walk or a picnic at the surrounding area. There is also the option to have a swim or ride a pedalo. Worth visiting is also the homonymous, mountainous village of Kournas whose traditional character has remained unspoilt through years.

Samaria or Tripiti Gorge
The most famous gorge in entire Crete, Samaria Gorge is a place of exceptional natural beauty and a very important ecosystem for Chania. The longest gorge in Europe of 16 km, Samaria is a preferred route for locals and tourists especially during spring and summer. The gorge is located at the southern part of Chania prefecture right between White Mountains or Lefka Ori and mountain Volakias and it ends up right in the seafront in the area of Agia Roumeli. Due to its unique natural environment there is a National Park within the gorge and the most famous part of Samaria is the spot called “Iron Gates” since at that point its width is limited to 4 meters and the height of its side reaches 0,5 km. a great walk to be made from early in the morning till late afternoon.

Other Major Gorges

Chania Prefecture is filled with gorges which reach the 17. In fact the entire island of Crete is so mountainous that it would be highly expected to have these interesting geo-formations. Apart from Samaria in Chania you will have the chance to visit other major gorges, such as Aradaina Gorge, right above Sfakia Town, where you will have the chance to do bungee jumping in a narrow but exciting spot. Aradaina Gorge ends up at the beautiful beach of Marmara. Other remarkable gorges in Chania are:

Imbros Gorge
About 11km long starting from the small village of Imbros, near Frangokastelo, at the southern part of the prefecture

Eligia Gorge
A very small gorge but will surely impress you with its wild natural beauty. The gorge starts from Agios Ioannis village, right above Sfakia and after about 3,5 of hiking you will reach the beautiful Agios Pavlos beach

Ilingas Gorge
It can be accessed by Anopolis, again right above Sfakia Town. You can cover the first two hours by car and then descend on foot to the tranquil beach of Ilingas

Therisos Gorge
A gorge 6km long located near Chania city its highlight is the lush vegetation and the beautiful scenery. You should also visit the nearby traditional village of Therisos too.

Sirikari or Polirinia Gorge
Located at the west side of the prefecture and starts from the small village of Sirikari near Kasteli region. The gorge is run through a river with water during early spring and it boasts a magical atmosphere as its ends up after about 10km at the ancient city of Polirinia.

Agia Irini Gorge
It starts from the homonymous village of Agia Irini, at about 46 km from Chania, and ends up at Sougia area. It is about 7,5 km long and a part of the European path E4. The gorge is a protected area under Natura 2000 and designated as a wildlife refuge from the Ministry of Agriculture. Agia Irini is in fact bursting with life of endangered and protected species, such as the wild goat, also known as “kri-kri” goats, both in terms of fauna and flora.

Klados Gorge
For the adventure lovers the gorge of Klados is the perfect option. Klados is located at the west part of Samaria gorge and in order to cross it you will need to descend by ropes as it is really steep and wild. It is rarely visited and crossed since most of the times the path is covered with wild bushes and piles of rocks. If you decide to give it a try, you should ask the assistance of a professional guide and be fully equipped with trekking and climbing equipment.


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