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Chania Travel Guide
History
Chania Name

Hania is the contemporary and most popular name of the western prefecture of Crete Island. Chania has replaced the Minoan name Kydonia or Kythonia and its origin has not really been validated till now. One of the most possible scenarios has to do with the Arabs having named this part of Crete “Alhania”, since Kythonia or Kydonia was difficult for them to use. “Alhania” is believed to be deriving from an Arab God “Vulhanos” and after the Arabs left the island, the inhabitants left the article “Al” out of the word and used only Chania. In Latin the region is named “Canea”.

Being of Arab and Hebrew origin, Hania is considered to mean a place to rest and be happy. And this has been confirmed through Hania’s history and its popularity as a travel destination among Greeks and foreigners.

Ancient Times

Through archeological excavations in the contemporary town of Chania, it has come to light that the new town has been built on the ruins of the ancient Kydonia town, considered to be the predecessor of all Cretan main towns. Kydonia enjoyed a very important position in the area, surrounded by sea and the fertile valley of Hania. The settlement had conquered a very important role as it was a major commercial spot and had managed to establish extensive commercial activities with Kithera Island, right below Peloponnese. Kydonia was constantly in war with other major towns of the period, like nearby Aptera and Polirrinia.

Another important part of the ancient settlement Kydonia was the region of Kastelli, at the western part of the prefecture. The area was destroyed by a great fire in 1450 B.C. but various findings reveal the existence of a Minoan Palace there.

Roman Period

The Romans had shown great interest in Crete and especially Kydonia mainly because of its strategic position. After an unsuccessful attempt to take over the reign of the area in 71 B.C., they managed to conquer the city in 69 B.C. and gradually the entire island. The Roman General Cointos Kaikilios Metellos declared Kydonia an independent city - state with its own coin and various luxurious buildings, many sculptures and mosaics were constructed there during his reign, revealing the area’s great economical and commercial during his reign. The Byzantine wall of Kastelli is considered to have been also built during the Roman period and Kydonia’s necropolis extended around it.

Byzantine & Arab Years

Kydonia continued its ascending route during the Byzantine times until the Arab occupation. The Byzantine Years introduced Christianity within the entire island, while the area’s inhabitants were all of Greek ethnicity. But as the interest of Byzantium was turned to the east, Crete fell into ignorance and was thereafter supervised by a Byzantine General as an independent region. The attacks of the Arab pirates started to multiply and the region suffered from decay and destruction of many of its cities. Finally, the defense of the island proved to be inadequate to confront these attacks and Arab Saracens took over many parts of the island.

During the Arab occupation Kydonia’s development and reign was halted. Till now not many findings of this period have been revealed except for a few Arabic coins.

Crete was not a part of the Byzantine Empire during Arab occupation (824 A.D. - 961 A.D.) till Nikiforos Fokas and its army liberated the island and united it again with Byzantium. The entire island started being inhabited by Byzantine populations form other parts of the Empire and many aristocrats came from Constaninople and took its leadership. In order to protect the island from another Arab invasion, great walls were built in various coastal areas. Kydonia started flourishing again and during that time its name changed to Hania.

Recent Years

After the fall of Constantinople and the decay of the Byzantine Empire Chania passed through a long period of Venetian rule, during which Crete and Chania were greatly developed. Venetian walls and buildings, Catholic expansion and a great economical, agricultural and cultural development were the period’s highlights, till 1669 A.D.
The Turks took over Crete at around 1645 A.D. when most Venetian buildings turned into mosques and the walls were reinforced. The city of Chania is now the headquarters of the Turkish governor till the revolution of entire Greece against Turks. From 1831 to 1841 A.D., the island is under Egyptian government and the great lighthouse and breakwaters are constructed at the Venetian harbor of the town.
The Turks regained the occupation of the island in 1841 and Chania is declared to be the island’s capital. The city expands outside the city walls and its style begins to simulate a contemporary European city. The final revolution took place in 1889 and after a great slaughter of the inhabitants of Chania and the help of other nations, including Greece, the island was liberated by Turks once and for all in 1898 A.D.

From 1898 till 1913 Crete was declared an autonomous, independent state, the Cretan State, with its Constitution, flag, Police, coin and government. Hania, as a capital of this new state, flourished dramatically in every aspect during these years.  The famous Municipal Market, the philological Association “Hryssostomos”, the development of other areas around Chania to powerful districts, new neoclassic buildings, the first cinema, various educational, athletic and cultural associations, the first independent and indigenous newspapers, are among the most important outcomes of this period.

Finally, after many negotiations, Crete is being unified with the rest of Greece in 1913. For many decades after this unification, Chania continued to be the island’s capital, where many reconstruction and maintenance works took place. The inhabitants of the region continued to vision freedom and justice and thus they successfully took part in many other battles for Greece such as against the dictator Ioannis Metaxas or the Germans. Nowadays Chania Town is considered to be a great cultural and commercial centre, an important touristic destination and an historical monument and efforts are made in order to preserve and promote its unique, exceptional identity, history and tradition.

Mythology
Chania Mythology

The ancient city of Kydonia is considered to be, according Cretan mythology, founded by Kydonas, the son of God Apollo or God Hermes and the nymph Akakalida, the daughter of king Minos. So, the ancient city took its name from his founder.

Another well known myth for the island is that of Talos, the giant, bronze robot created by God Zeus himself. A different version of the myth mentins that Talos was constructed by Daedaus or Hepheastus, under the orders of Zeus. Talos was Zeus’ gift to Europa who gave him 3 sons. His task was to defend Crete from invasions and for that reason he had to go around the entire island three times a day. Talos was finally destroyed by the Argonauts and Medea when they tried to stop to the island in order to rest and take supplies. Talos appeared throwing rocks at them and Medea started seducing him with her spells and promises till he was enchanted and led by her to remove the bronze peg he had on his ankle. Then his “blood”, a liquid he had inside him in place of blood, was poured out of his body and he died.

