The Captivating Old Town of Chania, Crete

The resplendent old port town of Chania can be found at the northwest coast of the Crete Island in Greece. This area is presently the smaller section of the more expanded Chania City. The old town’s architecture is quite a standout due to the several design influences that range from modern to old Venetian and Turkish. Aside from being close to some of the most attractive beaches in the region, Chania old town is home to museums, archaeological sites, and gorges.
Chania, Crete
Exploring the Old Port and its Surroundings

One very symbolic landmark of Chania is the old Venetian Harbor. When you stroll along this historic harbor, you will be easily enchanted by its old and very interesting buildings, local crafts shops and charming cafes. You should also not overlook the Frikass Fortress and St. Nicholas bastion, which once defended this landmark from invaders.

However, the highlight of your walking tour is the lighthouse, which stands proudly at the harbour entrance. This beautiful structure was built by the Venetians and restored by the Egyptians during the 19th century. It never fails to fascinate travelers and frequently serves as a backdrop for postcards and photos.

In some parts of the old town, excavations are still under way. Some excavation sites include the Minoan Kydonia and a Minoan house at the corner of Lithinon. Another interesting place for you to explore is the Kastelli Hill, which is the oldest portion of Chianti. By going up to the hills of Chania, you will get the most picturesque views of the town, the harbor and the sea. An excursion to its mountain villages gives you the opportunity to see the inner land area of Crete.

Enjoying the Beaches

If you love beaches, then Chania is an ideal holiday destination. There are more than 30 soft-sand, clear-water beaches, bays and coves scattered around its prefecture. The old town even has its own beach that is equipped with deck chairs and umbrellas, and is just a couple of minutes walk from the harbor. Other popular beaches closer to town are Platanias, Agioi Apostoloi and Agia Marina.

Visiting the Museums

The two most fascinating museums that you must visit while in Chania are the Naval Museum and the Chania Archaeological Museum. The Naval Museum provides a great introduction to the maritime history of Crete. The Archaeological Museum is actually inside the Aghios Franghiskosí Venetian church. In the museum, you will learn more about the history of the Chania region starting from the Neolithic times, the Bronze Age until the reign of the Roman Empire. Such long history is mainly presented through the exhibitions of relics excavated from all over the region.

Going to the Market

If you are done exploring the harbor and beaches, you can take the time to go shopping at the old town’s biggest market building called Mercato Agora di Chania. You will not miss this market as it located right at the old town center. You can buy all kinds of seafood, meat, fresh produce and cooked food from the market’s little tavernas and shops. This is also the perfect place to observe the everyday life and culture of the local people. Just a few minutes from Mercato Agora is the Public Gardens. Here you can sit, relax and enjoy the flowers.

About Author:

Arie Boris has extensive travel industry experience, including business and sales development for commercial aviation, the International emergency assistance & travel insurance industry and a national association of travel agents. He was a contributing editor to several print and Internet travel publications, including Fieldings’ Worldwide Cruise Guide and was part of the start up team for CruiseCritic. He has written over 400 cruise ship reviews. Arie also produces and hosts Cruise Gourmet Voyages, a variety of fundraising & theme group cruises for various charitable and arts organizations. He has produced theme cruises for a variety of special interest groups including opera, comedy, spiritual retreats and fan clubs for TV shows like Dark Shadows and Dancing with the Stars!