The region of Chania is, in my opinion, one of the most fascinating places in Crete. It’s a perfect place for a summer vacation, featuring amazing beaches, stunning mountains, imposing gorges, and some of the most refined and tasteful gastronomy in Greece. But Chania is also a remarkable place to visit any time of the year. Are you planning to spend a few days, a week or more in Chania? Then use this article to discover over 50 great things to do in Chania Region.
What to do in the region of Chania, Crete
- The most amazing things to do in Chania (region version)
- 1. Wander the alleys of the Old Town
- 2. Buy traditional products in the Municipal Market
- 3. Discover the pink sand beach of Elafonisi
- 4. Hike the gorge of Samaria
- 5. Explore the fishing village of Loutro
- 6. Taste traditional yogurt in Vrysses
- 7. Walk your way to Balos Lagoon
- 8. Visit a castle by the sea
- 9. Have a coffee in the Public Gardens of Chania
- 10. Eat the best bougatsa in town
- 11. Check the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos
- 12. Admire the sunset in Falasarna
- 13. Sip Cretan wines at Manousakis Winery
- 14. Enjoy the Botanical Gardens
- 15. Unveil the secrets of Olive Oil
- 16. Explore the Archaeological Site of Aptera
- 17. Visit the Holy Monastery of Agia Triada
- 18. Swim at Stavros, the beach of Zorbas
- 19. Drive south to Paleochora
- 20. Spend some time in Sougia
- 21. Get lost in Kedrodasos
- 22. Discover a chapel at sea
- 23. Check out the beautiful Lake Kournas
- 24. Cross the bridge of Aradena
- 25. Taste some more wine at Dourakis Winery
- 26. Have a coffee at Agia Lake
- 27. Sunbathe at Saetan Limania
- 28. Learn everything about local honey
- 29. Try the Sfakian pita in Chora Sfakion
- 30. Tour the 7 villages of Apokoronas
- 31. Embark in a Safari
- 32. Discover Askyfou and the War Museum
- 33. Go trekking in Imbros
- 34. Wonder at the spectacular gorge of Topolia
- 35. Explore the solitary Rodopou Peninsula
- 36. Sail all the way to Menies Beach
- 37. Climb your way to the top in Komolithi
- 38. Experience the thrill of Kallikratis Road
- 39. Cook with a local
- 40. Learn about wines with a local sommelier
- 41. Catch a boat to Glyka Nera
- 42. Find the golden step at Chrisoskalithissa
- 43. Check the beauty of Omalos Plateau
- 44. Feel like a pirate on Imeri Gramvousa Island
- 45. Spend a few days in Gavdos
- 46. Have the best souvlaki in town
- 47. Drive through the gorge of Therisso
- 48. Have lunch at one of the best restaurants in the region
- 49. Visit Souda Bay War Cemetery
- 50. Discover the mountain village of Fres
- 51. Check the abandoned suburbs of Tabakaria
- General Information About Chania
Getting there: Check Ferryhopper to book your tickets in advance.
Where to stay: With Booking.com I find the best deals.
Top-rated tours in Crete
Beach: Cruise to Balos and Day Trip to Elafonisi.
Adventure: Samaria Gorge. History: Knossos Palace.
Crete by car? I use Discover Cars to go where my old jalopy won’t take me.
Cash: Transferwise is the best online money transfer service accepted in Greece.
Have with you: A daypack for excursions, the Lonely Planet Guide, or my West Crete digital guide!
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The most amazing things to do in Chania (region version)
Other than being my absolute favorite place in Greece, Chania is also the place where I’ve moved and where I’ve lived for the last five years. Yes, I’m that lucky!
Unlike what most tourists expect when planning a visit to Crete, once here they discover there are dozens of things to do in the Chania region, if not hundreds… and it’s not odd to find travelers coming back year after year to explore more and get to know the place even better.
Getting to know the area a little more every day, has made me fall madly in love with Chania, its landscape, its culture, and its people. In this article, I’ve tried to share some of those unique places that the region has for you to visit and discover, this is my own personal list of the best things to do in the Chania Region.
1. Wander the alleys of the Old Town
When visiting Crete, spend at least half a day exploring the Old Town of Chania, walk along the colorful cobble-stoned alleys and admire the magnificent Turkish and Venetian buildings, the Egyptian Lighthouse, the Jewish neighborhood, and the Mosque of the Janissaries.
