The unique charm of Chania is due to the preservation of a great number of the old Venetian, Turkish and Jewish neighbourhoods. The whole of the Old City with its unique architecture, its narrow alleys and the old harbour, is a unique landmark. Do not forget to visit the Venetian castle, the Turkish baths and the renovated mosque.
Attractions near the town of Chania Near Chania (3 km southeast) you will see the Chrysopigi Monastery dating from 1600, which resembles a castle, the monastery Gouverneto at Akrotiri, Mournies village, birthplace of Eleftherios Venizelos and the hill of Prophet Elias where the graves of Eleftherios Venizelos family lie.
The Archaeological Museum of Chania
The Archaeological Museum of Chania is housed in the church of the Venetian monastery of St. Francis and contains collections of archaeological finds from different periods and areas of the county of Chania.
Address: 25, Halidon str., T +30 28210 90334
Opening Hours: daily 08:30-15:00 except Mon
The Byzantine Museum
Inside the 15th century Franciscan monastery, San Salvatore, there are findings obtained from excavations of Byzantine and post- Byzantine years from around the county, and collections or donations by various people dating from the Early Christian times until the Turkish occupation.
Address: 82, Theotokopoulou str., T +30 28210 96046
Opening Hours: daily 08:00-14:00 except Mon
The Janissaries Mosque
At the waterfront stands the oldest and most famous monument of the Turkish occupation of Crete, the Mosque of the Janissaries, a rectangular building with 4 arches supporting an impressive dome.
The Firka Fort – The Maritime Museum
The ruins of the Venetian castle offer a panoramic view of the Cretan Sea. Right at the entrance the fort houses the Maritime Museum. On December 1st, 1913 the Greek flag was erected here by, sealing the unification of Crete with Greece.
Address: Kountourioti Coast, T +30 28210 91875
Opening hours: daily from November 1st to March 31st, from 10:00 to 14:00 and from April 1st to October 31st, from 10:00 to 16:00
What to do
A unique atmosphere, breathtaking landscapes and exotic beaches, especially in the Libyan Sea, make Chania and the surrounding parts of the most sought-after tourist destinations.
Tours around the Chania County
To the west of Chania visit the famous Sfakia, the exotic Gramvousa, Kissamos or Kastelli and the picturesque village of Milia with its welcoming guest house. East of Chora Sfakion visit the Venetian Castle “Fragokastelo” built in 1370, known from the 1828 battle between the Greeks and the Turks, a place that charms with its mysterious atmosphere.
Chania is famous for its many beaches, so make sure you have enough time to enjoy them. Georgioupolis is known for its 7 km continuous sandy beach while on the way to Kissamos you will encounter in succession the beaches of Aghioi Apostoli , Aghia Marina, Gerani, Maleme, Platanias and Kolimbari. In the north you can visit the beaches Akrotiri, Kalathas, Stavros and Marathi which are very popular. The isolated, exotic and famous Balos beach with fine sand and transparent waters lies in the northernmost end of Gramvousa. 20 km from Kastelli there is the vast beach of Falasarna with international credits –best beach of Europe for 2002– but not recommended on windy days.
76 km southwest of Chania boasts the world famous Elafonisi: fractured shells are mixed with the white sand, and the waters have incredible colours. The inaccessible beaches in the south compensate those who defy the inconvenience of travelling there: Sougia, Aghia Roumeli, Loutro, Sfakia, Fragokastelo, Kedrodasos. Throughout the summer there are boat which takes you from Paleochora and Chora Sfakion to the majority of beaches, and from Kastelli to Gramvousa and Ballos.
The Samaria Gorge
The gorge is world famous for its high ecological importance for Greece. The gorge is a National Park and access is only allowed between May and October. It extends over 48,500 acres between the Omalos Plateau and village of Aghia Roumeli which is cut off the mainland. It includes rare species of flora and fauna, like the Cretan wild goat (ibex). The walk through waterfalls, lakes and canyons of unique beauty lasts 4 hours.
Another path requiring a 2 to 3 hour hiking is the small but lush with pines, cypress trees Imbros Gorge, which starts from Sfakia and ends at Komitades village. South of Kissamos there is another canyon through magnificent journey and a total length of 1.550 meters, the Topoliano gorge. It includes the Cave of Saint Sophia with a small church and with a rich decoration of stalactites and stalagmites.
Festivals and cultural events
One of the liveliest towns of Greece, Chania seems to celebrate every day of the year. Theatrical and musical performances, exhibitions, concerts and events are organized during the Summer Festival of Chania (June-August) at the theatre of the eastern Moat, at the Garden, at the Venizelors Conservatory, at the Park of Peace and Friendship. Parallel events give life to various neighbourhoods. In early summer the international sports games “Venizeleia” are organized, whereas the Maritime Week is celebrated with flying colours in July. The anniversary of the Battle of Crete (on the second fortnight of May) is another famous celebration and the Agricultural August (August 1st 10th) promoting local agricultural products, art and dance events in the Venetian port attract many visitors. The raki and wine feasts are also of special interest.
The most popular celebrations of the Cretans are the festivities in honour of the saints, accompanied by traditional dances, the Cretan lyre and food galore. The most famous festivals are the festival of St. John in Sfakia (May 8th), the festival of Saint George in Asi Gonia (April 23rd), the festival of Annunciation in Paleochora (March 25th), the festival of St Antony in Sougia (July 1st 2nd) the festival of Chrisoskalitissa on August 15th and the festival of Agios Nikitas in Fragokastelo (September 15th) where horse races are organized.