The greenest Prefecture and perhaps one of the nicest old cities of Greece. You will fall in love with the city of Chania when you walk along the paved coast harbor, when you watch the mosques, the Venetian lighthouse, the Arsenal and the well preserved houses in narrow streets flowered. Here you will find captivating Venetian hostels and an abundance of restaurants where reigns the majestic Hania kitchen – you’ll enjoy the samples and restaurants of Akrotiri, in conjunction with visits to monasteries in the region. Excellent choice for light holiday hostels and alternative tourism in the province Apokoronou (Vamos, Macheri) and inland (Vlatos, Kolimbari), from where you will go to Samaria Gorge and the stunning beaches of the Libyan Sea in the south.
If you dare to drive to the ball in Gramvousa Peninsula, the northwest of the island, you will see one of the most shocking coastal landscapes of Greece, while those who stay in Paleochora you will experience more new age situations, making daily beach hopping at Loutro, St Roumeli, Sougia, Fragokastelo and Gavdos. A walk up to Sfakia and villages around the plateau Askifou will compensate those seeking the traditional island.
Beaches are among the list of the best in the country. Unspoilt countryside with traditional villages that nestle in the White Mountains Psiloritis and Dikte. On (and off) road routes through canyons, plateaus and archaeological sites of inestimable importance. Enviable hospitality of the sui generis residents. Rich sea bed that attracts the world’s callous divers. Traditional cuisine from the best in the world.
It is known that the north of Crete is the most developed tourist part of the island. On the north coast there are the capitals of the four prefectures, the nearby tourist resorts of the big hotels on the sea, the beach bar, the intense night life, the most sophisticated restaurants and richest markets on the island. Large proportion of the visitors that stay here and schedule trips to the mainland for the exploration of the authentic Cretan life. But there are the unabashed alternative visitors, who go directly on the south, chasing the top luxury: the immense Libyan Sea.
The lifestyle of the city
If you walk the old town of Chania for just an hour, you will feel as if the time has stopped. At the old tourkomachala Splantzia, you will see the ruins and the restored three storey stone buildings. At the Christian district of Topana, you will see the tine narrow streets and flowered balconies almost touching each other. This is the district where you will find the most sophisticated jewelry at windows made by Greek designers. In Ovraiki district, with its magnificent mansions and well cared for yards, you will easily lose yourself and the smells of the tavern and galleys will tickle your nose.
All roads of the old city come to the Old Port. On the waterfront everyone will pass, especially in the afternoon when visitors of the city slowly pop out of the hotels which are restored Venetian buildings and sit to taste for fresh fish overlooking the Venetian lighthouse (made the 16th century), or in the streets, where the restored stand, but without a roof, Venetian mansions have been converted into lovely courtyards and offer the Cretan cuisine. The pathway of Bishop Dorotheos, behind the Cathedral, is prefered by those who want to relax with coffee and newspaper, away from crowds. Tourists walk on the dock and admire the mosque of Hassan Pasha Küçük (Tombazis coast) and the Grand Arsenal, the largest of the dockyards of the harbor that is restored and which hosts the Center for Mediterranean Architecture. It is clear however that in Chania, you will not see low budget tourists. Romantic couples, young and sophisticated is the Northern-most frequent visitors. Others stare for hours to the Archeological Museum (at Halidon), which is housed in the magnificent building of the former church of the Franciscan monks, others come and go in the Navy Museum on the western edge of the port, others to take the catamaran ride to the island Lazareta opposite, others passionate about the leather loaded by windows in the alleys reminiscent of Monastiraki and said Stivanadika.
The first drink of the night is usually taken at the bar street of the district Kum-Kapi, where the bars are endless. Those however looking for more intense night life would go in Platanias, the seaside suburb of Chania.
The best beaches
The nearby beaches of Chania have the advantage of being organized, even if ithey are not impressive. At Holy Apostles and St. Marina you can find the best beach bars.
As you go towards the west, you will approach some of the most beautiful beaches of Crete. Among them Falasarna, which has endless golden sands and crystal waters, is the all time favorite of friends and couples.
Balos, at the Gravias’ Peninsula, is reached after driving a 15 km difficult dirt road, but will compensate with blue-green water lost to tide, leaving the sand-powder to come to the surface and offering excellent views of the perfectly round Cape opposite.
Elafonisi is a paradise beach with fine gray sand, turquoise waters and in front of an entire island dunes and low vegetation. If you drive just a mile towards east awaits the spectacular beach with a native forest of cedar trees.
The comfortable beaches of Palaiochora, Lisos with the ancient city near the sand, Sougia who seduces many people, Loutro that makes you feel as if you are in the Cyclades, the dreamy beach St. Paul, Sfakia with the turquoise waters of the bay and of course Frangokastelo with the imposing castle on the sand. Furthermore, from Paleochora or Sfakia you can take the boat to the magical Gavdos island, the southernmost place of Europe.
Tours and walks
Visit every village of Vamos (Vamos Gavalohori Fountains, stabbing, Dyes) and the impressive Kourna’s Lake.
The beautiful gorge of Therisso takes you to the nearest mountain village to Chania, the historical Therisso. Enjoy the authentic Cretan cuisine in restaurants and uphill at Zourva village and taste the perfect dessert: Sfakia pies.
Samaria Gorge is one of the largest coastal gorges of the Balkans and you will enjoy walking across it.