Hotels
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.
Eat & Drink
TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Modern Meze & Local Delicacies
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Fresh Fish & Seafood
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Bar,   STYLE: Jazz & World music
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Modern Meze & Local Delicacies
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Contemporary Mediterranean Cuisine
Location: Platanias


TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Traditional Greek Cuisine
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Italian cuisine
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Alternative
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Taverna,   STYLE: Fresh Fish & Seafood
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Restaurant,   STYLE: Fresh Fish & Seafood
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Alternative
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Bar - Restaurant,   STYLE: Lounge & Atmospheric
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Café & Bar,   STYLE: Alternative
Location: Chania Town


TYPE: Beach Bar,   STYLE: Mainstream
Location: Platanias


Practical info
General Info

CLIMATE
Chania has a Mediterranean climate, typical of all Greece. Summer period is hot and sunny with temperatures up to 35 °C mostly and winters are mild with moderate rainfalls and winds. During summer time and especially in August, Meltemia winds are blowing and sometimes it is difficult to find a calm beach on the north part of the prefecture. In the south coastal part, beaches are more suitable for relaxation and swimming.

TELEPHONE
The national prefix for Greece is +30 if you are calling from abroad.  All numbers in the capital Athens start with the prefix 210 and are followed by 8 digits (e.g. 210-3227400).
The Area Code for Chania Town is: +30 28210. If you wish to call abroad, you have to start by dialing the other country’s national prefix (i.e. 0049 for Germany, 0044 for England etc.) and continue with the area code and the number where you wish to call. Due to the size f the prefecture, other areas have a different area code.

CURRENCY
Euro €
Euro Coins: 1 and 2 euro coins (gold and silver color), 10, 20 and 50 cents (gold color) 1, 2 and 5 cents (copper color)
1 euro = 100 cents / centimes.
Euro Bank Notes: Are available in 5, 10, 20, 50, 100, 200 and 500. It is not always easy to receive change for 200 and 500 Euro Notes.
 

Getting There

BY AIR
Chania can be reached by air at Chania National Airport “I. Daskalogiannis”. The flight lasts about 50-55 minutes and the airport is located at 14 km distance from New Chania Town (about 20 minutes drive). Bus routes are available from the airport to the town.
Chania National Airport: www.chania-airport.com Tel.: +30 28210 83800 / Fax: +30 28210 66100
Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos: www.aia.gr

Olympic Air: For accurate timetable and ticket costs visit Olympic Air website www.olympicair.com
Tel.: 801 801 0101/+30 210 3550500
Hania Office Tel.:  80111 44444/+30 28210 53760-1
Office at Chania Airport Tel.: +30 28210 63171/+30 28210 63264/+30 28210 66088

Aegean Air: For accurate timetable and ticket costs visit Aegean Air website www.aegeanair.com
Tel.: 801 112 0000/+30 210 6261000
Hania Office: +30 28210 51100
Office at Chania Airport: Tel.: +30 28210 63366

Athens Airways: Athens Airways is a new charter airline flying from Athens to Chania www.athensairways.com. Tel.: 801 801 4000/+30 210 6696600

BY BOAT
Chania prefecture has in general many ports. The main port though is the one in Souda, where ferry boats from Piraeus have frequent routes. There are two boats per day for Souda port, one departing from Piraeus in the morning and arriving at Souda in the afternoon and the other departing from Piraeus in the evening and arriving early in the morning. The trip to Chania takes about 8-8,5 hours. Souda is located at about 10km from Chania New Town and it will take you about 15 minutes to reach it.

ANEK LINES: For accurate timetable and ticket costs visit ANEK LINES website www.anek.gr
There is also another port in Kissamos, used for routes from/to Peloponnese and Kythera Island. The company performing these trips is Anen Lines.
Kissamos Port Authority: For accurate timetable and ticket costs call here +30 28220 22024.

Local Transportation

Chania is a contemporary city offering all sorts of services and transportation means to the visitor. You can move around the town and the entire prefecture by buses, taxis, long distance buses (KTEL) that travel to regions and villages outside the main town or you could even rent your own car or motorbike and enjoy the flexibility according your needs and desires.
Normal in-town buses depart from Municipality Market Square and 1866 Square and go to all areas of the town. KTEL buses main station is in Kidonias Street and in other touristic areas of the prefecture like Elafonissi, Sfakia, Kastelli, Vrisses and Paleochora. For accurate timetables and routes, you should definitely call at the main stations.

LOCAL BUSES
Chania Town Buses Tel.: +30 28210 93345/+30 28210 98115
Long Distance Buses (KTEL) Tel.: +30 28210 93052/+30 28210 93306

TAXI SERVICE
There are main taxi stands in various spots of the town, such as Dikastiria Square, Tzanakaki Street, 1866 Square but the safest way is t call at the following numbers:
18 300, +30 28210 94300, +30 28210 98700, +30 28210 87700

RENT A CAR OR MOTORBIKE
Chania prefecture is a very large district offering many choices for car or motorbike rentals. All over Chania Town but also other towns or settlements you will be able to find many agencies that rent cars or motorbikes.
Local Services

BANKS & ATMS
Chania Town is full of branches of nearly all Greek banks. Surrounding towns, villages and settlements also have bank branches according their population and size but most surely you will find in almost every town and settlement an ATM.

MONEY EXCHANGE
Banks exchange all major currencies, traveler’s cheques or Eurocheques; the commission is always lower for cash. Post offices exchange cash, but not traveler’s cheques, and usually charge lower commissions than banks. Travel agencies and larger hotels exchange cash and traveler’s cheques but usually charge a higher commission. Banknote exchange machines can be found in most tourist areas.

POST OFFICE
The Greek post office is called ELTA and you can find the main post offices of the island are in Chania, one at Peridou Str., operating from 7 am to 8pm from Monday to Friday and on Saturday morning and the other at 10th Anapafseos Str.. Post Boxes in Greece are YELLOW for normal post, usually with 2 slots for INTERNAL POST (meaning inside Greece) and post for ABROAD. RED Post Boxes are rarer and they are used for URGENT mail. Boxes can be found in various spots of the town but in order to send your letter more quickly mind to use the main post office’s box. REGISTERED mail is always handled and given a receipt for at the POST OFFICE.

