Chania featuring street scenes

Tour a 14th-century port, discover insights into ancient naval history and relax on beaches at this picturesque city on the Greek island of Crete.

Chania’s scenic location on the northwest shore of Crete, coupled with a fascinating history make it a must-see destination. The island’s second largest city is the site of a former Bronze Age settlement and during its long history has been ruled by the Byzantines, Romans, Venetians, Egyptians, Turks and Arabs.

Some of Chania’s eclectic past can be seen in its 14th-century Venetian Port. It was originally conceived as a commercial harbor and later built into the city’s defensive fortifications to protect against pirates. Stroll along the waterfront to visit historic monuments. Near the harbor entrance is Firkas Fortress, constructed in 1629. Next door is the Nautical Museum of Crete. Step inside and browse nautical instruments and models of ancient ships. Go up to the port’s lighthouse, one of the oldest in the world. The original 16th-century structure was neglected during the Turkish occupation and rebuilt in the early 19th century.

Your waterfront walk will also take you to the Mosque of Kioutsouk Hassan (Giali Tzamisi), a multi-domed mosque. Although, no longer a place of worship, you can visit its rotating art exhibitions. While you are in the port area, stop by a waterfront bar, café or restaurant. After your drink or meal, take one of the narrow lanes to explore the old town, which was built around the port.

Greece is known for its sunny weather, and Chania is no exception. The summer season lasts from April to October and winters are mild. Make the most of the sunshine with a visit to one of the beaches, located within a few miles of the old town. Before you go, stock up on picnic essentials from Agora (the Covered Market), a busy market open Monday to Saturday selling fresh produce.

Reach the city by flying into Chania International Airport, which has daily flights from Athens and Thessaloniki, as well as seasonal flights from other European destinations. There is also a regular ferry service between Athens and Chania. Well-maintained roads and several bus lines connect Chania to many destinations on Crete.

The ancient architecture, old town and beaches make Chania a delightful Cretan escape.