The city of Chania is the second largest in Crete with a population of approximately 60.000. It is also the prettiest town of Crete (although some will argue that Rethymnon deserves that award – it is a close call) and definitely a place that you must visit if you come to the West of Crete.
Chania has been inhabited since neolithic times and the current town is built upon many layers of past civilizations. The Venetians who occupied Crete from the 13th to the 17th century probably left the most visible marks in the old town but you will also note many signs of the more recent Turkish occupation. There are also a number of important Minoan excavations.
Chania is the major town of the Prefecture of Chania which is the very western province of the island of Crete (followed by Rethymno, Heraklio and Lasithi at the very east). Chania’s beauty is mainly attributed to the fact that the city has maintained all of its characteristics from the time of the Venetian rule. From Chania (which by the way is also often spelled Haniá) , you can easily explore the prefecture, as long as you don’t mind spending time in the car, will say ‘yes’ to hopping on a boat, and are adventurous enough to wear your sporty shoes; you will encounter a few of the best beaches in Greece (like Balos Beach and the pink Elafonisi beach), unique scenery from secluded villages and magnificent mountains and gorges.
The modern city extends well beyond the old town but much of what visitors will want to see is located within the Venetian fortification wall in the old town: the Venetian harbour and its many cafés and restaurants, museums, churches, Minoan excavations, narrow alleys with picturesque houses, the famous lighthouse, the covered market and many shops, some of which offer very interesting products.
DREAMING OF A HOLIDAY TO CRETE? HERE’S HOW TO GET TO CHANIA
Chania is connected daily with the port of Piraeus in Athens, the Athens’ International Airport and other major European airports through chartered flights to Crete, either directly to Chania Souda Airport or Heraklion airport. There’s also a decent connection from Crete to Santorini and vice versa.