“A warm summer breeze sweeps up as I wander on the fortified sea walls of the Old Harbor in Chania. I am heading towards the Venetian lighthouse at the end of the wall, which was built in the 16th-century. As I am planning to just sit there for a while, I will spend my time gazing over the Aegean sea. Breath life in, come to rest and relax on this heavenly holiday.”
This article will guide you through some of the best things to visit in the city of Chania in the North-West of Crete. You’ll be able to find out where to have the best historical walks, the finest Greek food and when to visit the city.
Chania: food & history lovers
Being an exemplary city to visit on Crete, Chania shows its best side in its old harbor, famous for its 16th-century Venetian lighthouse and many seaside tavernas. This particular quarter of Chania is modestly packed with architectural remnants of long-lost mighty empires like the Venetians, Egyptians, and Ottomans. The right touch of sunlight here in the summer is sublime. Perfect for a long walk along the coastline during the daytime. If you prefer a walk in the evening, you’ll have an even more romantic experience at sundown as the harbor in Chania gets beautifully colored by the sunlight. Later in the evening, the harbor will be tinted differently by yellow street lights and a wonderful reflection of the moon on the calm seaside water.
Get filled up with joy as you restfully walk around here after a good Greek dinner in the evening. You’ll have plenty of choices to choose from here when it comes to tavernas that serve amazing Greek specialties. The food won’t disappoint you. The many small streets in Chania are sprouted with a delightful amount of tavernas. And because the old center of Chania isn’t that big, you’ll never have to walk long distances to reach the harbor after your meal. Tip: there will also be plenty of opportunities for a good glass of local wine or an energizing cup of coffee during your walks in the tiny streets of Chania!
When to visit Chania?
Chania sees a lot of visitors in the summer months. So, be ready for a bit of crowd in the old harbor area. The rest of the small streets in town are much calmer in the summer though. In the winter, the city shows a different side of itself. During this calmer part of the year, the university and local life in Chania sprouts and almost no tourists are there to be spotted. The charm of Chania remains present during the whole year as every season shows a different side of the city. For an optimal experience: best is to visit Chania right before or right after the high peak season in July and August. The spring months of April, May, and June are much calmer. Same thing for September and October.
Excavations are very common here
It’s quite impressive to see an ancient Greek excavation right next to the streets in Chania. Whenever a new building gets constructed, first the older building has to get removed first. When this happens in Chania, the chances are quite realistic that the construction workers find something underneath of the ground when they start digging for new foundations. This is the case because historical sources have determined that Chania is located right on top of the ancient Minoan city of Cydonia. Cydonia must have been quite something. Some sources even declare that the Ancient Greek empire has its roots right in this old city.
Ready for even more history?
Travelers that appreciate a good museum will be fond of the Nautical Museum in Chania, which showcases model ships, naval objects and old photographs. The former monastery of St. Francis houses the Archaeological Museum of Chania, you’ll be able to explore Ancient Greek artifacts there that were revealed by some of the many excavations in Chania and surroundings.
Where to eat in Chania?
Looking for a cozy place surrounded by trees? Barraki is a good choice then. The food and drinks here are amazing and music in the evening here is atmospherical.
Located on an open-air square, Prassein Aloga feels a bit unique restaurant is decorated with very fine details. The food here is great, especially the Cretan specialties.
For excellent salads, grilled meat and homemade pannacotta, try Mesogiako.