Post Office in Chania (Peridou Str.) Tel. no: +30 28210 42609
Post Office in Chania (Anapafseos Str.) Tel. no: +30 28210 71180
Post Office in Platanias Tel. no: +30 28210 68665

POLICE STATION
Chania Town Police Station is at 32nd Giamboudaki Street.
Police Station Tel.:+30 28210 46162, +30 28210 42640, +30 28210 28744

MUNICIPALITY OF CHANIA
The Municipality of Chania is in the centre of Chania Town, at 29th Kydonias Str.
Tel.: +30 28213 41600


Useful Numbers


INTERNATIONAL PRESS
Due to its great touristic development and infrastructure, you will find international press in many spots around the town of Chania and other large villages and settlements.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS
HEALTH
In Chania you will be able to find a number of hospital and private clinics for anything that may occur during your stay there. Listed below the most important contact details in case of emergency:

General Hospital Agios Georgios
Mournies, Chania
Tel: +30 28210 22000
Fax: +30 28210 71112

EKAV (Emergency Ambulance service)
22, Em. Mountaki Str. , Chania
Tel: 166, +30 28210 28667

PHARMACY
In Chania, like all major cities, you will find a great number on pharmacies, not only within the new city but also in other central, touristic spots. We provide you with an indicative list for pharmacies operating within Chania city and from which you will be able to get information on all pharmacies in Chania prefecture:

Adontakis Spiros
Tzanakaki 106 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 57393

Adreaki Christina
Skalidi 89 & Margouniou 1 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 93401

Aligizaki Maria
8hs Dekemvriou 4 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 58345

Karamaliga Ekaterini
Kidonias 102 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 72156

Karapataki Maria
Apokoronou 74 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 91859    

Leledaki Aggeliki
Sfakianaki 10 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 72442

Lilibaki - Nikiphoraki Ekaterini
Iroon Politechniou 14 , Chania
Tel: +30 28210 51618, +30 28210 51618




Swim
The easy accesible beach of South Hania
Location:Sfakia

Ilingas beach is located right next to Hora Sfakion and is on e of the very few beaches at the area that can be reached by car. The light coloured pebbles, the deep blue, clean waters and the cave formations at the beach's edges combined with its calmness and tranquility ensure a great day by the sea. There is a small hotel with its own tavern right at the beginning of the short path to the beach but for food and drinking supplies, it would be better if you took them from Hora Sfakion. Right next to the main beach and accessed only by boat or swimming, you will find a small similar beach, though completely isolated and quiet.


Marble like beach at the exit of Aradaina Gorge
Location:Sfakia

Marmara is located between Likos and Finikas beach and Agios Pavlos. It is a small pebble beach right at the mouth of Aradaina Gorge where access is only possible by the gorge itself, by a boat from Hora Sfakion or Loutro and by the path that extends from Sfakia to all nearby coves. On the cliff at the edge of the beach you will find a small cafe-tavern and on the coast a few sunbeds and umbrellas. The beach remains a small heaven and at its eastern side you will find a few beautiful caves where you can swim from one to another through a small cave tunnel through azul waters and the natural shading of the rocks.


Quiet and secluded heaven for the ultimate relaxation
Location:Sfakia

Glyka Nera, meaning sweet water in Greek, is located very near Hora Sfakion and its major "attraction" is sweet water gushing right below the coast and in the sea. The beach is a heaven for tranquility and seclusion and for that reason it is preferred by nudists of all ages. The white pebbles, the giant mountain slope at its inner side and the tamarisk trees on purpose planted by locals for the visitors' convenience comprise a picturesque scenery that just makes the time stop here. At the beache's edge you will find a small cafe built right on the rock into the sea, where you can have a light meal, a beer or local raki. The sweet water on various holes on the beach can be used for washing off sea water after your swim and there is also a spot from which you can even drink it!


Rocky formations on a small secluded cove at the south
Location:Sfakia

Likkos beach is right next to Finikas beach starting from Sfakia or Loutro. The place offers two small rocky and pebbled beaches with exceptional azul waters and interesting seabed.The beach is completely unorganized and is a shelter for sea monks. Like Finikas, Likkos can be reached by Loutro or Hora Sfakion by boat (20'-30') minutes or by the E4 path. The uniqueness of this beach's landscape is the rock formations above the coast and the absolute serenity that rules.


Small harbour beach near Sfakia
Location:Sfakia

Finikas or Finix is one of the coves found at the southern part of Hania prefecture, near Hora Sfakion. Finikas beach is pebbled and quite with turquiose sea and a few rooms to let and tavernas. The place is ideal for a calm and quite swim while it also offers some sunbeds and umbrellas on its small coast. You can reach Finikas by boat from nearby Loutro (about 15') or Hora Sfakion (about 25') or by the E4 path from both settlements. Due to the unspoiled natural environemnt, these southern coves are ideal for scuba diving, fishing and snorkeling.


A paradise of seclusion and serenity!
Location:Agios Pavlos,

Agios Pavlos beach is located between Agia Roumeli and Loutro and is a heaven or privacy and seclusion. The grey sand and pebbles of the beach together with the azure clean waters offer its guest a hideaway for the most calm excursion. Agios Pavlos is named after the small Byzantine church found on its coast, which was built, according to historical data, right on the spot where Saint Paul (Agios Pavlos in Greek) baptized people while on his way to Rome and by using stones and material from the beach itslef. You can access Agios Pavlos from Agia Roumeli on foot (about 60') or boat of from Loutro by boat. The trekking lovers can use the narrow path from Loutro that leads to Agiua Roumeli as well, but this demands much more time (6 km distance). You could also enter Eligia Gorge which is right behind the beach and admire the wild, natural landscape.


A small isolated cove serving as a port in the ancient times
Location:Sougia

Lissos beach is a small, secluded cove very near Sougia beach at the southern part of Hania. The beach is of white pebbles and turquoise clean waters, offering privacy and tranquility. There are two alternative ways to access Lissos: On foot from Sougia beach (1,5h-2h), following the small path that passes through the remaining ruins of ancient Lissos, the port of the ancient settlement of Elyros. The second way is to take the boat from from Sougia reaching Lissos at about 20'. Eitherway, Lissos should not be left out since it is an unspoiled, complete unorganized cove...a hidden treasure!


