Located on the largest of the Greek Islands, Chania is the largest city in the country’s western prefecture and is filled with some of the Crete’s most spectacular sights. Although the city has been overtaken by some of the development which is creeping over the island, its rich history stays apparent and traditional Greek life is still ever present. Venetian and Turkish influences are present in many of its buildings, even though the carapace of Old Town is filled with modern development. War has ripped through the city many times and left it without many notable monuments, but the effect that this has had on the city is enough of a sight.


The Archaeological Museum in Chania is housed in a building that has had many former lives. Initially a sixteenth century Venetian Church of San Francisco, it then became a mosque under the Turks, then a cinema in 1913, and a munitions depot during WWII for the Germans. This building is characteristic of many of those that are housed in Chania, and explains the history that the city has been subject to. The museum displays a collection of artefacts from western Crete dating from the Neolithic Era to the Roman Era. The Hellenistic statue of Diana is one of the most impressive in the museum, which has one of the most impressive collections of excavated finds in Greece.

There are many churches dotted around the city and walking to and from them is relatively easy. One of the most famous is The Church of “Agioi Anargyroi”. After the Turks conquered Chania in 1645, this was the only church in the city that was still allowed to offer its services as an orthodox church to the residents until the nineteenth century.

Turkish influences can be seen all around the town, but Platia 1821, the central Turkish meeting place, was one of the most important Turkish areas in the city. Today it holds a partially excavated Turkish bath, with a cistern that is said to be able to hold enough water to provide for the whole city for six months. Bishop Melhisedek was also hung here in 1821, due to the Turks fear of an uprising.

The harbour in Chania is one of its most famous sights, and much of the cities daily life is undertaken around this area. The Venetians first constructed the harbour in the fourteenth century as a means by which to protect the city. A jetty was later built, and although the Venetians built the lighthouse, it was repaired under Egyptian rule, again showing how each period of Chania’s history has contributed to its structure.

The best way to take in the sights, sounds and smells of Chania is by a walking tour. Guides are available, [ Tony Fennymore] is one of the best to be found, or you can obtain leaflets from the Information Centre and do it yourself. It is best to start this early to be able to take in the food market and to avoid some of the midday heat, when you can escape to a shaded taverna for some Cretan delights. Alternatively you could engage in a boat trip, which run from Chania Harbour round to Chania Bay. Most of these include the option of swimming and snorkelling.


At night Chania Harbour turns into a hub of people, stalls and restaurants, with postcard beauty. Eating in the tavernas which flank the harbour can be an unrivalled experience, but do not expect the quality of the food to rival the atmosphere. Unfortunately tourism has enabled restaurateurs to increase their prices but not the standard of their cooking, thus simple, traditional dishes are usually the best bet. Further inside the city you will find tavernas located in roofless Venetian ruins dotted around the Old Town and Splantzia. These provide outstanding Cretan dishes in a completely unique setting that is so typical of the city. Traditional cuisine can also be found in the food market which houses a few cheap tavernas for the more adventurous.

Rock and Roll bars govern Chania’s nightlife, although there are a few places which play Cretan music or Jazz. Most of the residents who wish to take the night into the small hours of the morning head to the coastal resort of Platanias, located eleven km to the west of Chania, which caters for these needs.


The harbour at Chania is lined with stalls selling everything and anything; you will find jewellery, crafts and home cooked food. There are also many craft shops around the city, selling hand woven lace and traditional Cretan ornaments. Leather goods and fine antiques are also on offer, as well as an array of designer retail shops. Tourist shops will open all day, but many more traditional shops will close during the hottest hours of the day and reopen into the late evening hours. The food market in Chania is also one of the largest you will ever see, and residents from all over the city flock here everyday to buy their fresh produce.

Tourist Information

Tourist Information 29 Kythonia Street731 35 ChaniaCreteGreece

Tel: 0030 2821 92 000Fax: 0030 2821 93 300Email:


Although the airport at Chania is not the main one that is used in Crete, it is the gateway to the western part of Crete and therefore travelling to this airport can greatly aid your trip. The airport is an international one, with regular flights to many destinations in Europe throughout the main season (April – November). It is located nine miles out of the centre of Chania and therefore taxi journeys to the city are cheap.

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