Essential Travel Guide to Chania

practical guide to chania

Are you Visiting Chania this season? Then you’ve landed on the right spot! Bookmark this essential handbook for navigating the city’s transportation, accommodations, and practical tips for a smooth stay.

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Essential Travel Guide to Chania, Crete

Keep these essential things to know about Chania when it’s time to visit!

Getting to Chania

practical guide to chania


Situated 14km northeast of Chania town, Chania International Airport (CHQ) is the second busiest airport on Crete island. Despite its modest size with just one terminal, it primarily serves seasonal tourist flights during the summer and daily flights to Athens and Thessaloniki all year round. The airport features a limited range of cafes, shops, and car rental companies.


You can get to Chania by ferry from Piraeus (Athens). Seasonal arrivals might also be available from islands like Milos or Santorini. More ferries from the Greek islands arrive at the port of Heraklion. 

You can check ferry schedules and book tickets through company websites, travel agencies, or the port terminal. If you’re traveling to Chania by ferry, I suggest planning your trip and booking tickets early, especially during peak travel seasons. I recommend using Ferryhopper to book your ferry ticket.

The port is located 6 km from the city center. More ferries depart and arrive from Heraklion port. Taxis from Souda to Chania town are about €20. A bus is also available. Buses depart from the port according to ferry arrival times. The ticket is €1.50 from the port into Chania city center.

How to Get to Chania Town

practical guide to chania

Here are the best options for getting to the center of Chania from the airport.


KTEL, the primary public bus company in Greece, operates a service linking the airport to Chania bus station between 6 a.m. and 11.45 p.m. Departures are sporadical, resulting in occasional inconveniences with intervals of up to an hour between buses. A one-way ticket from Chania Airport to the city center should only cost you €2.5. The approximate duration of the journey is 25 minutes. You can purchase the ticket directly from the bus driver. The approximate duration of the journey is 25 minutes.


Taxis are available outside the arrival area. The journey to the city center is about 20 minutes. The charges are a flat rate, so provided your final destination is within the city center of Chania, your journey will cost no more than €30. Surcharges apply for night rides and per luggage piece.

Private Transfer

You can book a private transfer in advance with Welcome Pickups. The company offers a convenient pre-paid airport transfer service and transfers can be booked via their website. The cost is around €25 from the airport to the city center.

Getting to Chania from Heraklion

Bus: The bus from Heraklion to Chania (KTEL) takes about 3 hours and costs €16 per person. It departs from the new bus station in Heraklion. 

Taxis: Readily available at the bus station, a taxi from Heraklion to Chania costs about €200.

Moving Around

Most attractions in town can be reached on foot within 30 minutes, making transportation unnecessary for most journeys, especially if your main focus is the old town. However, public transport alternatives exist if you want to reach other neighboring areas and beaches.


Chania has an urban bus network which serves the city and the surrounding areas. These buses typically operate from 6 a.m. to midnight, with less frequency at night, on weekends, and on public holidays. Schedules vary depending on the route. 

The fares for the urban bus network are divided into Zone A and Zone B. Zone A tickets cost €2.00 when purchased on board the bus and €1.20 when bought elsewhere. Zone B tickets cost €2.50 when bought on board and €1.60 ($1.75) at a kiosk or ticket vendor.

To ensure you catch the correct bus, check for information at bus stops, consult online resources, and don’t hesitate to ask locals or your accommodation provider for guidance. 


Taxis are available throughout Chania and Crete. They are affordable, and public transport is the only way to reach destinations that the buses don’t stop at.

Taxis in Chania generally charge a flat start rate of €1.30 and €0.74 for every km within the city limits and €1.30 for every km outside the city limits. The night tariff (from midnight to 5 a.m.) is €1.30 for every km, while the baggage fee is €0.43 for every 10 kg.

The minimum charge is €3. 72, and there’s an extra fee for radio taxis (around €6). Sometimes, a fixed fare can be agreed upon with the driver.