The Old Town of Chania is a universe of its own, so if you really want to know everything about it, you just need to check these Things to Do in Chania Old Town for a plethora of ideas and places to see in town.
>>Explore all you can do in Chania Old Town<<
2. Buy traditional products in the Municipal Market
Established on the street that sets the boundaries between Modern Chania and the Old Town, the Agora, or Municipal Market is a fantastic place you must visit when on Crete. Here, you’ll be able to discover the unique gastronomic products that shape the healthy and tasty traits of the Cretan diet.
Slow your pace to check savors and fragrances, taste the local olives, cheeses, pies, spices, herbs, and honey, buy a few local souvenirs, and sip a small glass of tsikoudia, the famous drink produced on the island.
Where to find the Agora: Plateia Agora 69, Chania.
3. Discover the pink sand beach of Elafonisi
The region of Chania, in west Crete, hosts some of the most magnificent beaches on the island. Elafonisi beach is probably the most popular of all.
Located about 70 km from the center of town, it’s a great idea to take a day trip and discover this vast pink sand beach with incredible turquoise waters and which is included in the list of the best beaches of Europe every single year.
Looking for a place to stay?
>>Check the best Airbnbs in Elafonisi here<<
4. Hike the gorge of Samaria
The imposing gorge of Samaria is another place the Chania is known for. In fact, trekking enthusiasts from all over the world flock to the island from May to October with the purpose of hiking once of Europe’s longest canyons.
The hike, which can take from 4 to 7 hours, takes you all the way from the spectacular Omalos Plateau to the crystalline waters of the Libyan sea. You can either discover the gorge on your own or join an organized tour for more fun!
5. Explore the fishing village of Loutro
Also on the southern coast of Crete, this gorgeous fishing village has the typical Cycladic traits of white buildings with blue shutters amphitheatrically facing the tranquil bay of Loutro.
This relaxing corner on the south of Crete can only be reached by boat or after walking along the coastal path. This gives the place a unique laid-back character.
If you’re wondering what to do in Loutro, there’s no much to do other than engaging in a typical holiday mood: Swim, lazily lounge on the beach, sail to the nearby beaches, and splurge in delicious fresh fish dishes.
6. Taste traditional yogurt in Vrysses
The small village of Vrysses is located a few kilometers from Chania, at the beginning of the road that takes you through the mountains to the small town of Chora Sfakion.
When traveling south to visit Imbros, Loutro or the Askyfou plateau, don’t forget to stop in the village for a short, refreshing stop. Walk along the main street to discover the river that crosses through the hamlet. Here in Vrysses, you can sit at a local café to savor a dish of rich and creamy Greek yogurt topped with local thyme honey and toasted nuts.
7. Walk your way to Balos Lagoon
Another spectacular beach once must visit when in Crete is Balos. This shallow lagoon formed at the very end of the Gramvousa peninsula is one of the most photographed places on the island. The white sand beach contrasts with the reddish Cretan mountains and the impressive emerald green of the sea.
To reach Balos you need to drive off road, which is an essential part of the adventure, and then hike for about 20 minutes to discover the breathtaking landscape of the lagoon. If you’re not an adventurous driver, you can simply join a day cruise to discover this magnificent beach.
8. Visit a castle by the sea
Head south to discover one of the nicest beaches on the island. Frangokastello is a very tranquil village on the Libyan coast. The beach here is wide and shallow, something quite unusual on the south. This makes it a great place for families with kids.
But the highlight of Frangokastello is the ancient Venetian fortress that lies meters from the sandy beach. The Venetians built the fortress between 1371 and 1374 to deter pirate attacks and to bring order to the area of Sfakia, whose inhabitants are known for their rebel spirit.
9. Have a coffee in the Public Gardens of Chania
Wandering the modern city of Chania can harbor a few surprises, the Municipal Gardens (locally known as the Kipos) is a great place for an afternoon of relaxation.
Take some time to enjoy a cup of Greek coffee in one of Chania’s oldest and most atmospheric cafeterias, Kipos Café which belongs to the European Historic Cafés Association.
Inside the garden, walk under the shadow of centennial trees, take some time to check the clocktower, a landmark of Chania. Here you also pay a visit to the small zoo or enjoy a movie in the open-air cinema.
