Chania is the second largest city of Crete and the capital of the Chania regional unit.
Chania regional unit, often informally termed ‘Western Crete’, is a beautiful and in many parts unspoilt part of the island. Districts include verdant Apokoronas, mountainous Sfakia, and Selino in the far South West corner. Some other notable towns in the Chania prefecture are Hora Sfakion, Kastelli-Kissamos, Palaiochora, Maleme, Vryses, Vamos, Georgioupolis & Kalives.
A first-time visitor to Chania is surprised by the great number of buildings and monuments with traces of great history and culture.
The old town is located on and around the hill of Kasteli and was built over the ruins of the Minoan city Kydonia. It is surrounded by the Byzantine walls, the Venetian walls and the sea.
Along the harbour, small cafes and restaurants create an inviting atmosphere.
The Samariá Gorge is the longest one in Europe and a major tourist attraction of the island, is located in southwest Crete about 43 km from the city of Chania.It is a delicate ecosystem of stunning natural beauty and rich and rare flora, 450 plant species, and are protected by international law.
You will need five to seven hours to walk the 17 km and there are wardens along the way (in radio contact with each other) who will help you in case of trouble or injury. The river Tarraios runs the entire length of the gorge. There is plenty of drinking water all along the gorge, toilets in several places and plenty of rubbish bins.
Frangokastello Fortess is an important historical monument in the region of Chania, Crete.
According to tradition, around the anniversary of the battle of 1828, in May, shadows of the armed Cretan and soldiers who lost their lives there seem to march towards the fortress around dawn. As these ghosts appear with the morning dew, they have been named Dew Men, or Drossoulites in Greek. The shadows are visible from the valley at a distance of 1000 m.
Scientists say that they are reflections of the sun rays, however, many people have reported seeing these ghosts.
Lake Kourna is the only natural freshwater lake on Crete. It covers an area of 579 acres and its depth reaches 22 meters. It is situated just 49 km away from Kourna lake is a protected area as an important wetland, and it has joined in the program NATURA 2000. There are many moorhens and ducks, eels, snakes and a rare two-color turtle. In summer, the visitors can enjoy swimming in its clear waters.
Chania Museums & Churches
Archaeological Museum Chania
The Archaeological Museum of chania was founden in 1963.The collection of the museum includes findings from excavations in several areas of the city that have been performed during the last 50 years, and its exhibits cover the cultural history of Chania from the neolithic period till the Roman Empire.
Museum of Typography
Its the first Museum of Typography in Greece is located in Chania, in the heart of the Mediterranean sea. Since it’s opening in 2005 to this day, the museum has continuously enriched it’s collections, widened it’s field of interest and expanded it’s premises to cover every aspect of the art that was born in the 15th century in Gutenberg’s workshop and literally changed the course of history.
Agia Triada of Tzagarolon
The monastery of Agia Triada of Tzagarolon is one of the richest and most beautiful monasteries in Crete. It is built near the airport of Chania and at the foothills of Stavros Mount. Is one of the most important monasteries of the end of the Venetian Empire in Crete with a great contribution to the History and Education of the island.
In the monastery there is a small museum with various pictures, utensils, and manuscripts.
Cathedral of Chania ( Temple of Eisodion of Theotokos )
At the centre of Chania, dominates the historical Trimartiri, the Cathedral Temple of Chania, the Temple of Eisodion of Theotokos. The temple of Eisodion, as Cathedral and Metropolitan and Protector of the City, concentrates the religious, and generally devotional interest of godly population of Chania.
During the 150 years of its life, the Temple has been identified with the fate, the life and the history of the City and has been valorised as one of the remarkable historical monuments of Crete.
The Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of Chrysopigi lies a short distance from the town of Chania. It was founded in the middle of the 16th century in the last period of Venetian rule in Crete. The Monastery is dedicated to our Lady of the Life-Giving Spring, who is known popularly as ‘Chrysopigi’, the Golden Fountain.
Chania Traditional Products
The original products of Chania have always made a difference since they are the secret for good health and longevity. The rich and fertile land of the island gives huge amounts of fruits, vegetables, legumes, cheese and other products that locals use in their meals and sweets.
Plates like kaltsounia, lamb and ntakos are some of the meals that visitors will definitely enjoy with the hard Cretan bread, mizithra cheese and plenty of virgin oil. All the meals are accompanied by local wine varieties, tsikoudia or raki .
Chania Folklore Festivals and Cultural Events
Religious Feasts & Festivals
- August 15th
August 15th is the largest religious celebration in Crete, on the occasion of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary. There are open panigiria in many villages of Chania Crete.
- April 23rd
On April 23rd (or Monday after Easter), there is the celebration of Agios Georgios. On this day, the locals celebrate the feast of Agios Georgios Galatas, which means protector of milk. All ship flocks of the locals are gathered around the church of the village and after the Holy Mass, the priest blesses them. Then, the ship is milked in the square and the milk is offered to the people.
- September 15th
On September 15th, there is a large feast in Fragkokastello in honor of Agios Nikitas.
Many carnival festivities and parades take place in various towns of Chania, such as Chania Town, Souda, Paleochora, and Kalyves.
All summer long, from June to August, there are various events in the municipality of Chania. These events include theatre performances, musical concerts, lectures, art and photo exhibitions, sports competitions and others.
The first week of September, there is a Sardines Festival in Souda and Nea Chora.
In November, the month of raki production, there is a raki festival in Chania Town, Loutraki Kydonias and Limni Platanias.
The coastline of Crete is a little over 1000 km in length and a good proportion of it consists of beaches, so you will find anything you ask for .Some of them are :
Elafonisi is one of the exotic beaches of Crete.Main features are the dunes of white sand, clear blue and shallow waters and calm and serenity offered. Opposite the beach is the little island of Elafonissi. Although the distance from the coast to the island is about 100 meters, to get there on foot is very simple, because the water forms a shallow lagoon with a depth of only one meter, between the beach and the sea.
Of the most beautiful and famous beaches of Chania, the beach of Falasarna has been awarded in the past as the most beautiful beach of Crete and is included in the 10 best beaches in Europe. The beach has fine white sand with sheens of pink and gold and blue crystal waters. The beach is fully organized .On the beach there is the possibility for those wishing to do water sports, especially windsurfing, because of the wind often has large waves.
Chrissi Akti Beach
The beach of Chrissi Akti is located in the area of Nea Kydonia.f It has been awarded Blue Flag and its name results from the golden sand of the beach. It constitutes an attraction for thousands of visitors every year, who visit this beach in order to swim in the crystal clear water that is not influenced by meltemi wind.