An unorganized cove right next to Paleohora settlement
Location:Paleochora

Psilos Volakas is the first cove on the west as you leave Paleohora. It's name is taken from a great rock that exists on the one edge of the beach (Psilos Volakas means in Greek Tall Rock). The beach is totally non organized with no shading but the ideal place for snorkeling due to the rocky seabed. The coast is full of small pebbles and is wind protected by the rock on its one side. Right next to Psilos Volakas, you will find 2-3 more beautiful and secluded coves (Trohalou, Karavopetra, Plakaki) with pebbled coast for a calm and quiet swim.


A very long, sandy beach at the south part of Chania
Location:Paleochora

Pachia Ammos is located at the south part of Hania prefecture at about 79km and it is the main beach of Paleohora settlement. Paleochora is a picturesque settlement by the sea with many accommodation units, tavernas and bars and is a very popular summer spot. The beach is 1km long, with sand and shallow waters. When north winds blow, this is a paradise for everybody but during south or west winds it needs attention because the waves can be very high and dangerous. Pahia Ammos has been awarder with the Blue Flag, so safety and cleanliness is certain. The beach is fully organized but dute to its length it is never packed.


A cluster of picturesuqe secluded coves at the east part of Pelohora
Location:Paleochora

Gialiskari in fact consists in 3 small beaches located at the eastern side of Paleohora after a small dirst road of about 4-5 km. The first two beaches are found at the right and left side of a small piece of land, like a peninsula, entering the sea. Both beaches are organized, meaning they have umbrellas and sunbeds, but are generally isolated and tranquil. The third beach will be found when you drive a little more at the easte after the second beach. There, the coasline of the bay is larger with sunbeds and umbrellas too and a small beach bar at the one edge of the beach. Some tamarisk trees recently grown there offer natural shade but in general the beach does not offer shade. So, be sure to have with you your umbrella and essential water and food and you could stay at Gialiskari beaches for the entire day! Moreover, the third cove offers ultimate wind pretection because when south winds blow the bay is protected on the contrary of the previous two beaches of the area.


An endless sandy hideaway completely secluded and isolated!
Location:Elafonisi

Kedrodasos is the hidden gem of Hania prefecture. Access to the beach is pretty adventurous as signs leading to it are scarce and a little misleading. You will find Kedrodasos on your way from Hania to Elafonisi and following the signs you will exit the main asphalt road before Elafonissi settlement. There, after a few kilometres of a pretty rough, dirt road you will come to a plateau where yoy leave your car and descned to the beach. A hidden treasure and well done beacuse the place is of extreme natural beauty, with light coloured sand and the valuable tamarisk trees offering their precious shade to visitors. Kedrodasos is also ideal for camping but keep in that this extraordinary landscape requires respect and protection in order to maintain its wild, unspoiled beauty.


Beautiful pebbled beaches at the exit of Samaria Gorge to the sea!
Location:Agia Roumeli

Agia Roumeli is a small, quite seaside settlement, located at the south part of Hania (56 km from the Town) and right at the exit of the famous Samaria Gorge to the Libyan Sea. The area offers various picturesque beaches, all pebbled and tranquil with deep, clean waters. The beach right in front of the settlement is organized and more busy that the ones at the eastern and western sides of the area. On the east and west sides of the area small caves are formed with small, private beaches right in fron of them for absolute seclusion. Access to Agia Roumeli is possible either by taking a walk right down to Sanaria Gorge and explore the magnificent natural environment of this popular ecosystem or by boat from Sfakia, Paleohora or Loutro. The trekking and adventure lovers could also take the narrow, dirt path that starts from Sfakia and ends up to Agia Roumeli at about 7 hours!


Pebbled and quiet beach, a famous hang out of hippies
Location:Sougia

Sougia is located at the south part of Hania prefecture at about 75 km from Hania Town. The beach is about 1,5 km long and at its west part is organized with sunbeds, umbrellas and lifeguard tower. That part is right in fron of the settlement, so infrastructure and touristic amenities, like tavernas, rooms to let, cafes and shops are just a breath away. The eastern part of the beach is completely unorganized and is offered for the ones who prefer seclusion and tranquility. This is why this had been a spot highly prefered by the hippies during the 70's. The bay at its eastern part is totally protected by winds since the big rock at the end forms a natural cove. All along the beach you will find tamarisk trees for natural shade and camping is also possible here. The waters are deep and clean and the beach has thick sand and pebbles.


A charming beach right behind Hora Sfakion
Location:Sfakia

Vrissi is the main beach of Hora Sfakion (South Hania) and it lies right at the western part of the settlement, behind the a rock that separates the village from the sea. The beach is of light grey pebbles and it is organized in terms of sunbeds and umbrellas. Concerning tranquility and beauty, although its is located right at the end of the settlement it offers nothing less from all the other, wild, beautiful beaches of the area: clean coast, deep, azure waters, tranquility and of course all supplies are just a few steps away. It is an ideal choice for families or people who are not keen on exploration but relaxation!


The scenic popular beach of Hania!
Location:Elafonisi

Elafonissi is one of the most well-known beaches not only in Crete but also entire Greece. A famous summer hotspot with a strange morphology and a stunning, beige dust like sand, Elafonissi is a place you just have to visit. Located at the western part of Hania the area offers two adjacent beaches that are connected to the small peninsula right opposite them with a sandy pice of land, the place is a heaven for sun lovers. The exotic colours and beautiful scenery are the reason why Elafonissi is full with visitors all around summertime. The area is rich in protected flora and fauna, so be careful because sand, plant or even animal removing from the area is strictly forbidden. The sand has taken its exceptional pink-beige hue from broken shells, while the wide area is a shelter for endangered careta-careta turtles. Access to the beach is possible via the asphalt road that leads to the settlement, and after that, a short but easy dirt road. The beach is fully organized with sunbeds and umbrellas, two beach bars, lifeguard, WC's and all touristic infrastructure for a fun day on the beach!