Where to find the Public Gardens: 82 Tzanakaki Street, Chania.
10. Eat the best bougatsa in town
Not far from the Municipal Market, in the more modern part of town, there’s a place that has been making a delicious local treat for over a century.
Iordanis is a local pastry shop that makes the most delicious bougatsa in town. The phyllo pastry desert, ideal for breakfast and with a cup of coffee, is filled with a rich cream made of myzithra cheese and which can be topped with sugar or cinnamon.
Taste a portion of bougatsa warm from the oven and let me know what you think about it!
Where to find Iordanis: 24 Apokoronou Street, Chania.
11. Check the Archaeological Museum of Kissamos
Renting a car to explore the different corners of the Chania region gives you the perfect excuse to drive away and get lost any time you want. Set your GPS to reach the small coastal town of Kissamos and devote some time to explore the local archaeological museum.
If you’re interested in discovering more about the complex — and sometimes mysterious — past of the island, here you’ll be able to admire object coming from the ancient settlement of Phalassarna, on the westernmost coast of Chania.
Take a few minutes to go over the extensive coin collection and the magnificent mosaicos exposed in the museum.
12. Admire the sunset in Falasarna
Not far from Kissamos lies one of the nicest beaches of Chania, Falasarna (sometimes spelled Falassarna). Vast like no other, the beach is a great place to practice water sports on windy days.
The sea in Falasarna is crystal blue and the beach wide and sandy. Falasarna, which directly faces the West, is probably the best place on Crete to admire the sunset.
And once the sun has gone down, climb up the mountains and reach one of the best tavernas in Crete for a restoring meal and a magnificent view of the coast.
13. Sip Cretan wines at Manousakis Winery
Crete has reached a somewhat important position in the wine world thanks to the unique grape varieties that grow on the island. There are more than 35 fantastic wineries you can visit all over Crete. The good news is that you don’t need to travel all the way to Heraklion (Crete’s most important wine region) to taste some fantastic wines.
There are a few wineries worth visiting in Chania and Manousakis winery is one of them! It’s located in the beautiful village of Vatolakkos, almost at the foot of the White Mountains. It’s a great idea to visit the winery for dinner or to join a wine tasting tour to learn more about the organic wines they produce.
Tasting tip: My favorite Manousakis Wine is Mrs. a dry red wine with aromas of blackberries, cranberry, and a nutty character. Delicious. Buy a bottle for your wife but carefully read the label first!
14. Enjoy the Botanical Gardens
The Botanical Park and Gardens of Crete are also found in the area, and paying a visit is one of the best things you can do in the Chania Region.
The gardens are a oasis of tranquility and the perfect place to get away from chaotic beaches and overcrowded museums.
Here, discover the local varieties of plants, fruits, and flowers and take a rest in the many gardens or by the lake. After your walk, it’s a great idea to enjoy lunch in their taverna. Most dishes are prepared with the garden’s produce, and the views from their terrace are stunning.
15. Unveil the secrets of Olive Oil
Close to the Gorge of Deliana, and not far from the village of Kolymbari, it’s a great idea to drive all the way to Astrikas to pay a visit to Biolea, an olive oil factory that still mills their olives using traditional methods. You will learn everything about olive oil making and will be able to taste the fragrant extra virgin olive oil produced on the island.
If you want to drive a little more, try and reach the small settlement of Vouves to discover one of the oldest olive trees on the island and to check the Olive Oil Museum too.
16. Explore the Archaeological Site of Aptera
Right opposite the natural bay of Souda, close to the village of Megala Chorafia, follow the signs up the mountain to explore Ancient Aptera, one of the most important archaeological sites in the region of Chania. Aptera remained one of Crete’s most important cities from the V century BC up until early Christian times.
In the site, check the impressive walls and archways that make the roofs of the underground Roman cisterns, a fantastic work of fine engineering.
Once you’ve explored the site, take the North path towards the sea to admire the stunning Turkish castle overlooking Souda bay in a defensive position. If you have some extra time, you can also pay a visit to the unique Intzedin Fortress, not far from Aptera
The fortress, which can only be visited on the 15th of December, dates back to 1872, when the island was still under Ottoman domination. The construction is in a strategic position, right on top of the port of Souda.
