Whenever you choose to visit Chania, winter or summer, the whole region will definitely enchant you. The options are endless, the rich natural landscape insurmountable, there are countless monuments of culture, and especially during summer, the beaches of Chania will turn you into one of the fans of the region.
Arm yourself with strength, as however many days you choose to spend in Chania, it is certain they will not be enough for you to know every inch of this blessed by Nature region – and believe us, every corner of Chania deserves your attention and admiration!
If you decide to spend seven days of your vacation in Chania, we offer you some indicative options that will let you explore in the best possible way the beauty of the region as well as relax and enjoy new experiences.
An experience in itself is of course the city of Chania, with dozens of monuments, museums and attractions. In order to visit them all, you will have to have time and good organization, but you should definitely take as many walks as you can through the narrow alleys of the Old City.
Shops, taverns and restaurants, but also important monuments are located in the alleys, one beside the other, blending the past and the present, creating a unique blend. It is absolutely certain that if you look hard enough, you will be able to discover what suits you best. The options are many and very different – leaving everyone satisfied.
During you tour of Chania, you should not miss seeing:
- The Municipal Market, where you will find all the products of the rich land of Crete
- The Municipal Park, a green oasis with the large and impressive clock – a trademark of Chania
- The Venetian Harbour, with its beauty, the Firka fortress with the Naval Museum, Santrivani, the Yali Mosque, the Venetian shipyards, the Great Arsenal and of course the Lighthouse, which marks perhaps the most recognizable city landscape
- Splantzia, the old Turkish quarter, now called ‘Square 1821’, where you will see the imposing Agios Nicholas church, the only church today in Greece, which has both a bell tower and a minaret, the Venetian church of Agios Roccos, Agia Ekaterini, the huge plane tree in the center of Splantzia and the Turkish underground fountain
- The Cathedral of Chania and the Monastery of St. Francis of the Franciscans, which now houses the Archaeological Museum of Chania
Starting from Chania, we have seven alternative routes and directions so as to get the best possible experience of one of the richest in sights regions.
Our first destination is the beach in Falasarna, one of the largest in the region. It is about 59 km from the city of Chania to the west and to get there you will need to have transportation. We cross the northern coastline of Chania, passing through nature and small villages, and shortly before Kissamos, we turn left. There are signs everywhere so it is hard to get lost.
A verdant landscape, thick, golden sand and blue sea as far as the eye can see. Most of the shore is organized with umbrellas and sunbeds, but there is ample, free space, for those who want to be secluded one of the most popular beaches of Crete.
It is worth staying on the beach till sunset, to enjoy one of the most beautiful sunsets in Greece, where the sun dips into the sea right in front on the horizon…
Upon returning, we pass by the traditional villages of Chania, where we have dozens of choices for food. Especially if we want to try the Cretan cuisine with its special treats, we just have to choose the tavern of whichever village we stop in – it is more than certain that we will not be disappointed!
Our second choice is going east, to one of the most unique natural beauties of Chania. Lake Kournas in Apokoronas is the most … “alternative” beach you can choose during your holidays in Chania. Located about 45 km from the city, near the homonymous village, it is the only natural lake of fresh water on Crete.
As the summer waters recede slightly, several small beaches are formed on its banks … facilitating swimming. There are umbrellas and sun beds available, cafes, as well as the possibility to rent marine bicycles to take a leisurely trip in the verdant lake and admire the unique landscape.
Between the village and Lake Kournas there is a very beautiful cave, Kournas Cave, from where, among other things, you can admire the wonderful view. On the way back, pass from Georgioupolis tourist resort for a walk by the sea, in an exceptionally beautiful landscape, where you can also enjoy very good food.
The tour of Chania continues with one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, Elafonisi. The exotic beauty of the landscape with sand dunes, cedars, white lilies, black rocks, rare species of animals and the birds that live there, the blue waters and the bright white sand, compose a true work of art that is definitely worth seeing.
The beach is about 75 km from Chania and to reach it you will cross through the hinterland of Chania, a wooded area with beautiful villages and monuments.
Pass from Topolia, immediately after the tunnel and admire from above the steep gorge of Topolia and the sound of Tiflos River, flowing peacefully. At the beginning of the narrow part of the gorge and near Topolia is the cave of Agia Sophia with its stalactites and stalagmites and a chapel built at its entrance.
To get there you will have to follow the carved steps that begin at the main road. The central hall of the cave has a height of 20 meters and a diameter of 70, and if you look carefully you will see a mythical Unicorn formed a rock and a stalagmite! The legend says that St. George passed through the cave of Agia Sophia and there is even a mark on the rock from one of the hoofs of the horse.
Shortly before Elafonisi lies the Monastery of Panagia Chrisoskalitissa, a bright white monastery, built high on a large rock of 35 meters with a breathtaking view of the Libyan Sea. According to the religious tradition, one of the 90 steps, which are carved in the rock leading to the top, is made of gold, but this gold step can be seen only by the sinless!
In the same direction, but in the northwestern part of the county this time, is another one of the exotic beaches of Chania, Balos.
This is one of those places that when you see it, the clichéd expression “the greatness of nature” comes to mind. A large rock in the sea defines a sandy lagoon with turquoise waters that will leave you speechless! If you choose to visit Balos by land, prepare to drive for about one hour and a half on a -pretty passable – dirt road and then descending on foot for about fifteen minutes. The climb on the way back is hard, especially after a day of relaxing on the amazing beach, but it is so worth it, so don’t “sacrifice” the beautiful view from the top for the sake of your comfort. There is another way to visit Balos, by one of the boats that depart from Kissamos and make daily trips to the beach and the island of Gramvousa its own lovely beach.
Upon your return, do not hesitate to enjoy the Cretan cuisine in the taverns of the small villages along the road or in Kissamos, that has a beach … with everything you might want!
The visitor of Chania that will not spend one day of vacations to cross the gorge of Samaria has … really missed out! Hikers from all over the world arrive to Chania especially for this experience, which usually begins at the plateau of Omalos in the White Mountains ( Lefka Ori) in Xyloskalo (1,200 m.) and ends in the coastal village of Agia Roumeli in the southern Chania. The Samaria Gorge is the largest in Greece, with a length of 18 km and the descent takes between 4-7 hours depending on the experience and strength of the hikers. In the gorge live the wild goats of Crete, Kri – Kri, as well as many other species which are found nowhere else, such as the Cretan badger (arkalon), the Cretan marten (zourida), the Cretan spiny mouse, the Cretan weasel (kalogianou).
Eagles, golden eagles and vultures comprise the birdlife of the park, along with hundreds of other smaller bird species. More than 450 are the types of the canyon flora, many of which are also unique in the world, so it is forbidden to cut the plants that you find on your way. In the middle of the descent you will find a small Byzantine church, built in 1379 and named Osia Maria – it is the temple that gave the gorge and the village “Samaria” its name. The largest width of the gorge of Samaria reaches 150 meters, while the narrowest point is “Portes” (“doors”) – just before the exit – with a width of 3 meters and a height of 600 meters, where the scenery is breathtaking!
Coming out of the gorge, the unique beach of Agia Roumeli awaits you for a refreshing swim in the Libyan Sea waters.
The village is not connected by road to other areas, so in order to leave you will have to board the ferry and head either to Sfakia or to Sougia and Paleohora, and then drive back to the “base” for your vacation.
The holiday experience in such a rich place like Chania, does not fit into a week. Choose what suits your personality and what you think makes up the ideal holiday – it is more than certain that in Chania you will find what you are looking for.
And, above all, don’t be sad if you miss on anything: it is certain that you will come back to Chania!