Where to Stay


Chania features a rather condensed, compact layout. This ensures that no matter what area you choose for accommodation, it will always be central, making reaching any spot in town easy. Below is a concise overview of Chania’s neighborhoods to help you select your preferred lodging area.

Old Town

This area is ideal for newcomers to the city, offering convenient access to restaurants, shops, and entertainment, as well as proximity to the bus station. Additionally, it boasts the most picturesque sights in the city, though it can become crowded during the popular summer months.

When selecting luggage, be mindful of the cobblestone streets, narrow alleys, and frequent staircases, which are not great for suitcase wheels. If you plan to rent a car, be aware that parking is limited within the old town district, as it is strictly pedestrianized.


Always part of the old town, this small district has a more relaxed vibe than the area close to the port. Several small hotels and homes are available for rent. Some of the best restaurants in town are hidden in Splantzia, also known as the Turkish neighborhood.

Chania City Center

Also known as the modern town, this part of Chania lies next to the old town. Here, you will easily find shops, supermarkets, and boutiques, as well as more affordable accommodation.

Nea Chora

Located about 10 minutes (on foot) from the heart of the old town, Nea Chora is a popular city beach featuring fine sand and a shallow coastline. However, it is certainly not the best beach in the region.

On the seaside promenade (which becomes a pedestrian road in summer), you will find a few convenience stores, ice cream parlors, and several good restaurants. There are also several new hotels and a growing number of vacation apartments.


This ancient area, about 15 minutes on foot from Splantzia, is the ancient tanneries quarter in Chania. It has been fully requalified and now houses elegant lofts and boutique hotels. There are also some good restaurants. Tambakaria has a bohemian and very quiet vibe. 


The somewhat aristocratic neighborhood of Halepa is a quiet place to stay, featuring a few hotels and several houses to rent. The place has a laid-back vibe, yet it’s not very convenient if you don’t have a car to move around. Halepa is a 25-minute walk from the old town (about 10 minutes by car).

Chania Hotels

practical guide to chania

Chania offers many lodging choices, from opulent boutique hotels and apartments to cozy hostels and budget-friendly hotels.

These options are conveniently scattered throughout the city’s central areas. At the same time, villas and rental homes can be found in neighboring regions, such as the Akrotiri Peninsula or nearby Platanias and Agia Marina. 

Since Chania is a sought-after tourist destination, prices can soar significantly during the peak season, especially in July and August. Nevertheless, accommodation in Crete remains notably more affordable than in many other Greek islands.

It’s always advisable to book in advance to secure lower rates and access the widest array of accommodation options. 

>> You can read this complete accommodation guide to Chania for more hotel options.

These are some of the places I recommend:

Affordable accommodation: 11City Rooms is an ideal place to stay in Chania. It offers comfortable accommodation steps away from the seafront of the Old Venetian Harbor. This small hotel is at the heart of the historic quarter and, although small, it features a balcony with a garden views.

Mid-range accommodation: Porto Veneziano is one of the hotel landmarks opposite the New Marina and a few steps from Splantzia. Right on the waterfront, the hotel is in a pedestrian area and has top views of the lighthouse.

Luxury accommodation: Alcanea Boutique Hotel offers a unique waterfront location in the old town. It is set in a historic building and features a wine bar with scenic views of the port and an elegant courtyard.

Unmissable Things to Do in Chania


Although I’ve often written about the old town and the region and have published several guides with the best things to do, here is a very short list of a few unmissable landmarks you should visit during your stay in Chania.

Old Town

The heart of Chania lies in its stunning old town, highlighted by its architecture featuring Venetian and Ottoman traits. The historic city features narrow cobblestoned alleys, colorful mansions, and a picturesque harbor. Spending a day exploring the streets, shops, and restaurants in the area will be the highlight of your visit.