17. Visit the Holy Monastery of Agia Triada
The Akrotiri Peninsula, just a few kilometers away from the center of Chania, is a great place to spend a day exploring the region. One of the must-see places in Akrotiri is the Holy Monastery of Agia Triada. Located at the end of a road lined with centennial trees, a flock of stone stairs leads your way up to the main courtyard of the monastery.
Once inside, pay a visit to the museum and to the Baroque church but don’t overlook the magnificent gardens with fruit trees and gorgeous flowers. Climb all the way to the roof to admire the bell tower and devote a few minutes to visit the wine cellar and taste some great wines produced in the place.
18. Swim at Stavros, the beach of Zorbas
Always in the Akrotiri peninsula, you’ll be able to find one of the most famous beaches in West Crete, Stavros.
This wide, emerald green lagoon, with crystal clear waters, is a popular shore among locals and visitors alike. The famous mountain of Stavros gives shape to the magnificent landscape of the area. The sea here is shallow and safe, and usually not hit by strong winds. There are a few good restaurants in the area you can visit.
One of my favorite places is Almiriki, just the right place to relax after a day at the beach. I usually order their prawns in phyllo pastry with a glass of cold beer, no sunset time can get any better than this.
For a more rustic feel and delicious homemade food, I walk a few meters to Zorbas. This family restaurant serves exquisite goat, fried sardines, and spoon sweets under the shade of a vine producing some of the biggest bunches of grapes I’ve ever seen.
19. Drive south to Paleochora
Paleochora is a fantastic southern town facing the Libyan sea. It’s one of the favorite destinations on the island with travelers coming back year after year for their summer vacation.
The village has a gorgeous city center overlooked by the ruins of a Venetian fortress that faces both sides of a peninsula. The area is known for its great, wide beaches with pristine waters, some of them naturist-friendly.
Paleochora can be a great day trip from Chania or a destination of its own if you’re looking for a relaxing place to stay with some nightlife to enjoy too.
>>Check these Airbnbs if you plan to stay in Paleochora<<
20. Spend some time in Sougia
Sougia is a pretty, forgotten village in the southwest of Crete which has been quite immune to the massive growth of tourism on the island and in Chania in particular.
The main characteristic of Sougia is its long beach and the fantastic places to eat by the sea. Accommodation is pretty simple and life relaxed and slow-paced. All ingredients that make it a great destination for a no-frill holiday.
There’s not much to be done in the village other than lazing on the beach for hours or exploring the surrounding region choosing one of the many walking paths.
21. Get lost in Kedrodasos
One more isolated place you can visit in south Chania is the overwhelmingly beautiful beach of Kedrodasos, not far from the pink sand beach of Elafonisi, and quite hard to access if you don’t set your GPS coordinates right.
Kedrodasos beach is not organized and boasts some of the most spectacular sea colors you will ever see in Europe. The soft, white sand combines with rocky coves and a juniper forest producing a dreamy landscape that’s nothing but a snapshot of heaven.
22. Discover a chapel at sea
Chania harbors some stunning vistas anywhere you decide to go. The coastal town of Georgioupoli, on the northern coast, is one of them. The small, relaxing village is better known for the scenic chapel of Agios Nikolaos, perched at the end of a rocky jetty that enters the sea for several meters offering amazing views.
Not far, the river Almyros meets the sea where the difference in temperature between the cold river and the sea can have a surprising effect even during the hottest summer days on the island.
23. Check out the beautiful Lake Kournas
Close to Georgioupolis, Lake Kournas is one more important landmark worth visiting in Chania region.
The only freshwater lake in Crete, Kournas Lake is set on in a valley amidst a beautiful hilly landscape. Although the lake is relatively small and generally shallow, the flora and fauna in the area are rich and varied.
When visiting, take some time to sit in one of the many waterfront tavernas and order some local snacks, such as a plate of delicious cheese kalitsounia covered in local thyme honey.
24. Cross the bridge of Aradena
Another breathtaking place you can discover in Chania is the magnificent gorge of Aradena. It depends on the kind of traveler you are, you can either hike through the gorge and end up by the beautiful beach of Glyka Nera. Or you can also drive all the way up to the top of the gorge and admire one of the most imposing wooden bridges in Europe.
