Chania (Greek Χανιά, also transliterated Hania or even Khania) is a beautiful port town on the northwest coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Highly livable spot.
Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania Bay is a well visited destination for Scandinavian charter trips. Chania is an attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. There are plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking at Greek tavernas and modern cafés that are open into the night.
The old town is centred around the harbour, a maze of alleys and houses that stood for hundreds of years, were rebuilt, ruined and rebuilt again with details from different epochs. Old Town is full of souvenir, art and crafts shops. The new quarters house the regular span of shops, where you can find most of your needs for hiking and other adventures. The beaches begin not far from Old Town, the nearest one being Nea Hora, a 1-km walk from the west end of Old Town.
Summer season (April to October) is hot and dry with clear skies. Dry, hot days are often relieved by a seasonal breeze from the north, Meltemi. There are occasional heat waves. Winters are mild with relatively little rain and rare frosts but with a high level of humidity that drops the relative temperature.
- 1 Chania International Airport (CHQ IATA) (on the Akrotiri Peninsula a bit northeast of the city), ☏ . The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century. It is rather small with 6 gates.
There are several daily flights from Athens, via Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. From April to early November, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and other European countries. You can get to the city by taxi (€25, about a 20 minutes drive) or city bus (€2.50, service every 30-60 minutes).
Ferry services from Athens (Piraeus port) to Chania (Hania) anchor at the nearby port of Souda. Daily ferries, one ordinary with ANEK and one fast catamaran with Hellenic Seaways.
Chania is connected to the rest of Crete by regular bus lines operated by the KTEL company. The coaches are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. Fare is reasonable. Public transportation is fairly frequent and timetables trustworthy. Bus services along the north coast and towards the south coast are excellent, reliable, frequent and cheap.
Highway E75 (A90) goes along the north coast of Crete from Heraklion to Kissamos. It goes by the southern outskirts of the town. The old road, that still has the name 90, is parallel to the highway and is the main road through all the small resorts west of Chania.
Hiring a car is easy with the usual documentation (a standard EU driving licence is fine.) Get prior permission in writing from the rental company if you plan to take the car away on a ferry.
If you are on Crete to see the 'real Crete', as opposed to the night clubs, then visiting the villages of the island is a must. All Cretan culture can be seen, heard and tasted in the villages. The Cretans at work or at leisure will always welcome visitors and show you how to do things the correct way. All villages have a central kafenion (coffee shop) which is where all people eventually end up. The kafenion, apart from being a place to meet friends for a coffee, raki or a game of tavli (backgammon), is used as the main information centre of the village. Be aware, however, that the kafenion is still very much a male dominion and women are generally not welcome inside (as opposed to a kafeteria or regular cafe). Most villages have war memorials and the locals will willingly fill in any missing information. Gavalohori has a wonderful folklore museum where much about village life can be learned.
- 1 Etz Hayyim Synagogue, Parados Kondylaki, 730 11, Hania, Crete, Hellas (GR) (The synagogue can be reached by walking up Kondylaki Street from the harbour and taking the second turn to the right (also check the map icon below). This street is only about 25 m long and leads to a cross street with no other exits. Upon reaching that intersection, the stone wall and entrance to the courtyard of the synagogue are directly in front of you.), ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 10:00-18:00. Until 1999 Etz Hayyim was a house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on Crete after the destruction of Crete's Jewish community in 1944. Essentially it stood as a monument to the success of the Nazis in obliterating 2,300 years of Jewish life on Crete. Between 1996 and the year of its rededication in 1999, the structure was painstakingly restored. The philosophy that directed this work is summed up in the Hebrew Am Israel Hayy: 'The people of Israel live'. It used to be on the World Monument Fund's list of most endangered sites. €2 (suggested).
- Stroll around old town and old Venetian harbour.
- The Archaeological Museum of Hania is well worth a visit.
- Samaria Gorge is an easy and popular day trip from here.
- Maleme village, Old national road Chania Kissamos (15 km after Chania town). See the German cemetery on Kaukales hill at Maleme, the historical airport battlefield, the beach of Gerani where the sea turtle Caretta caretta is preserved.
- The beautiful Elafonissi beach is reachable by bus (one per day, 09:00, €11 each way). KTEL company.
- Visit the beautiful Balos beach from the nearby town of Kissamos, which can be reached by bus.
Olives, olive oil and honey are some of the many products of excelent quality in Chania.
- Mpourakis in Kounoupidiana presents delicious traditional cuisine. From Kounoupidiana centre take the road on the right go towards Stavros, 100 m on the right side.