The sandy paradise of south Chania!
Location:Fragokastelo

Orthi Ammos is trully impressive! A sandy oasis at the road from Frangokastelo to the east. The area is not very touristically developed and you will access the beach after descending a medium height sandy cliff that ends up to the beach. Orthi Ammos is partially protected from south winds and at its eastern part, the more secluded one, it is ideal for nudists. The beautiful turquoise waters, the sand dunes and the overall unspoiled scenery will make your swim here merely unforgettable!


Sandy, organized beach right below a historucal monument!
Location:Fragokastelo


Fragokastelo is a seaside settlement near Sfakia, at the south part of the prefecture. It is touristically developed and features one of the most famous historical monuments in Hania, a Venetian Castle which carries a popular tardition among locals, the one of the Drosoulites, who were supposed to be warriors that were slaughtered by the Turks while trying to defend their place. The beach of Frangokastelo is a long, sandy beach partially organized with few sunbeds and umbrellas and shallow turquoise waters. While beimng a heaven for children and all visitors, it is not suggested with south winds because the waves and the sand will not allow you to have a nice and safe swim.


A sandy, endless beach at the borders of Rethymno
Location:Georgoupoli

Located at the eastern part of Hania perfecture, just 21km from Rethymno, Giorgioupolis is a very well developed settlement offering one of the most popular beaches of Hania. With pure sand and clean, shallow waters, Giorgioupolis beach is fully organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, lifeguard and many accommodation units and tavernas all around. The highligh of the area is Kournas Lake and the sweet water bursting from various spots on the beach. Do not miss out to have a walk up to Perastikos River, which divides the beach into two. At the point where Perastikos ends up to the sea, the waters are very cool and the vegetation around unique. Take care of the sea currents and the waves on windy days.


Wild beauty and absolute seclusion at its most!
Location: Akrotiri Peninsula


Stefanou beach is the northern of three small coves formatted on Akrotiri's northern part, at the place called "Seitan Limania" (meaning the harbours of the devil). The name is taken from the wild scenery and the strong currents of the area. Stefanou beach is the most protected cove of all three with pure white pebbles and azure, crystal clear waters. The place is a real heaven and can be reached by road, till the parking lot, and then by a steep track descending to the beach. For those who like trekking, the Diplochachalo Goerge ends up at Stefanou beach too, offering a majestic route within the unspoiled secnery.


A place for watersports and wind surfing lovers!
Location:Almirida

Almirida beach is located at about 23km of Hania and right next to the beautiful Plaka settlement. The area offers many tavernas and great walks among the silver-green olive groves and the well maintained alleys and old houses. Moreover, right next to the harbour two beautiful beaches with sand and shallow waters, separated by a small rock entering the sea, await for their guests for a great swim. This is also the place for people who are keen on watersports and wind surfing.


A picturesque settlement with sandy beaches and rich history
Location:Kalives

Kalives settlement can be found at the north coast of Hania, on the east side. The area is rich with history and offers two sandy beaches with shallow waters, separated by Xidas River and connected by a small bridge at the exit of the river to the sea. Both beaches, Xidas & Maistrali, are well organized and their waters are clean and clear, enriched by sweet water coming from the river. When visiting Kalives, you should not miss a stroll through the beautiful alleys of the settlement and the nearby sites of Aptera & Palekastro.


The hotspot of Akrotiri!
Location: Akrotiri Peninsula

Loutraki beach is right next to Marathi and features a clean, sandy beach with shallow waters. The beach is organized and the beach bar operating at its eastern side will definetely sway the visitor to the rythms of house and pop music. At the entrance of the beach there is also a small parking area, while you will also find sunbeds, umbrellas and various tavernas for a lunch or light meal.


Two wind protected beaches with clean and shallow waters
Location: Akrotiri Peninsula

Marathi settlement is found on Akrotiri peninsula, very near Souda. It consists of two small beaches facing south, with a view to Lefka Ori (White Mountains). Marathi is a very popular resort, poretected from winds with shallow waters and well developed infrastructure. The two beaches of the area are separated by a small port, which adds a more scenic touch to the landscape.


A famous place with two beaches and well developed infrastructure
Location: Akrotiri Peninsula

Stavros beach is a famous place since some scenes of the greek movie "Zorbas the Greek" had been filmed here. The settlement of Stavros is a small fishing village with accommodation units, tavernas and shops and a beautiful sandy beach in a small harbour. The opposite maountain, resembling to a camel, forms with the beach a small turquiose laggon with shallow, clean waters. At the northwest side of the main beach, visitors will find another small beach with sand and pebbles, completely unorganized and unspoiled.


Sandy, organized beach with shallow waters and a tropical touch
Location: Akrotiri Peninsula

Kalathas is located at the east side of Hania, right on Akrotiri peninsula, within a natural small bay. The beach is well organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. Its sandy coast together with the shallow and protected waters make it one of the best choices for families and small visitors. The fine sand and palm trees on its one side give a tropical touch to the scenery. For those who prefer isolation, there is a small sandy cove at the western side of Kalathas, just after the rocks.


A small, organized beach ideal for families
Location:Kalamaki

Kalamaki beach is located very near Chania Town, right in front of Kalamaki or Galatas settlement. The settlement is a well known resort with various accommodation choices, restaurants and shops. Kalamaki beach comprises of two neighboring beaches at the tip of a small piece of land entering the sea. Its coast is sandy with shallow waters and many touristic infrastucture, like sunbeds, umbrellas, showers etc. The place is the ideal choice for families with small children.


A secluded cove of white pebbles and crystal clear waters
Location:Rodopos Peninsula

Menies beach is located at Rodopos Peninsula, at about 45km from Hania. The beach is a small, secluded haven of white pebbles and emerald waters, ideal for people seeking a quiet swim. In order to access Menies, you have to follow a small dirt road of 23km from Rodopos village but the destination will surely award you. Mind to have with you all necessary equipment, water and food because the place is really isolated with no facilitiesall the way.


A quiet heaven at the north side of Hania
Location:Kolympari

Kolimbari settlement is located at about 24 km west from Hania Town and it is quitely developed with many accommodation units, restaurants and shops for the visitor. Kolimbari beach is a long coast with sand and small pebbles at various parts. Its deep waters and vast coast ensure a clean swim but you should take care not to visit when northern winds blow beacuse swimming at that time could be impossible!