Those addicted to extreme adventures can even try bungee jumping from this point, a 138-meter dive into the heart of the gorge that’s a hundred per cent adrenaline, bound to take your breath away!
25. Taste some more wine at Dourakis Winery
We’ve already discussed the wines of the island many times, and yet I never seem to recommend local wines strongly enough. Another fantastic winery you can visit in Crete is Dourakis. Situated in the village of Alikampos, close to the magnificent gorge of Imbros and just a few minutes away from Vrysses.
Here, you can have a picnic among the vineyard, learn about local food enrolling in a cooking class, or visit with the award-wining Olive You Berry Much Tour.
Tasting tip: If you’re into whites, go for the Dourakis Kudos Malvasia Aromatica, golden yellow wine with rich aromas of citrus fruits and dried nuts.
26. Have a coffee at Agia Lake
Lake Agia is a manmade lake in the Chania region which was originally built to function as a water supply for the island. The small lake is home to a numerous variety of local flora and fauna and a very tranquil place to enjoy a refreshing drink in the afternoon.
The lake is connected to the valley of Fassa, the dampest in Crete. The whole wetland is a natural refuge for migratory birds and a place of ecological importance protected by different international treaties.
27. Sunbathe at Saetan Limania
Saetan Limania is a beach located on the Akrotiri Peninsula not far from the international airport of Chania.
Famous for its impressive lightening bolt shape, this beach features deep blue waters surrounded by the striking contrast of the rusty rocks that shape the cove.
The beach lacks any kind of organization so it’s a good idea to be fully ready to visit. For tips nd suggestions, check here.
28. Learn everything about local honey
My favorite tours in Crete are the ones that highlight the local flavors, and this one here is among the top experiences in Chania. Join Vasilis, a US ex-pat of Cretan origins who moved to Crete following the dream of giving a new life to his grandpa’s land.
The Mountain Village Food Tour takes you to visit a farm stand and to explore the way locals produce their own honey, cultivate their grapes, and harvest olives to make their own extra virgin olive oil.
You will be able to bottle your own wine, enjoy the beauty of the local gorges, have a Pantagruelian lunch in a local taverna, and learn everything about the culture of the Greek kafenio.
Tasting tip: Vasili’s honey is hands down the best honey I’ve ever tasted in my life… there are no words that make justice to the flavor, fragrance, and consistency of this elixir. Trust me now and thank me later!
29. Try the Sfakian pita in Chora Sfakion
Among the many delicacies you can taste on the island, the regional dishes of Chania shine with a light of their own. Delicious zucchini pies with mint and cheese (boureki), cheese pies, grilled goat and mutton, and honey-drenched sweets are among the most fantastic flavors on the island. Sfakian or Sfakiani pita is one of them.
This flat pie filled with goat cheese is served hot and topped with local honey. It’s one of the traditional dishes from the region of Sfakia. Having a Sfakian pita at the port of Chora Sfakion while waiting to board your ferry for Gavdos or Loutro is definitely a must when visiting Chania.
30. Tour the 7 villages of Apokoronas
Another great experience in Chania is the one that ventures in the heart of the Apokoronas region. This tour is a super convenient day trip in the region, ideal to discover the villages in this historic area, east from Chania, at the foothills of the White Mountains.
The visit takes you to the untouched settlements of Vamos and Gavalochori, where you can witness the fascinating knitting craft of kopaneli, typical of Crete.
The tour also takes you to Xirosterni, where you will discover the secrets of raki, Crete’s famous spirit. Another village you’ll see is Emprosneros, where you can taste and learn about the production of great local cheeses.
31. Embark in a Safari
The mountainous landscape of the Chania region with its imposing White Mountains, breathtaking gorges, high plateaus and green valleys is nothing but the most suitable scenario for a off-road safari.
There are many different adventures and safari trips you can join to live the authentic spirit of Crete. Visit a shepherd’s refuge, learn about olives, cheese making, enjoy a traditional lunch, and marvel at the unique landscape of the Cretan mountains.
32. Discover Askyfou and the War Museum
A drive along the Askyfou Plateau will take you from the North to the southern coast passing through magnificent verdant landscapes, winding bends, and breathtaking scenarios.
Askyfou is a place of historic importance on Crete. It was through these fields that the Allied soldiers marched south, escaping from the Nazi forced that invaded the island during WWII. Many of them were rescued from the port of Chora Sfakion and managed to escape.
