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Chania, Crete

Tour description

The second-largest city in Crete and capital of the Homonym Prefecture, Chania is located in Minoan Kidonia at the end of the Homonym Gulf between the Akrotiri and Onicha peninsulas. Chania City is divided into two parts; the Old Town, which is comprised of several connected districts built around the old Venetian Harbour, and New Town, a larger, more modern city whose centre is situated next to, and south of, the Old Town. The Old Town is home to Venetian buildings and Turkish elements that combine to create a unique architectural style, and is considered to be the most beautiful urban district on Crete. It was once surrounded by old Venetian fortifications that separated it from the New Town; however, only the eastern and western parts remain today.

In ancient times, Chania was thought to have been inhabited since the Neolithic Era, and the first major wave of settlers from mainland Greece came here around 1100 B.C. Over the ensuing centuries, an embattled Chania fell under Byzantine, Arab, Venetian and Ottoman rule until retaken by Greeks in the 19th century. Chania subsequently became the capital of Crete in 1898, and Crete was united with Greece in 1913. During World War II, Chania sustained heavy damage and casualties during its invasion and occupation by German forces. The city was slowly-but-surely rebuilt after the war, and again prospered when Crete became a major tourist destination for Greek and international tourists in the 1970s. Further revitalization and advancements since the 1990s transformed Chania into one of the most famous tourist resorts in the Mediterranean.

A wealth of wonderful historic treasures can be found in various picturesque locales throughout the city's Old Town. Inside the remnants of its Venetian walls, Chania's historic and architectural influences include a maze of traditional streets, beautiful Venetian mansions, lovely fountains, elaborate churches, centuries-old fortifications, and historical monuments to explore. Popular destinations in the Old Town include the Kasteli District, Splantzia Quarter, Eleftherios Venizelos Square, Jewish Quarter, and hotels, shops, restaurants and bars of the lively Topanas District. Perhaps the most distinctive area of the Old Town is the Venetian Harbour and seafront, or 'akti'. Akti Tompazi, Akti Kountouriotou and Akti Enoseos all feature historical buildings and a thriving nightlife.

Halideon Street links the Old Town with the New Town, or 'Nea Hora', where most locals live and work. Although less traditional than the Old Town, the lovely, historic New Town features the Halepa District, Eleftherios Venizelos' House, Old French School, Church of Agia Magdalini, House of Prince George, Church of Evangelistria, Halepa, Tabakaria, and the Koum Kapi District, an emerging area with many trendy cafes, bars and restaurants on its picturesque beach.

The New Town is also home to several residential areas developed during the 20th century, including Agios Ioannis, Koumbes, Lentariana and more. Parts of the city centre are adorned with splendid Neo-Classical houses, delightful parks, Venizeleio Stadium, the Swimming Pool at Nea Hora, Public Gardens, Garden Clock-Tower, Episcopal Residence, House of Manousos Koundouros, and Cultural Centre. The largest central squares in Chania are the Market Square, Court House Square and 1866 Square. Over the last few decades, residents have gravitated towards the suburbs and Akrotiri Peninsula.

Chania's exquisite harbour and coast are ideally-suited for sightseeing, nature hikes and mountain-climbing, along with water sports that include swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, sailing, boating, sea-kayaking, water polo, and a wide array of other popular outdoor excursions during your visit. Numerous idyllic beaches with soft sand or coloured pebbles and crystal-clear water can be found in Chania. In fact, many Chania beaches, including Iguana, Balos, Falassarna and Elafonissi, are among the finest on the island of Crete. In addition to Chania's beaches, there are plenty of intimate secluded coves and lovely bays.

Due to its compact size, Skiathos can be easily explored in just a single day.

Going Ashore in Chania

Pier Information

The ship is scheduled to dock at the Souda Bay Pier. Souda Town can be reached via a five-minute walk on-foot, and Chania City can be reached via a 10-minute drive. If needed, taxis are available on the pier. Please make sure to establish a price before starting any journey.


