Chania is one of the main cities on the island of Crete. This unique destination is famous for its picturesque old town with charming streets packed with taverns and restaurants that offer waterfront views of the Venetian Port and lighthouse. In addition, here you’ll find dazzling beaches with distinct shades of blue sea and soft powdery sand. Are you planning a trip to Crete soon? Find here the best things to do in Chania, including top beaches to explore.
Wander through the Old Town and explore the Venetian Harbor
One of the highlights of a trip to Crete includes the fascinating Old Town of Chania. Here, the facades of the buildings showcase the various influences the city endured over the years, including Venetian, Ottoman, and even Egyptian.
Also, in the area, you’ll find many restaurants and taverns where you can sip drinks waterfront while watching the lighthouse, the colorful buildings, and the town bustle.
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Wine tasting in Chania
While exploring Chania, add a few hours of your itinerary to enjoy a tasting of Greek wines.
Head over to Manousakis Winery to taste the organic wines of Crete. For a bit of an extra experience, stay and enjoy a meal in their wonderful restaurant while sitting among the beautiful olive trees and the greenery of their lovely terrace.
Additionally, you can also book a wine tasting and olive oil tour from Chania while on Crete. In this tour, you’ll travel through stunning natural landscapes on your way up to the mountains of the Kissamos region to explore wine cellars, see the oldest olive tree in the world, and learn more about Greek culture.
Swim in the nearby and Chania’s turquoise beaches
Summer is the best time of the year to visit Crete. So, while in Chania, going to the beach is one of the must-do activities.
Of the many beaches on Crete, the best ones are near Chania and can be easily reached by car from the city. If you want to visit the most beautiful and famous ones, Balos and Elafonisi are your best choices. However, less popular beaches such as Kedrodasos and Loutraki aren’t well-known to many tourists and even so are among the most stunning beaches on Crete.
Additionally, when it’s time to venture into water sports, Falassarna beach is the best alternative. And families with kids can enjoy the still waters of Marathi and Stavros.
Be sure to read: 8 Stunning Beaches to Visit on Crete Island (near Chania)
Indulge in Cretan food
Cretan food is fresh and delicious. While in Chania, take some time to explore the restaurants near Old Town and savor the best of the Cretan cuisine.
The main dishes to try on Crete include fresh seafood, lamb, zucchini fritters, and Cretan salad, which is made with tomato, cucumber, green pepper, onion, goat cheese, and olives.
Have drinks overlooking the old harbor
No visit to Chania is completed without a few drinks overlooking the sun setting on the horizon while sitting al fresco at the harbor.
Grab yourself a glass of Aperol Spritz or a cold white wine at Pallas or Salis (both excellent for drinks and dinner in Chania Old Town).
Try Freddo Cappuccino or Freddo Espresso
And during the summer months on Crete, many tourists and locals will be sipping Freddo Cappuccino or Freddo Espresso to cool down.
These iced beverages are usually made with two shots of fresh espresso mixed with ice in a shaker or mixer (with or without sugar). The Freddo Espresso is then poured in a glass with ice while the Freddo Cappuccino is finished with one layer of cold, foamy milk.
When exploring the beaches of Chania, visit these coffee shops to cool down with either a Freddo Espresso or a Freddo Cappuccino:
- Kross Coffee Roasters
- ΕΛΛΗΝΙΚΟ Speciality Coffee Bar
- Norma Coffee Movement
What to know for visiting Crete, Greece
Greece is part of the European Schengen zone, which provides 90 days of free entry every 180 days to visitors from many countries. This allows tourists to enter Greece and travel between other European countries for up to 90 days per stay.
When planning your trip to Greece, be sure to check the EU Schengen website for the latest information and requirements for your specific country.
The currency used in Greece is the Euro (EUR). The current exchange rate is approximately 1 EUR to 1.10 USD. You can check the current euro exchange rate on Google.
While traveling, I personally use a free Charles Schwab Debit Card which provides unlimited worldwide ATM Fee Refunds, no foreign transaction fee, and the true exchange rate.
Best time to visit Greece
The best time to visit Greece is between April and October. July and August can be very crowded, so I recommend the shoulder months of April, May, September, and October. I visited Crete in the middle of September and had perfect sunny days and warm temperatures.
Best tours on Crete
Some of the best tours and things to do on Crete Island are:
- Day trip from Chania to Elafonisi
- Balos Boat Cruise from Kissamos Port
- Wine and Olive Oil Tour from Chania
Where to stay on Crete (Best Hotels near Chania)
I recommend booking your hotels on Booking.com to get the best rate and other perks such as genius discounts and free cancellation, in case your plans change.
These are the best hotels to stay on Crete:
- Domes Zeen Chania – for a seaside luxury experience, this is one of the best options. It has a picture-perfect pool, outdoor gym, beach service with chairs and umbrellas, it’s good for families, and is part of the Luxury Collection of hotels. Its sophisticated and comfortable rooms have Byredo amenities, and many have private plunge pools.
- Domes Noruz Chania – another seaside hotel with modern bright rooms featuring private pools. It’s the best option for couples since it’s adults-only and is also part of the Autograph Collection.
- Casa Delfino Hotel & Spa – placed in the heart of Chania’s picturesque old town, this authentic 17th-century Venetian mansion has a rooftop terrace overlooking the town and the Venetian Harbor.
Transportation on Crete Island
Public Transportation: You can find a bus system on Crete to get to a few places on the island. Check out their routes and timetable on their website.
Rental Cars: The best way to get around Crete is by car. Plan on renting a car as soon as you get on the island, so you can explore the beaches above at your convenience.
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