If you want to go to the beach while visiting Chania city, you may not see the best available in the Chania prefecture, but you will still enjoy clean water, sunshine, and mesmerizing sea views.
From the harbor, walk about one kilometer west to find the beaches of Nea Chora. There are excellent amenities to make your stay unforgettable. If you are lucky to be there during the Sardine Festival, you get to sample free fish and experience music and fun like a local. Try a traditional fish taverna close to the beach if you miss the festival.
East of the harbor, in the historic Bedouins district, you’ll find Kum Kapi, another beach that doesn’t require you to leave the city. It’s a sandy, unorganized beach with excellent swimming conditions in calm blue waters.
The locals love a seawater pond in Halepa. Named Kouloura, this natural pool surrounded by rocks, offers very clear water and good swimming conditions. The rocky terrain and minute stretch of sand make sunbathing impossible, but the scenic views are worth taking in.
Chrissi Akti, or the Golden Beach, is a 2.5 kilometers drive west of Chania. Easily accessible, this beach comprises two areas; one well organized with sunbeds, umbrellas, tavernas, and the other less popular as it lacks amenities. You will also find lifeguards on duty, a playground for children, watersports, and excellent swimming conditions on the west bay in shallow water.
Agii Apostoli lies west of Chania, about three kilometers drive. It is excellent for swimming and sunbathing and offers all the amenities you need for a pleasant day in the sun, including loungers, umbrellas, lifeguards on duty, watersports, and much more. The scenic beach takes its name from the Church of Holy Apostles nearby, which is worth seeing if you find a spare moment.
The top beaches in the Chania prefecture require a day trip to each. These are Balos, Falasarna, and Elafonissi. If you are on the island for a long time, they should be at the top of your bucket list.
The architecture of Chania is rare in Crete. It’s an unlikely mix of Ottoman, Venetian, and local styles, which give a unique character to each of the town’s neighborhoods. For instance, Tabakaria, the former tannery district of Chania, is an example of industrial development in the mid 19th century. Most of the buildings here are in ruin and empty, but some function as tavernas and craft shops worth visiting for something less touristy than what you find in the more popular neighbourhoods.
Here are some central landmarks to provide you with an idea of the city’s diverse architectural styles:
The harbor’s landmark is a 16th-century Venetian lighthouse, modified by the Egyptians in the early 19th century. Probably the most photographed architectural structure of Chania.
Firkas Fortress (Revellino del Porto)
Another example of Venetian architecture from the 16th century. It boasts magnificent views of Chania’s harbor and lighthouse.
Küçük Hasan Pasha Mosque (Yali Mosque)
A stunning example of Ottoman architecture from 1649. It is no longer a place of worship, being used today as an exhibition center for local artists.
Some of Crete's most important monasteries and places of worship are set within the borders of the Prefecture of Chania. You'll find most of these monastic complexes outside rural settlements, in secluded areas surrounded by breathtaking landscapes that invite peaceful contemplation.
When you are in the area, three must-see monasteries include Agia Triada Tzagaroli, Gouverneto, and Katholiko, which are not too far from Chania town.
Agia Triada Tzagaroli Monastery
Constructed in the 17th century by Venetian-Cretan brothers Jeremiah and Lawrence Tzagarolo. It is one of the most important monasteries of Crete. Visit it to buy olive oil and wine produced by its monks.
Gouverneto Monastery is 19 kilometers east of Chania town at the entrance of Avlaki Gorge. It has a beautifully ornate Venetian central church. When you visit it, plan to go to the nearby Katholiko Monastery, which is reached via a paved trail that traverses the gorge.
The ruins of a former monastery erected in the 17th century by Venetian nobleman Jeremiah Tzagarolo next to the cave where Saint John the Hermit died in the 11th century. Worth visiting for the walk from Gouverneto Monastery leading here, a paved trail that traverses the Avlaki Gorge passing the Cave of Panagia Arkoudiotissa.
Chania has a rich food and restaurants scene, as well as a strong café culture. You can always enjoy a copious breakfast in the city, a good brew, and a hearty meal. Many restaurants endure the test of time, staying in business ages due to the locals’ commitment to tradition and quality. Cretan’s know good food, eat well, and love to share. Tavernas sell meze-style portions, while modern restaurant will welcome you with elaborate a la carte menus. Whatever you like to eat, you will enjoy food in Chania.
Choose any restaurant or taverna in the port: they all have fresh fish and they cook it to perfection. But if you want to enjoy a historic hangout, here are our top pics:
A beautiful eatery in the Old Town behind the Presentation of the Virgin Mary Holy Metropolitan Church, serving traditional Cretan fare.
Dine at Semiramis Restaurant in the evening to enjoy live music in a traditional Cretan ambiance. Their Greek menu features several locals’ favorites.
