Chania Greece depicts the mixture of different civilizations and cultures that flourished in this city over the ages. This city consists of an old town, where you can find centuries old structures and cultures, and a new town that represents modernities. Since my family made a visit to this second largest city in Crete (in Greece), we now considered Chania Greece as one of our favourite destinations in the Mediterranean. Of course, other cities in Greece such as Athens, Santorini, and Heraklion, are also on our prospective lists.
Why visit Chania Greece?
Chania Greece has unique charms that will surely captivate the hearts of its visitors. Below are the reasons why you should consider planning a vacation to Chania.
1. Chania Greece is cheaper than other European countries.
One of the main reasons why my family likes to go to the Southern part of Europe, such as in Malta, Greece, or Spain, is because these places are cheaper holiday destinations compared to other European countries. From Eindhoven airport, we only spent €80 per person per roundtrip flight via the budget airline Ryan Air. The hotels in Chania Greece are also affordable. Since we travel as a family (with a kid), we booked a junior suite room in the 500 years old Doge hotel and paid only €50 per night. Staying in this hotel is definitely a good deal since the space and the bed are huge and the deal includes a typical Greek breakfast for two. Of course, it is possible to save more if you are planning a trip to Chania by renting an apartment or room, which can cost for example €100-150 for the whole week. This will even allow tourists to save more by cooking their own food during their stay.
2. Chania Greece is very rich in culture and history.
Chania is a settlement of civilizations from various eras, such as the Minoans, Byzantine, Arabs, Venetians, and Turkish Ottomans. Therefore you will find their influences in the architectures and ways of living of the locals in the city.
3. Most people in Chania Greece are warm and child friendly.
In our experience, the staff in our hotel and in the restaurants and shops that we mostly visited are warm and kind. Specifically, the restaurants’ staffs are very considerate to the kids, for instance, they offer some foods for my son to taste for free and even entertain him. We were also able to bargain in some shops, such as when we bought our Greek shirts souvenirs and our Byzantine chess made of olive trees. Of course, tourists should also be warned of locals who lure people in their restaurants and then rip off tourists by charging higher prices with less superb quality food. We experienced this on our last night of stay when we dined in a restaurant in the back alley near Agios Nikolaus church. We paid five times more expensive in this restaurant as compared to those restaurants that we dined in located at the touristic areas.
4. The historical landmarks of Chania Greece are quite easy to travel by foot.
The tourist spots in Chania Greece are easy to reach by foot, especially if the hotel is located in the old town. Therefore, a day of walking around allows you to visit a large part of the city.
5. There are lots of tavernas (restaurants) boasting Greek delicacies.
Yes, the traditional Greek foods, such as gyros, Greek salad (Horiatiki), dolmades, pita, souvlaki, and so on, are the prides of Chania (and Greece in general). There are many tavernas (small Greek restaurants) in the town that offer these kinds of foods and drinks at reasonable prices. Sometimes, these restaurants also offer a shot of Raki (Greek rose wine) for free, or you can buy them in bottle at an affordable price.
6. There are lots of traditional Greek souvenirs.
During our tour, we found many interesting traditional Greek souvenirs ranging from health products, such as those made from olive oils and wood of olive trees, and traditional Greek artifacts, such as the Byzantine chess and Greek ceramics. These are locally made by hand and are sold at an affordable price for tourists.
Top spots to visit in Chania Greece
Whichever side of the harbour you go, you will find amazing views of various historical places in Chania. Here are some of the top in the lists that you can visit:
1. The Venetian lighthouse in Chania old port
This Venetian lighthouse is made by the Venetians in late 16th century and was rebuilt by the Egyptians in the 19th century. The walk going to the lighthouse is one of the best spots to capture the panoramic view of the old city of Chania and the Mediterranean Sea. So if you like photography, don’t miss this spot! In our case, we found it a pity that we only had smart phones to take photos and videos on our way to the lighthouse, but we were also less troubled since we could carry our son lightly.
2. Firka Fortress
The Firka fortress is built by the Venetians in 1629 to protect the old city’s harbour from the invaders. The fortress was used as a “barracks” by the Turkish during the Ottoman era and as prison for the Cretans. The view from the Firka fortress also offers another interesting perspective of the Venetian harbour.
3. Old Venetian Harbour
The harbour was built by the Venetians between 1320 and 1356 during their colonization period in Crete. The harbour serves as a commercial area and as a protection against pirates.
4. Cretan folklore museum
The Cretan folklore museum exhibits the way of life that includes the local tradition and rural life of Cretans during the 18th and 19th century. The entrance to the museum is only €2 thus it is worth to experience how the Cretans lived in the past by adding this museum in your list of places to visit in Chania.
5. Maritime Museum
This museum is a two floor building that features the different navy and warships, nautical instruments, and battles in Crete during the different eras. This museum is positioned in the entrance of Firka fortress, which is located on the West side of Chania harbour.
6. The Byzantine wall of Chania
Also known as the “Acropolis of Kydonia”, the Byzantine wall of Chania was believed to be built in the 7th century A.D. and was destroyed by earthquakes several times. The Venetians later on repaired the wall, and only a part of the wall remains standing nowadays.