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A waterfront Venetian gem

Chania is up there with Greece’s most beautiful resorts, which is no mean feat. Its Venetian harbour is fronted by candy-coloured buildings, a faded fortress and a disused Ottoman mosque, which look out over the water’s bobbing fish boats. Move away from the seafront and there are cobbled alleyways to explore, with Medieval churches and ancient Turkish hammams tucked around every corner. Despite its time-warp aesthetics, Chania also deals in modern times. You’ll find elegant cocktail bars and restaurants by the harbour, and swish clubs in the backstreets.

Holidays to Chania are a mixed bag. Some come for the beaches, many of which have Blue Flag status and pair vanilla sands with calm, clear waters. Others seek ancient history, of which you’ll find lots of – courtesy of the city’s museums and rich architecture. Chania’s outskirts, meanwhile, lure outdoor enthusiasts, ready to tackle the hiking trails of its surrounding forests and mountains. 
 

YOUR CHANIA QUESTIONS, ANSWERED

Chania is on Crete’s north coast, sandwiched between Agia Marina and Souda.
Known as Agora, Chania’s covered market dates back to 1909. Among the wares you’ll find some of the island’s best street food.
The hot dry summers and mild winters of the typical Mediterranean climate mean Chania is a good destination at any time of the year. July and August are the hottest and busiest months. However, if you come from April to June, you'll still have warm weather. And you'll have the bonus of fields of wildflowers all over the island. You’ll be able to swim in warm sea until the end of October. Come to Chania in the winter and early spring months, and you’ll see snow on the mountains.
Couples love the romantic old town, families adore the beaches, and solos find plenty to do, whether it’s exploring or relaxing.
There are more beaches near Chania than you could visit in a month of beach-hopping. Whether you want remote and peaceful or lively and loud, you’ll find it here. Expect soft sand at many of them, and deep blue sea whichever beach you choose. In addition to those already mentioned, check out Agioi Apostoloi with its protected coves and pretty chapel on a peninsula. Agia Marina Beach is a water sports centre just a few kilometres from Chania. Add to that the ready supply of bars and restaurants and it makes for a fun day out.
This is a great place for shopping. If you’re looking for international brands, then head inland to the shops around the square. For souvenirs and local handicrafts dive into the maze of Chania’s old town. Most of this is pedestrianised, making for an easy shopping experience. Leather Street sells exactly what you’d expect, but head down the little alleys to find such popular products as Cretan knives and wood carvings. The local farms and monasteries produce some fine honey. There’s also a covered market with wonderful street food.
Absolutely. Many of the hotels have been designed with families in mind and offer kids’ clubs and regular entertainment. It’s a very walkable city, too, and there’s a beach only ten minutes from the old harbour. There are glass-bottomed boat trips, a reconstructed Minoan boat and a lighthouse to explore. A drive will take you to a water park or the botanical gardens.
Whatever your budget, you’ll find a place to stay in Chania. Stay in the old town if you want to be close to the history and bustle of the streets, or head to the western side to be nearer to the city’s beaches. Couples love the romantic atmosphere of the older quarters, and families will find the larger, child-oriented hotels right by the beach.
You’ll find everything from romantic nights out to raves here; the nightlife really does have something for everyone. Stroll around the harbour to find cocktail bars with beautiful views. Wander around the heart of the old town for cafes and a wide range of bars. Many play rock or jazz music and, in this part of town, they’ll close shortly after midnight. If you’re looking to keep the party going, hop in a taxi and be whisked away to Agia Marina. Just 20 minutes west of Chania, this has some of the hottest clubs on the island.

BEST THINGS TO DO IN CHANIA

Enjoy a night out

Chania’s harbourfront is the place to enjoy rooftop cocktails overlooking the water. Afterwards, made for the side streets for all-night dancing.

Hire a car

It’s worth exploring the island under your own steam. Crete’s countryside is wonderfully sleepy, and hides age-old villages and deserted beaches.

Explore the museums

History buffs will find lots to do in Chania. Journey back in time at the Naval Museum or the Archaeological Museum.