Operating since 1982 in the Old Port of Chania, Tamam offers traditional fare inspired by Greek Sunday dinners. Housed in the building of a former Venetian public bathhouse.
Chania has a buzzing nightlife scene, even though the seaside town is not famous for bars and clubbing. After dark, the beach clubs and portside taverns light up the night with traditional Cretan music, jazz, and modern pop or DJ tunes that echo in the night. While there are many great suggestions for spending your evenings in Old Chania, the following clubs are a good start for the first-time visitor.
You will find one of the top party destinations in the city of Chania, Klik, in the old port. Here an international crowd of well-heeled partiers lives it up on summer nights. You can expect a classier vibe, great music, and a party vibe that’s a bit more tailored than some of the beach clubs. There are many other excellent venues scattered around the prefecture of Chania. Here are three of the best.
The classiest and ritziest party venue in Platanias, also considered among the best in all Crete.
Some of the wildest parties on the island take place at this bar in Platanias. Wear good dancing shoes and get ready to rock till dawn.
Ammos & Ilios
Ammos & Ilios is a beach bar with a strong reputation for exceptional DJ parties. You’ll find it in Agia Marina.
Shopping in Chania
Shopaholics are spoilt for choice in Chania, where shopping is a favorite pastime for tourists and residents alike. The city has hundreds of little boutiques selling souvenirs, clothing, and food. If you plan to buy something to remind you of your visit, Chania is famous for leather handicrafts, Cretan knives, kopaneli lace, and ceramics.
The heart of the city, the Municipal Market opened its doors in 1913, three days after the unification of Crete with the Kingdom of Greece. History and shopping go hand in hand here.
Visit Kurkuta for souvenirs “with a twist” and made-in-Greece products of impeccable quality.
Cretan Knives Skalidakis
While you can find all kinds of souvenirs at the Municipal Market, the real Cretan knives are sold by specialized boutiques.
Chania with Children
Children will love Chania for its narrow alleys that hide a sweets’ or ice cream shop at every corner, for horse-drawn carriages, for boat tours, and for other exciting activities that end up satisfying adult companions too. The Old Port of Chania is one of the best sites to spend time with your children, but if you are looking for more fun or educational activities, here are some of our recommendations:
Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete
You’ll find the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete in Fournes, a mere 30-minute drive from Chania. This is a unique attraction on the island and a must-see for all.
Aqua Creta Limnoupolis
Nothing spells fun like a water park. Aqua Creta Limnoupolis has slides for all ages, pools, and a lovely restaurant to tame your hunger. 15 minutes drive from Chania.
Nautical Museum of Crete
Let your kids wonder at the art of shipbuilding and see a replica of a Minoan vessel at this museum housed in a Venetian fortress.
The Prefecture of Chania is an awe-inspiring destination for day trips and excursions. If you stay at Hydramis Palace, you are ideally situated to explore some of the best areas Crete has to offer. Take a day trip to the countryside up in the mountains to escape the scorching sun - Crete is surprisingly green and refreshing there - or drive to an iconic beach to capture the very essence of the island.
You are in Georgioupolis - a fishers’ village turned resort town - give yourself a couple of hours to see the seabound chapel of Agios Nikolaos, one of Crete’s most photographed landmarks. From here on, let the road take you to the next best destination. Here are some recommended stops for your next trip or excursion:
Crete’s only natural water lake is a summer favorite for locals and tourists alike. Take a trip for ceramics, good food, and donkey walks.
Crete’s emerald - a much-coveted attraction that spells wonder every time. Enjoy a unique hike among mountainous landscapes of vibrant green overlooking the endless dance of the sea.
The most beautiful beach on Crete island, Elafonisi beckons with promises of turquoise waters, sea daffodils, and pure bliss.
When you are in Chania you are always steps away from your next great adventure. The area is excellent for a whole range of activities. You can explore the mountainous countryside trekking, on horseback, with a jeep safari, on the saddle of a bike, or with a rented car. The Sea of Crete offers stupendous conditions for scuba diving, snorkeling, and all the watersports you want to pursue. Kitesurfing is one of the most popular activities, but you can also go for less challenging sports, like stand-up paddling, canoeing, or boating. Whatever your preference, you are in a place that will satisfy your need for movement in nature.
A popular activity every season, kitesurfing attracts many enthusiasts of the sport to the Sea of Crete. Chania has some of the best beaches to practice.
One of the best ways to discover the island with a guide. Explore places off-the-beaten-path, see the beauty of the Cretan countryside, and take in the awe-inspiring views of the sea.
Crete looks wonderful from the sea. Chania has all kinds of sailing adventure waiting to bring you joy.