Perching on the end of the breakwater, the Venetian Lighthouse is the most striking of all the buildings around Chania’s imperious Venetian Harbour, and was constructed around 1570 when the town was under control of the Republic of Venice. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in the world and its spindly, butter-colored stone tower stretches up 69 feet (21 m) high. Last renovated in 2006, the tower was modified several times in the intervening centuries, gaining the mini-minaret above its light in 1839, when Ottoman Turks occupied Crete.
Although it’s no longer operational and closed to the public, the lighthouse is the landmark building in Chania and has an unusual three-part construction; its base has eight sides and its middle section has 16, while its upper reaches are circular. There’s an enjoyable stroll along the walls of the Venetian Harbour to admire its spectacular architecture and this is a romantic spot to linger when it’s illuminated after dark; better still, enjoy the view over an ouzo in one of Chania’s many harbour-side tavernas.
It’s slightly less than a mile (1.5 km) to walk to the lighthouse around the harbour walls. Chania can be reached by daily ferry from Piraeus in Athens, and by plane via Chania International Airport, which is 9 miles (14 km) from the town center.