- The Roadhouse Bar & Grill (Mike's Roadhouse), Kounoupidiana, Akrotiri (Go 7km east on Leoforos Venezelos (Main Road) out of Hania towards the Akrotiri Peninsula.), ☏ . Everyday 19:00. A bar & grill serving cheeseburgers and chili. The owners speak fluent English, Bulgarian and German. Has Karaoke.
- Mike's in Maleme, 17 km west from Chania. Home-style cooking .
- Pinaleon in El.Venizelou. Good tavern which serves tasty Cretan cuisine.
- [dead link] Theo Restaurant, Paparigopoulou & Nikolaou Xilouri, 99 (2 km out of Chania, on Parigoria Hill), ☏ , . 18:30. A new restaurant serving traditional Greek and Cretan dishes. The food is very fresh with very large portions. Their patio seating has fantastic views of the sea and city. €6-12.
- The Well of the Turk, Kallinikou Street 1-3 (Olde Town, historic Turkish district of Splanzia (Rouga Sq)), ☏ . Dinner until late. The cooking is excellent, and the atmosphere is casual and welcoming, The inside rooms are perfect for cooler evenings. Previous winner of Gourmet's award for the best ethnic food in Crete for the last two years. Open daily for dinner except Tuesdays.
- 1 Gramboussa (Restaurant), Gramboussa Kissamou (Kaliviani). Traditional Cretan cuisine in quiet surroundings.
- [dead link] Restaurant Kariatis (Old Venetian Harbour), Katechaki Square, Chania (Next to the Arsenali, Old Harbour), ☏ . Daily 18:00-00:00. Situated among the beautiful Venetian ruins of Chania old harbour. Open for dinner all year round. €12-30.
- [dead link] Italian Restaurant Zafferano (Platanias, Chania), Platanias - opposite the Minoa Palace Hotel (14 km west of Chania situated on the old coast road.), ☏ . May-Oct daily 18:00-00:00. Stylish Italian restaurant set on a beautifully decorated, spacious roof piazza overlooking the coastline of Platanias. Fresh seafood, pasta, risotto, succulent fillet steaks and wood-fired oven pizza. Open every evening in summer for dinner and take-away. €12-30.
Chania and environs has a range of accommodation ranging from hostels to 5-star hotels. The historical backstreets by the old harbour in Chania are full of old Venetian houses that have been renovated into hotels, some of which are very well priced with a unique atmosphere, friendly proprietors and, obviously, an excellent location. However, most of these are not advertised online, so unless you are going at the peak season (June–August), consider not making a reservation and shopping for accommodation once there.
- Iro Apartments, 36 K. Paleologu Street, fax: . Small hotel combining vicinity to the centre of Chania and the old town (within 900 m) as well as the sandy beach of Nea Hora (30 m away). Great atmosphere.
- Hotel Helena - Lovely hotel, €35/n for a single and €55/n for a double. A very friendly and chatty proprietor who was always available to provide advice or assistance. Just two streets down from the seafront.
- Ontas Traditional Hotel, ☏ . Epimenidou and Ikarou, - in the old town.
- Vilelmine Hotel, 32 Betolo St, ☏ . Quaint, clean, centrally located in the Old Town.
- Esthisis suites and maisonettes, ☏ . Fully equipped suites and maisonettes of one, two and three bedrooms equipped with modern comforts.
- Blue Beach Apartments, ☏ , fax: . In Stavros - Akrotiri - Chania. The spotless, well appointed, villas and apartments which can accommodate 2 to 6 people, come complete with private bathrooms, kitchenettes and balconies with wonderful view. The villas and apartments vary in style and location. All are within two minutes from the beach and provide clean attractive accommodation.
- Alexis Hotel, Parigoria (just 2 km from the city centre), ☏ . Check-in: 15:00, check-out: 12:00. A family-run hotel, with friendly and helpful staff who really want their guests to be happy. It's near the national road which is important if you want to easily go on an excursions and explore the island. It is close to the beach and the rooms have fantastic sea views. Booking a room with breakfast and dinner is a good thing to do. The hotel restaurant is called Theo. 28 euro/night low season.
- 1 [dead link] Villa Anna Maria (holiday villa in Gerani). a holiday villa in Gerani that accommodates up to 8 persons
- 2 Yakinthos Beach Hotel (Near Chania), ☏ . Check-in: 12:30, check-out: 12:00. 3-star beach hotel in Chania prefecture, right near the beaches of Agii Apostoli and Glaros.
- Hotel Phaedra Studios & Apartments (Hotel Phaedra), Kato Stalos (7 km from Chania), ☏ . Check-in: 14:00, check-out: 12:00. Family beach hotel with swimming pool, on the beach, awarded the “Blue Flag” of the European Union and supervised by lifeguards. It consists of 22 apartments and studios with private balcony or patio with sea view. A bus-stop is close to the hotel.