A long sandy beach for all day fun
Location:Agia Marina

Agia Marina settlement is compised by a number of sandy beaches, also organized and easy to access, like Platanias. The part of Agia Marina that is near Platanias is full of small bays while the east side of the place is in fact a long, sandy beach which reaches up to neighboring Stalos settlement. Agia Marina is also a very developed touristic site with shops, bars, tavernas and accommodation units.


The cosmopolitan, vibrating spot a breath away from Hania Town.
Location:Platanias

Located very near Hania Town, Platanias is, without a doubt, one of the most touristic spots of the prefecture. Full of beachbars, cafes, touristic shops, hotels and tavernas, Platanias is a destination by itself, busting with life during the entire summer season. The beach is well organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, beach bars and clubs and that is why you will most probably have a difficulty in finding a place to leave your towle and have a tranquil swim.


The sea lagoon of Chania and one of the most famous spots on the island!
Location:Gramvousa

The famous Mpalos is located at the northern side of Gramvousa Peninsula, at the western part of Hania. Mpalos is in reality a strange geophysical formation consisting of a lagoon like waterfront with pieces of sandy shore connecting it with the small mountain right in front of the beach, named Cape Tigani. The beach has white sand with exotic turquiose and light green waters, making the scenery tropical. The area around Mpalos is a protected Natura 2000 area and is highly recommended for children due to its shallow waters and, also, for snorkeling. Access to the Mpalos is possible through 3 different ways: by car, you will have to drive for 10km (45' minutes) a really rough dirt road and then arrive to the parking area. After that, you will have to walk for about 30' minutes and descend the hill that will lead you to the beach. For trekking lovers, Mpalos can be reached from Kaliviani settlement after about 3 hours walking. The last and easiest way, though, is take the ferry from nearby Kissamos and arrive at Mpalos after having seen the wild scenery and made a small tour to Imeri Granvousa Islet. The ferry costs about 25 euros but it is indeed the best solution if you want to reach the beach. Keep in mind that by car you will need to have a 4x4 vehicle beacuse the road is really bad and will have to pay to the municipality 1 per person for maintenance reasons. Also, descending on foot is easy but when you will want to return to your car, the route under the hot sun and the steep cliff will just take away from you all the pleasure of the beach.


One of the most beautiful beaches on Crete!
Location:Falassarna

Falassarna is located at the west part of Hania perfecture and is an andless sandy beach with orange sand overlooking the Aegean Sea. Ideal for sun lovers, a small part of it is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas and 2-3 beach bars, while the rest remains unspoilt. This is the ideal place for an all day swim as the scenery is breathtaking and it is almost never packed with people. Be sure to visit Falassarna, though, when the winds blowing are not northern or north western because the place is being whipped when the weather is not the appropriate one.


Map

Local Specialties & Recipes
Kalitsounia

Crete Island is well famous for its small cheese or herb pies, called kalitsounia. They resemble a common cheese or stuffed pie with the principal difference of its filling and serving variations. So, in Chania we find the salty kalitsounia, stuffed with the local, mild cheese, mizithra or various herbs from the creatn land (without cheese) and the sweet kalistounia, also stuffed with mizithra but poured with honey on top. This is unique delicacy served in the entire island and throughout Chania prefecture, from popular restaurants in Chania town to small mountainous villages. There is also anther version of kalitsounia made with dough and not fillo pastry (very thin sheet of dough), stuffed also with mizithra and cinnamon. Kalitsounia can be either baked or fried depending on whether they are made with dough or thin fillo pastry.

Gamopilafo

A popular dish served traditionally in weddings assumed to bring luck and fertility to the newlywed couple, thus it has been named after this as in greek gamopilafo means the risotto of the wedding. The rice is boiled together with cock and goat and instead of oil or normal butter, “stakovoutiro” is added. Stakovoutiro is a thick butter created by the fat of sheep, named “staka”. It is indeed cholesterol friendly and calories rich but its taste is so full that locals use it even spread on bread, like the normal butter.

Apaki

This is a sheer delight! Fat free, tender parts of pork meat marinated in vinegar and then smoked with various herbs. It is delicacy that can be cooked n many ways and perfectly matches with fried or baked potatoes, rice or can be devoured on its own. It can also be preserved for 4-5 months after its production. Try apaki in Sfakia or in small villages outside Chania town…the taste is incomparable!

Syglino

Another delicacy that creates a unique section in meat-eating! Syglino is made by pork meat cut in stripes and boiled that is hanged in a fireplace or a traditional chimney. Various herbs are burnt just below it using layers of ash in the fire too, which give out all its essence of aromas and smoked flavor to the hanging meat. As soon as the meat is roasted it is kept in in jars in its own fat. When the time to enjoy it comes, it can be fried or baked with its fat, offering an eclectic dish for the lucky ones who will try it. The fat from syglino is usually used by locals to fry eggs or potatoes adding a smoked, rich in aromas flavor to all dishes. Not to be missed!

Tsigariasto

A meat delicacy leaving a sweet and salty taste, tsigariasto is made by lamb or goat meat cooked with a little oil in a casserole. The meat is cooked slowly in its own juices until it gets tender. Locals use onion which is sautéed with the meat and gives a sweet flavor to this piece of art. Tsigariasto for being baked in low degrees and not being tossed in the casserole has a tender, butter-like texture and taste that hardly reminds you of lamb or goat meat. Just like apaki and syglino, if you are given the chance to taste it in a small village where people completely preserve cooking traditions, it is certain that you will never forget this pleasure.

Hohlioi in Red Sauce

A typical plate of mainly western Crete, hohlioi is snails cooked in a casserole. The most popular plate made with snails is hohlioi mpourmpouristoi but it really lacks the unique, exceptional taste that hohlioi in red sauce offer. Cooked in tomato sauce with various herbs and mainly fennel, hohlioi cooked this way is an exceptional local plate, accompanying almost every main dish.