Also in the old town, do not miss the Venetian Harbor, built by the Venetian Navy between 1320 and 1643. Today, the Old Venetian Port is lined up with restaurants ranging from traditional Greek taverns to sophisticated Cretan cuisine.

Egyptian Lighthouse

practical guide to chania

Opposite the Venetian Harbor and the Küçük Hasan Pasha or Yalı Mosque with its picturesque pink domes, the Egyptian Lighthouse stands as the most famous landmark in town. The lighthouse is considered the oldest existing lighthouse in Greece, and one of the oldest in the world. It was built by the Venetian Navy to protect Chania’s harbor during the sixteenth century.

Although it was neglected and abandoned during the Ottoman periond, the lighthouse was rebuilt between 1824 and 1832 by Egyptian soldiers stationed on the island. 

Jewish District

Along Kondilaki Street, extending from the harbor front to Agios Dimitrios’ Bastion is a relatively wide alley once home to Chania’s Jewish Quarter, or Zudecca. The Jewish Community in Chania played a key role during the different occupation eras of the island. The ancient Jewish community was a direct witness of the Roman, Byzantine, Arab, Venetian, and Ottoman occupations of Crete.

On Parodos Kondilaki Street, you will find the last remaining Synagogue in Chania, Etz Hayyim, built in the premises of an ancient Venetian Church. From May until October, the synagogue is open to visitors Monday to Thursday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. And from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays. There is more information about the structure and the visiting hours on the website .


Chania’s Municipal Market is one of the best places to get a real taste of the island gastronomic’s traditions. Locally known as the Dimotiki Agora, this large, historic building houses dozens of shops and a few small tavernas featuring authentic staples of the Cretan diet including olive oil, cheese, and local pastries.

The market officially opened its gates to the public only three days after the unification of Crete with Greece (1913), and it remains one of the most beautiful markets in the Balkans.

Locals know: The Municipal Market of Chania will be closed for renovations until December 2023 (or a bit more…).

Maxairadika, the Road of the Knives

Knife shop, Chania, Crete

Marking the border between the most vibrant part of the old town and the more quiet Splantzia District, Sifaka Street or Maxairaidika was the place where, a long time ago, dozens of bladesmiths would craft handmade Cretan knives.

Although just one of such artisans still remains, the area is quite and picturesque, perfect for an afternoon stroll or a cup of coffee after visiting the Old Town.

A visit to Chania promises a blend of interesting historic detail, charming city landscapes, and practical convenience. Hopefully, this guide, offers you practical details to help you navigating the city’s transportation network, explore the old town, and other essential knowledge to make the most of your time in the city.

I publish new content about Crete almost every day! Bookmark my Crete and Practical Guides pages to learn more before your trip.

Are you dreaming of a getaway to Crete but feeling overwhelmed with planning?

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Don’t forget travel insurance!

Although Crete is a safe destination, consider purchasing travel insurance to protect yourself and your loved ones from unexpected situations.

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More resources to enhance Your Crete adventure

Start by checking out my ultimate guide to planning your trip to Crete, packed with helpful essential information. Explore the articles on prices in Crete, common mistakes to avoid, and insider secrets for an unforgettable experience.

Use this comprehensive Crete packing list to ensure you have everything you need. Explore the best places to visit on Crete Island, discover my tours and activities, be amazed at Crete’s incredible beaches, and check out the best times to experience its beauty.

If you are exploring specific areas like Heraklion or Chania, I’ve got detailed guides to help you make the most of your time.

Suggested accommodation in Chania

No time to read all my accommodation guides? Check out these hotels in the city:

More useful travel resources

  • Check out all the digital travel guides I’ve specifically written about Crete. They are affordable and practical to check from your mobile.
  • Discover Cars is my favorite engine for finding a rental car on the island.
  • Finally, to book adventures, tours, and cultural experiences, I always recommend Get Your Guide.

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Practical Guide to Visit Chania Town by a Local

practical guide to chania

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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