Located on Crete’s northern coast and framed by a backdrop of looming mountains, the history port city of Chania is one of the island’s most picturesque destinations. Chania’s Old Town is its greatest draw, with its labyrinth of cobblestone lanes, scenic seafront promenade, and beautifully preserved Venetian, Turkish, and Jewish quarters.
The best way to explore Chania Old Town is on foot; take a guided walking tour to admire the historic architecture and immerse yourself in local life. For a more personalized experience, opt for a small-group or private tour. Or, combine a sightseeing excursion with a food and wine tasting tour, and sample Mediterranean specialties such as mezedes (appetizers) and raki (a traditional drink).
Things to Know Before You Go
- Wear comfortable walking shoes to navigate the cobblestone streets.
- Free Wi-Fi hotspots are available in the Old Town district.
- Chania is wheelchair accessible, but it’s best to plan your route in advance as the cobblestone lanes can be a challenge for wheelchair users.
How to Get There
Chania is located on Crete’s northern coast, just west of Heraklion. A ferry runs daily between Chania and the Piraeus port in Athens. You can also travel by plane and arrive at Chania International Airport, located nine miles from the city center.
When to Get There
Summer is the most popular time to visit, and the city can get crowded during this time. Visiting during low season means fewer crowds and the possibility of cheaper prices, but many attractions and restaurants close during the winter months.
What to See in Chania Old Town
Bars and restaurants line the waterfront alongside attractions such as the bubble-shaped Mosque of Hassan Pasha and the Venetian Great Arsenal with its brightly painted replica Minoan boat, built for the Athens Olympics in 2004. The district is surrounded by remnants of old Venetian fortifications, and a maze of narrow streets stretch inland from the Venetian harbour, filled with handicraft shops, cafés, and historic holy sites such as the striking Etz Hayyim Synagogue. Nearby, 1821 Square (Platia 1821) is the main hub of Chania Old Town, home to the Greek Orthodox chapel of St Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos), as well as a number of bars and restaurants that spring to life in the evening hours.