Ntakos Salad

A very popular and tasteful dish typical of Crete and especially Chania using a traditional Cretan big rusk named ntakos which is usually wet with water. Above ntakos Cretans usually put small pieces of tomato and shredded mizithra cheese and then pour this mixture with virgin olive oil. Variations of this plate are very common, using also onion or aromatic herbs and greens like parsley. A healthy and delicious dish served as a salad or a main meal.

Local Products
Hania Products

A blessed land with rich gastronomy and tradition, Chania prefecture, like the rest of Crete Island, proudly boasts a great number of local products used in the world wide famous Cretan cuisine while being indispensable parts of the Mediterranean nutrition. Cycladia provides you with a detailed list for all local products this unique place has to offer.

Wine

Wine is considered to be amongst the most important part of the island’s tradition. Chania could not be left out of this deep tradition of wine making. Throughout the prefecture local winery companies and even Cretan families have their own vineyards producing this aromatic wine with the distinctive flavor and strong taste. Besides, most of Chania’s plains are all covered with vines for all different types of wine: white or red, sweet, semi-sweet or   dry that could be also bought or tasted in various commercial shops or taverns.

Raki or Tsikoudia

Another unique spirit produced on the island by distilling the leftovers from wine production. A distinctive flavor, strong taste and pretty high alcohol degrees, raki or tsikoudia is a great part of everyday life in Chania. Producers vary from dedicated distillation companies to local families producing their own raki for their family tavern or personal use. Given this diversity of raki sources, it is more than expected that raki varies in taste and aroma depending on where you try it. Also, in south Chania and especially Sfakia, or inland tyraditional settlements raki has a stronger and more intense taste. Also available for people who wish to try different flavours are raki with cinnamon, raki boiled with honey, lemon or lime and other tastes.

Olive Oil

Chania land is also full of olive groves producing the distinctive, strong Cretan olive oil in a few varieties. Another precious gift generously offered to travelers in any tavern or shop. Olive trees cultivating has been a tradition in Crete for more than 4 thousand years, dating back to the early Minona period. Maybe the most important ingredient of the Mediterranean nutrition, olive oil boasts a number of nutritional and therapeutic elements for the wellbeing of human organism.

Graviera Cheese

Maybe one of the best and most tasteful cheese types that Greece has to offer, Cretan Graviera is the starring product of Crete and Chania. Soft or hard, milky or salty, spicy or mild, most of graviera cheeses produced here are considered to be Protected Designated of Origin or Protected Geographical Indication cheeses, famous within entire Greece and not only. Small or medium sized dairies and family owned businesses are the protagonists behind this extraordinary, exceptional cheese type. And of course, Graviera cheese is full of proteins and calcium, not considering its full and overwhelming taste. If one product fropm Chania is to be taken with you back home, let it be graviera!

Honey

With a deep tradition in honey producing dating back to ancient times also, Chania is the place to be if you are a honey lover. Many varieties from flower honey, or anthomelo as Greeks call it, to thyme honey, Chania offers you a quality weapon to defeat illnesses and stress.

Herbs & Spices

Within the vast valleys and plains of Chania inland a numberless list of herbs and spices grow. Thyme, tea, oregano or chamomile are amongst the vast list of Cretan herbs and spices. Most of them are also used in traditional dishes and sweets or beverages and spirits.

Other products

Like rest of Greece and Crete Island, in Chania also people cultivate and produce a great number of nuitrition products that highly contribute in their everyday cuisine, traditional or contemporary. Fruits and vegetables, nuts and cereals are among Chania’s local products in its vast valleys. Also, livestock and dairy products will be found in any of the prefectures regions consumed or served in local taverns and restaurants. And, of course, since the inhabitants of Chania are also very famous fishermen and sea lovers, the endless list of locally produced goods cannot leave out fresh fish and seafood.

Events
Chania Events

Chania is a traditional yet cosmopolitan destination for travelers from around the world. Crete Island boasts an exceptional culture depicted in its people’s language, customs, gastronomy and festivities.

Visiting Crete and especially Chania, for being the most popular area of the island, visitors will sure dive into the splendid Cretan culture and tradition still alive in its people’s everyday life.

During summer months festivals and culture events are scattered throughout Chania prefecture, promising endless fun and an opportunity to live the revival of customs and traditions. And keep in mind that Cretans are people who enjoy having fun, goof food and, of course, homemade raki!

Chania Summer Festival

A celebration that takes place through the entire summer from May to September and features various performances, exhibitions, folklore concerts and dances and fairs. Singers and groups from all around the world gather in Chania to give their performances of mainstream, folk or rock music. Directors, actors and troupes act in various Greek and foreign plays: musicals, ancient Greek tragedies, classical novels, contemporary works come to life in various performances scattered throughout Chania. Most of the events take place in the Old Harbour and within venues in the Old and New city of Chania.

Chania Rock Fetsival

A yearly festival for rock music lovers featuring various Greek and foreign bands that will definitely rock you up! The festival usually takes place during the first half of August since 2002 and it is a great opportunity for travelers to meet Greek rock stars and upcoming groups apart from the very well established rock and metal bands of the world, like Paradise Lost, Rotting Christ and Anathema. For more info, visits the official website of the event: http://www.chaniarockfestival.com/. 

Battle of Chania Celebration

The Celebration takes place each year between May 20th and 30th to commemorate people who were killed during the Battle of Chania in 1941 against German possession. The venue of the festival is Maleme, a small settlement near the city of Chania, where the original fight was given. The festival includes also sports competitions.

Celebration of the Virgin Mary

A very popular celebration across Greece on the 15th of August that could not be left out in Chania City and throughout the prefecture’s villages. The main festivities take place in the main monasteries of the area where people enjoy food, drink and folk music and dances.

Sheep Festival

The festival is held every year on April 23rd in the village of Assi Gonia, a traditional mountainous village in the are of Apokoronas, to honour sheep and their valuable contribution to healthy nutrition. Thousands of sheep are brought in public to be milked and honoured in the small church of Agios Georgios. Attendants will enjoy the music, dances and food while they can even try the milk gathered.

Karanos Cherry Festival

In the beginning of June each year the popular Cherry Festival is held in the village of Karanos where visitors will also enjoy food, drinks and traditional music together with a whole lot of cherries!