Fans of WWII history can spend a great time in the Askyfou War Museum, located in the heart of the plateau. The exhibition portrays over 2000 war objects from the war period, most of which had been found on the plateau itself by a local family.
33. Go trekking in Imbros
If you’re reaching Askyfou from Chania, keep driving south until you reach the entrance to the Gorge of Imbros. Usually described as somewhat easier to cross than Samaria Gorge, Imbros certainly does not lack in beauty and outstanding landscapes.
A trek through Imbros can be part of a perfect day taking you all the way to the south, you can complete the experience by reaching Chora Sfakion and boarding a boat to spend the night in Loutro.
34. Wonder at the spectacular gorge of Topolia
Driving south to reach the beach of Elafonisi can be an unforgettable experience if you love to drive through the mountains. In order to reach this magic shore you will need to drive through one of the most impressive mountain roads on Crete.
The road through the gorge of Topolia features an impressive rocky landscape, breathtaking bends and one of the narrowest mountain tunnels on Crete.
Along the way, you can stop to take unique pictures, visit the Cave of Agia Sofia, or discover Cretan goats on the slopes of the mountains.
35. Explore the solitary Rodopou Peninsula
Rodopou is the most solitary and wild portion of Crete. An off-the-beaten-path peninsula, almost uninhabited can offer a great driving opportunity to discover unique churches and solitary beaches.
This barren land is located west of Chania town and among the places to see, don’t miss a swim in the crystalline waters of Afrata beach or a stop at the gorgeous Odigistria Monastery.
This harsh land is located west of Chania town and among the places to see, don’t miss a swim in the crystalline waters of Afrata beach or a stop at the gorgeous Odigistria Monastery, one of Chania’s prettiest religious buildings.
36. Sail all the way to Menies Beach
Taking a boat tour in the region of Chania can make an excellent day trip idea. If you want to explore Rodopou Peninsula but don’t dare driving along the solitary roads, then choose a sailing trip to explore the fascinating coast of the area.
While you visit, make sure to ask your captain for a stop at Menies, a fantastic solitary beach with crystal clear waters and whitish sand mixed with pebbles. A sailing and snorkeling tour of Chania is great to discover the unique skyline of the city and the spectacular waters of the Cretan Sea.
37. Climb your way to the top in Komolithi
Land of contrasts and experiences, the region hides bizarre landscapes worth discovering. The fantastic low hills of Kommolithi, on the way to Elafonisi, are a one-of-a-kind view you don’t want to miss in Chania.
You can experience climbing the formations and play with the lens if you are into photography.
38. Experience the thrill of Kallikratis Road
Often counted among the most impressive roads in the world, the drive from Kallikratis to Kapsodasos is a sharply winding and precipitous zig-zag road with impressive views of the southern coast of Crete.
The most challenging portion of the 11-kilometer long road is a very narrow section long about 2 kilometers, with 7 super steep hairpin turns. In total, the route features 27 hairpin turns that will take you from a hight of 800 meters to the level of the sea.
39. Cook with a local
The Cretan diet is a millennial set of unwritten cooking rules and techniques that Cretans have been using for ages.
At the base of the Mediterranean diet, the secrets of its unforgettable tastes lie in the simplicity and freshness of the ingredients as well as in the wise combination of herbs, spices and extra virgin olive oil.
Cretan tastes are destined to conquer you, so what better souvenir from Crete than joining a cooking lesson where you cannot only learn how to cook the traditional meals of Crete but also taste what you’ve prepared with your own hands.
40. Learn about wines with a local sommelier
Choose the wisdom and expertise of a local sommelier to learn everything about Cretan Wines. Anna Maria Kambouraki is a US ex-pat of Cretan origin who moved to the island and runs one of the most successful tours you’ll be able to find in Chania. All of them revolving about the fantastic wines of Crete.
She not only wrote an article for this blog about the different wines of the island but is also the best when it comes to educating people on wine with simple words and creative examples.
Anna will take you on a journey of exploration and aromas like anyone else to spend a fantastic day among the vineyards of Chania.
41. Catch a boat to Glyka Nera
Among the many marvelous beaches in the Chania region, Glyka Nera is a dreamy destination you can only reach hiking from Chora Sfakion or traveling by boat. It’s located on the southern coast of Chania and it’s famous for the fresh water springs that populate the pebbled coast at the foot of the mountains.
