Chania is probably the most touristy place on Crete, but don't get discouraged. You must go and see Chania.
1. You have to see the old Cross Market (Municipal Market of Chania)
2. You have to see Chanias harbour and various museums on the eastern end of it.
3. You have to have nice coffee in one of the touristy harbour cafes.
4. You have to let yourself get lost in Chanias narrow streets.
5. If you are still in CHania after sunset you have to go far East fallowing the coast to what I call "NEW CHANIA" it is place where all young Greek go to hang out at night. It is a SOHO of Chania, it is a place to show your designed clothes and your expensive shoes. It is a place to drink, smoke, and mingle.
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The old town at Chania is lovely - the best bit of the city for me. It's a maze of narrow streets full of pretty painted buildings in lovely pastel colours. Almost every building, whether it is a shop, a cafe, a gallery or whatever seems to have rooms to rent. Their shutters and windows are flung open so you can peek inside to see the rooms. They mostly looked lovely. If you go here in the early season (before middle of May) you should easily find a good room at a good price.
Looking down one of the streets of the old town, this street led down to the seafront and was lined with shops, cafes and galleries, and as I said before, almost all with rooms to rent. It's nice just to wander around these streets and get a little lost. Even those with just houses and no shops etc. are lovely to look at too, and in this early part of the season it was so tranquil. I imagine it is a lot more busy and bustling later in the year.
Hania may be Crete's second biggest city, but it is by far the best. You will see it spelled Chania, Hania, and Xania, so don't be confused, they are talking about the same place. This city was the capital of Crete until 1971, when that designation was moved to Iraklion.
Chania can really be seperated into two individual towns: the old port with its mediaeval quarters and surrounding wall, and the new suburbs spreading around the old port. The old town, with its
magnificent harbour, displays its Venetian and Turkish influences in its architecture. On a leisurely stroll through the winding streets, you are bound to notice the differences that each period brought. Along the harbor front you will find every type of food, including the local seafood, which should be your first choice. There are numerous bars, cafes and shops in this area, as well. There is a market just 20 meters from the waterfront. With all of these great attributes, Hania has a certain charm to it that the other cities in Crete, and in the rest of Greece, simply do not have.
There's a Venetian Harbour here similar to that at Rethymnon (in fact the two cities are similar in a few ways). It is lined with nice cafes and tavernas fronted by pushy waiters who try to drag you in, though they at least do not block your path like in Rethymnon. The tavernas are in pretty painted buildings and hotels rise up behind them. At various points there are sidestreets up into the heart of the old town.
Chania has some old Venetian shipyards - the ships used to be brought in under the arches here to be repaired and maintained, but the arches are now walled up to act like warehouses. It's still very pretty but I liked the (very similar) ones in Iraklion even more.
This is the oldest Turkish building on Crete dating from the same year that the Turks captured Crete from the Venetians (1645). It's very pretty from the outside but we couldn't see into it - apparently it is sometimes used for exhibitions and so on.
On the last day we took a taxi to Hania to do some shopping. We went to the indoor market, which was quite nice. I bought different spices for my daughters there. Then we walked to the suburb called Venice and it was very nice with lots of different restaurants there. We went to the Naval Museum, which was very interesting. There were lots of models of different ships and also lots of different sea shells. I'm interested in everything connected with the sea, so I found this museum a very nice one. If my son hadn't been there with me, I could have spent more time there and admire everything longer. Joni was getting nervous as he had some money left and he wanted to go to the shops. No problem with that. He found everything he wanted and my sister and and her aprtner bought something also. We visited a small zoo, too, and had a picnic lunch there before returning to Kalives. I wasn't very impressed with Hania, which I thought was quite an ugly place and far too busy for me. Back in Kalives we had dinner and afterwards walked in the village and found a small shop that sold handicrafts. We went in and looked at some really nice tableclothes. I ended up buying one and my sister bought two. They are very pretty and of good handmade quality. I have wanted that kind of a tablecloth for a longer time, but haven't found anything that I like before Crete.
The indoor market at Chania is pretty huge. It's in the form of a cross and the four arms of it are crammed with stalls and units selling all manner of foodstuffs. Some of the meat stalls looked pretty disgusting to us veggies - the animals are barely processed in the way they are at home and you are certainly in no doubt abiut what aminal you are buying a part of!
The Cathedral stands in a small square on the street running down from the city wall to the harbour. From the outside it's uninspiring but we know from experience that most Cretian churches have really spectacular insides. I couldn't say for this one though, it was closed at the time we passed.
In almost every city in Crete a mosque can be found. Mosques remind us about Turkish occupation of Crete and about considerable impact Turkey had on Cretean culture and architecture.
Many mosques now serve different non-religious purposes, like this one in Chania, presently musical school.
Hania is the second largest city of Crete and the former capital - it's beautiful, it's charming and, sadly, it's full of people. There are many things to see: first of all the old Venetian houses - most of which have been turned into a restaurant or shop on the ground floor, while the upper floor is left to crumble down. Then there's a pretty old port with boats and an interesting Turkish mosque by the harbour. The ortodox cathedral is quite nice and the archaeological museum superb. All in between there are several colourful newly restored houses. I would not recommend anyone to stay overnight in Hania, but a visit during the day is worthwhile
Make sure that you take a trip on the glass bottom boat. There are several of these in the small harbour and cost from £5-£10 per person. They are great fun and you get to sea plenty of swimming turtles, fish and they even take you to sea a downed Nazi plane that crashed down in the sea during WW2. ANd after that, the boat normally stops for 15 - 30 minutes letting people just to relax, or go for a dive in the crystal clear water.
Chania is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and the second biggest town in Crete, with a population of 60.000 inhabitants.
Chania is one of the nicest towns of Crete with wonderful houses, parks and squares.
The old city has preserved the charm of the Venetian and Turkish periods. Entire Venetian, Turkish and Jewish quarters are saved, with well preserved buildings in the narrow picturesque streets.
Tip under construction!
You can go for a nice cruise from Chania - they all begin at Old Harbour Square and cost from EUR 10 (sunset cruise), thru EUR 15 (5 hour cruise) to EUR 20 (glass bottom boat cruise, nothing interesting, by the way).
It is absolutely for sure that some people with hands full of leaflets will do anything to sell you those trips. Beware - they'll say that they have a special price for you 'because you are my friend'. This of course is not true. Go to Halidon and find Attios Agency, it's not far from Skridlof. There you'll find professional service and lower prices, not to mention the ability of paying with your cards.
The trip itself is worth the money - you'll be able to see wonderful views of Chania and the isles of Theodorou and Glaronisi.