Shopping opportunities in Chania City include clothing, shoes, books, beauty items, accessories, toys, leather goods, copper, bronze, terracotta, and more. Shops selling local products such as excellent Cretan honey, renowned Cretan wines and tasty local cheeses can also be found throughout the prefecture. The local currency is the Euro.


Greek cuisine makes significant use of olive oil, garlic, herbs, fruits, vegetables. Lamb, fish and seafood are mainstays in Greek cuisine, as are moussaka, Greek wine and baklava for dessert. Chania offers an exquisite selection of sumptuous Greek and Mediterranean cuisine. Popular dining locales in-and-around Chania include the Seramis Tavern, Kariatis, Glossitses, Tavern Strata, Corrina Star, Piatto, Christianna Gefsis, Delizia Gelato Italiano, To Stachi, To Sardelaki, Chrisostomos, Akrogiali Taverna, and Palazzo Almare.  

Other Sights

City Centre

Chania's city centre is easily accessible via a 10-minute drive. Its picturesque Venetian Harbour and seafront are filled with graceful yachts and fishing boats, and its narrow lanes and sunlit waterfront are highlighted by charming cafes, tavernas, shops and boutiques.

Venetian Harbour

Perhaps Chania's most popular and renowned destination, the picturesque Venetian Harbour is ideal for taking a relaxing stroll, exploring historic buildings and landmarks, viewing a beautiful sunset, dining at intimate cafés, tavernas and restaurants, and browsing the narrow alleys and charming shops.

Botanical Park of Crete

In addition to its scenic and diverse collection of fruit trees, herbs, medicinal and ornamental plants, animals, and bird species, the expansive Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete exudes a spiritual tranquility unlike any other park of its kind in the region.


Chania is home to a wide array of wonderful museums that offer a unique insight into the island's storied past, especially during visits to the Maritime Museum of Crete, Chania Archaeological Museum, Nautical Museum of Crete, Museum of Typography, and Folklore Museum of Chania.

Topolia Gorge

This incredibly scenic gorge offers splendid panoramic views of the surrounding mountains, streams, flora and fauna. Sights in-and-around the gorge include the Tunnel, Sofia Cave and a church carved into the rocks.

Omen Art Gallery-Art Shop

This gallery is a must-see for anyone interested in Greek art and culture, and an opportunity to explore beautiful works by local artists.

Municipal Art Gallery of Chania

Located near the city centre a just a short stroll from the Venetian Harbour, the unique Municipal Art Gallery of Chania houses extensive, high-quality exhibits and collections, and hosts an annual collection of major contemporary works from major institutions and private sources.

Ancient Aptera

One of the area's most impressive archaeological sites, Ancient Aptera offers a unique look into the history of Chania. Discover its ancient settlement, castle, water cisterns and amphitheatre ruins, and take in spectacular panoramic views over the bay, mountains and sea.


Chania is famous for its wonderful, golden-sand beaches and crystal-clear blue water, and home to some of the most renowned beaches in Greece. Many are well-organized and offer sunbeds, umbrellas, water sports, restaurants, taverns, coffee bars, and other high quality services. A number of Chania's beaches have also been awarded the Blue Flag, including Agii Apostoli, Chrissi Akti, Agia Marina, Kalamaki, Nea Chora, Marathi, Stavros, Agios Onoufrios, and Kalathas.

Outdoor Activities

Chania's abundant flora, fauna, undulating inland hills and mountains combine to create a splendid array of outdoor activities, including nature-watching, hiking, off-road exploring, and mountain-biking and climbing.  

Chania's idyllic coast, sandy beaches and teeming coastal waters along the Aegean Sea are ideally-suited for virtually all water sports, including fishing, sailing, boating, sea-kayaking, swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, water polo, and more. An abundance of sailing and boating venues include the Anendyk Ferries, which traverse the coast and offer breath-taking panoramic views of the exquisite inlets, coves, beaches, mountains, small villages, and more.

Private arrangements for independent sightseeing may be requested through the Shore Concierge Office on board the ship.

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Chania, Crete