The place, a hidden paradise for naturism, is a great day trip from Chania, Loutro, Paleochora, or Chora Sfakion.
42. Find the golden step at Chrisoskalithissa
The monastery of Chrisoskalithissa is located on the road to Elafonisi, in the south of Chania. The monastery and the church stands on top of a steep rock overlooking the blue waters of the Libyan sea.
Chrisoskalithissa dates back to the 17th century and is home to a famous flock of stairs that give the name to the monastery.
As a matter of fact, the name Panagia Chrisoskalithissa means Our Lady of the Golden Step and, according to the legend the last of the 98 steps leading up to the church is made of gold, but only those pure of heart can see it.
Inside the complex, you can also check a folklore museum and a Byzantine museum exhibiting an interesting collection of religious art and objects.
43. Check the beauty of Omalos Plateau
About 38 kilometers west of Chania town, after a drive thought the fragrant orange trees that populate the area, the Omalos Plateau stands between 1000 and 1200 meters above the sea level and offers a fantastic view of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori).
It’s from Omalos that adventurous hikers depart to face the 14 km walk along the gorge of Samaria. Even if you don’t intend to walk the gorge, a visit to Omalos will reward you. From here you can check some of the highest peaks of the island, including Mount Gigilos (2080 m) and Mount Psilafi (1984 m), and Mount Agathopes (1768 m) which in the past used to host slalom ski races.
44. Feel like a pirate on Imeri Gramvousa Island
If you are visiting Balos Lagoon by boat, then this is going to be part of your itinerary. The uninhabited island of Imeri Gramvousa is located west of Chania.
The place has a beautiful selection of beaches for you to swim during your cruise stop. Besides, you can also choose to climb all the way up to the Venetian castle on top of the island to marvel at the impressive views of the beach and the sea.
45. Spend a few days in Gavdos
Gavdos is the southernmost island in Europe and it belongs to the region of Chania. To visit, you can catch a boat in Paleochora or Chora Sfakion and sail south for a few hours.
It’s almost impossible to visit Gavdos in a day, so plan ahead to spend a few days in this forgotten paradise. Known for its informal — and somewhat primitive — lifestyle, this small island features some amazing beaches where it’s even possible to camp and spend the night under the stars.
Planning a stay in Gavdos?
>>Check here where to stay<<
46. Have the best souvlaki in town
No one traveling to Greece can miss sampling some great street food. When in Chania, the place to go is Oasis souvlaki. A small, almost hidden place in the modern city serving the most delicious gyro wrap you could ever imagine.
Cheap prices, simple ingredients, and a secret sauce made this the best quick bite you can grab in Chania on the go. Don’t expect a place to sit, or much comfort, just buy your wrap and enjoy it. Don’t visit to late, their gyro wrap is cheap and delicious, therefore, they run put of meet often before midday.
Where to find Oasis: 4 Vouloudaki Street, Chania.
47. Drive through the gorge of Therisso
Another great thing to do in Chania is to drive through the enchanting gorge of Therisso, a refreshing, scenic trip climbing the Cretan mountains and passing through some historic villages where to taste the best-grilled meat you can imagine, antikristo.
The village of Therisso is a favorite place among Cretans, who often visit at the weekend and gather in the several tavernas to enjoy good company and better food.
48. Have lunch at one of the best restaurants in the region
High in the mountains past the gorge of Therisso, there’s a small restaurant which has rightfully earned world-wide recognition for the utterly delicious flavors served with simplicity and surrounded by a landscape of outstanding beauty.
Ntounias is a well-known taverna in the village of Drakonas, about an hour from the city center. The delighful but long ride along the winding bends of the Cretan mountains will be well rewarded when you arrive at destination.
There’s no menu to choose from. Stelios, the proud chef will present you with the dishes of the day and, if in the mood, will proudly show you what’s cooking in the kitchen.
Don’t ask for the specials, just wait to be served one of the most memorable meals in Crete. And don’t get there too late, their food sells really fast!
49. Visit Souda Bay War Cemetery
Close to the bay of Souda, Chania’s commercial port, there’s a hidden place that’s a landmark in the history of the island.