Kasteli Wine Festival

Every summer at the beginning of August in Kasteli village, at the north west part of the prefecture, a feast dedicated to the tasteful Cretan wine takes place with the necessary traditional music, local specialties and Cretan dances. Not to be missed!

Venizelia Festival

In the honour of Eleftherios Venizelos, a famous personality in Greece and especially Crete, the Venizelia Festival with various sports activities and competitions takes place each year at the beginning of June at the National Stadium of Chania city.

Various Cultural & Folk Celebrations

Throughout the year and especially in the summer various popular festivals take place in the entire Chania Prefecture, such as:

Cycladia Tips
Cycladia Tips

Crete is literally the blessed land of the Mediterranean consisting in the perfect place for explorations, vacation, culinary experiences and indulgent into a rich history and culture.

Chania in its turn is the most developed and popular part of the island offering countless choices to satisfy every need and taste. Cycladia offers you the most valuable tips to utterly live the experience of holidays in Chania. And of course our first tip is to dedicate more than 10 days to explore what this place has to offer you!

Chania Villages

We strongly advise travelers not to stay within the borders of Chania City but rent a car and have a tour to the traditional, mountainous villages of the entire prefecture. The region of Apokoronas with its deep tradition and its distinctive character will travel you back in time. It is really worth staying in different areas of the prefecture every 2-3 days in order to experience its different sides and diverse natural scenery.

Venizelos Tombs - Koukouvagia

Ascend towards Chania airport and Venizelos tombs and have a drink or coffee in Koukouvagia café, majestically overlooking Chania gulf right below. The panoramic view just gives the sense of “floating” in the air!

Chania Gorges

Dedicate one or two days of your stay to cross Samaria Gorge and also a smaller, wilder one. The natural environment, the serenity of the ambience and the majestic scenery will surely reward your choice!

Sfakia & Surrounding Area

Take a daily excursion or have one night’s stay at Hora Sfakion. You will experience one of the most genuine sides of Crete and have a unique taste of traditional, local delicacies. Do not miss to take the small taxi boat or hire a boat to take you to the surrounding beaches nestled in small, tranquil coves that will just remain unforgettable!

Aradaina Village

Right above Sfakia Hora you will find Aradaina village and Aradain Bridge that unites the two sides of Aradaina Gorge. On Aradaina Bridge you will also have the chance to do bungee jumping in a narrow but exciting dive! Visit the old Aradaina village which has been left to desolate after a deadly incident: the inhabitants of the entire village killed each other within a few hours due to some kind of argument over a dead sheep’s bell. Besides, Cretans are well known for the gravity of their honour and their great love for guns! The village nowadays is full of buildings half collapsing and the scenery is indeed imposing and at the same tie depressing and serene.

Balos Beach

If you decide to visit Balos, mind to take the boat from Kasteil since the road that leads there is pretty bad and it would take you too much time to reach the parking area. In turn, the parking is also rough and may be full too and the descending you will have to do in order to reach the coast is pretty tiring, given that you will also have to ascend it after your swim!

Western Coast Beaches

If you want to visit the western coast magical beaches like Falassarna and Elafonissi mind to do it when the winds blowing are not western too. If not, you will be disappointed since the waves are pretty high, making your swim just impossible, while you will not be able to stand on the coast too due to the sand coming forcefully on your body.

Shops & Galleries
Chania Galleries

Art Gallery B. Milonogianni
In Chania city, a contemporary gallery exhibiting the works of Greek and foreign artists focusing mainly in paintings and sculpture.
Harilaou Trikoupi Str. 14, Chania

Municipal Art Gallery of Chania
A showcase of Chania’s history enriched with contemporary pieces of art including paintings, sculptures and all forms of modern visual arts in the centre of Chania city.
98-102 Chalidon Str., Chania
Tel: +30 28210 92294,  +30 28210 36190
Fax: +30 28210 92294
http://www.pinakothiki-chania.gr/

Giali Tzamisi or Ottoman Mosque
Right in the heart of the Old Venetian port of Hania, a building dating back to Ottoman occupation which hosts various exhibitions throughout the year promoting Crete’s rich tradition. Photography, embroideries , traditional every day utensils, painting and sculpture are a few examples of usual exhibits.
Old Venetian port, Chania

Center of the Mediterranean Architecture
A Municipal venue established to promote local architecture and its professional throughout Greece and the entire world. Its principal aim is to resolve through discussions and research the issue of space and its best exploiting concerning new or restored buildings and tourism infrastructure in a way that will respect and preserve the natural environment and human beings. It is usually hosting architectural photography exhibitions, concerts, lectures and seminars promoting its cause.
31 Tombazi Coast
Katehaki Sq., Chania
Tel: +30 28210 40201
Email: culture@kam-arsenali.gr
www.kam-arsenali.gr

Palio Telonio
The building of old customs is used to host various events, from antique cars’ exhibitions to sculpture and traditional items exhibitions.
Neoria, Katehaki Sq.
Chania

Shopping in Chania

In Chania Old Town, in the small traditional alleys there are alot of charming shops offering a vast variety of jewelry, souvenirs, gifts, books and traditional products.

Find below an indicative list for the best shopping in Chania:

Margarittas Gallery
A great number of jewelry pieces and gifts, together with handmade holy icons
www.margaritakerdela.com

Signes Artistic Glass
Pieces of art made with glass.
99 Chalidon Str., Chania
Tel: +30 28210 42401

Mitos Gallery
Unique pieces of high quality jewelry and ceramics by Greek artists.
44 Khalidon Str.
Old Town
Chania

Pelekanaki Books & Paper Store
A vast selection of books, maps and guides for Crete and not only!
98 Khalidon Str.
Old Town
Chania

Dionysos Kassimatis Family Traditional Products
An endless variety of Cretan traditional products from raki and tsikoudia to cosmetics based in natural ingredients found here. The shop’s long history and its owner’s willingness and warm smile consummate the concept Cretan tradition and hospitality.
50 Skrydlof Str.
Old Town,
Chania
Tel.: +30 28210 27722
www.kassimatis-family.com