Souda Bay War Cemetery is a memorial place for the Allied soldiers that lost their lives both during the Great War as well as during the Battle of Crete in WWII.
If you’re interested in visiting more places related to the historic battle, then it can be a good idea to visit also the Airfield of Maleme, theater of the most important airborne invasion in the history of Europe.
50. Discover the mountain village of Fres
If you embark on a trip to explore the mountain villages of Crete, make a point to stop for a while is Fres, a traditional settlement where time seems to have stopped for ever.
Here, it’s a good idea to visit the main church, the Virgin of the Two Rocks, and have a pleasant moment sitting in the village’s main square.
Choose any of the tavernas to taste an authentic and super tender Cretan goat dish, tsigariasto, paired with homemade wine. For a perfect lunch, add a few bites of aged Graviera cheese drizzled with delicious thyme honey.
51. Check the abandoned suburbs of Tabakaria
Back in town, not far from the old town, the suburbs of the city center harbor a magnificent surprise for those into photography, light, shades, and abandoned places.
Once the leather production area of Chania, Tabakaria is an abandoned industrial neighborhood that flourished between wars, The Tanneries, thanks to its proximity to the salty water of the sea, was an ideal place to work and cure the high-quality leather which was then sent to the Road of the Boots in Chania town (as well as shipped to other areas in Greece).
The place has been abandoned for decades, however, the area is going through a slow requalification process. Since the magic of Tambakaria might probably be gone soon, it’s a good idea to visit now!
Insider’s tip: In the area, look for Thalassino Ageri, a restaurant surrounded by the suggestive urban landscape, where you can dine with one foot literally on the sea while the sun sets in the distance, right behind the Egyptian lighthouse. Yes, probably one of the most romantic spots in Chania.
Have you decided what things you will be doing upon setting foot on the Chania region? As you can see there are so many things to do that it’s hard to choose where to start from!
General information about Chania
Chania is the second most important city of Crete and the main city of the western Prefecture of Chania. It’s located on the northern coast of the island. You can arrive in Chania by plane (International Airport of Chania CHQ), or by ferry (Port of Souda).
Reach Chania from the local airport
By car, it takes 20 to 25 minutes to get to the city center from the airport (15 km/9.3 miles). In the airport hall of arrivals, there are many rental car offices to choose from. Here’s a fool-proof guide to renting a car on Crete. Another option is the taxi, which has a flat fare of 30.00 €.
By bus is a cheaper option but the ride might take about an hour. Buy your ticket with cash from vending machines or directly on the bus.
Reach the city of Chania from the port of Souda
Souda is located 6.5 km east of the city center. The night ferries departing from Piraeus arrive at about 6.00 – 6.30 every morning. At the exit of the port, you will find the station for the bus to Chania (6.5 km). You can buy the ticket from the automatic machines (1.50 €) or directly on the bus (2.00€). Chania Bus Station in about 25 minutes away.
Have you been to Chania? What did you enjoy the most?
Let me know in the comments below!
Travel plans for Crete?
These resources will help you organize the trip!
Start by reading these helpful tips to plan a trip to Crete or check family holidays in Crete if you travel with kids. To visit Crete’s heavenly beaches, check my guide to the best beaches. Discover what region is best to stay in or check what to do in Crete.
Get in touch if you need extra help to plan your trip. If you want to tour West Crete, check my guide. Want more? Join my Private Facebook Group to connect with like-minded travelers who love Crete as much as you do!
Make sure you’ve got everything for a hassle-free trip!
I never move around Crete without my Osprey backpack, a sturdy but light travel partner I just love. For short trips, I carry this little crossbody bag. If I’m driving around, I pack my Michelin map and my Nikon.
For accommodation, I personally use Booking.com and Airbnb.
Traveling to remote places is easier with Discover Cars. Other times, I join organized tours with GetYourGuide, which features anything from cooking lessons to airport transfer!
Are you coming to Crete any time soon?
Get in touch and let me know!
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Where to Stay in Chania: Great Accommodation Guide
2 Fantastic Days in Chania: A Unique City Break in Crete
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About the Author
Hola! I’m Gabi. Welcome to The Tiny Book – Crete Travel Blog! I moved to Crete to explore the island all year round. I love taking pictures and driving on the mountain roads of Crete. I’m a beach freak and on this island I’ve found heaven on earth!
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