The mere mention of Venetian harbors may sound a little cliche, but there can be no apologies for recommending the beautiful harbor that is very much the dominant feature in the lovely old town of Chania, Crete.
The 16th century lighthouse, often regarded as the city’s trademark, can’t help but draw your attention too.
There’s plenty to choose from in terms of dining options around the harbor, and an evening spent sitting outside one of the taverns or restaurants dappled around the water’s edge, replete with lamps casting their gentle light across the water, may leave you feeling you’re in a Vincent Van Gogh painting.
The truth is, each time of the day brings out its own particular aspect of the the harbor, but the general consensus is that you can’t beat the evening for the full romantic effect.
On a hot day some welcome shade can be found in the narrow winding streets that meander this way and that in the old town.
Plenty of options for accommodation can found in these charming little streets, and if you’re lucky, you’ll find a room with a view out over the water where you can watch the boats gently bobbing up and down.
The Public Gardens also offer an ideal place to come and seek some shade on a hot day allowing yourself the opportunity to surround yourself with some greenery without even leaving the city.
The gardens even have a small zoo.
A fascinating full size reconstruction of an ancient Minoan sailing ship can be seen in the Nautical Museum of Chania, Crete which is well worth a visit.
The museum also gives an insight into life on the island during the German occupation of World War II. If you visit on Sunday, entrance is free.
Likely, no one comes to any of the Greek islands without wanting to visit some beaches, and the area of Chania has some idyllic ones such as Elafonisi with its sands of brilliant white, or maybe Bali beach so named due to its similarity to the beaches of the Indonesian islands.
There are plenty of great options for bathing and swimming in the sea around Chania.
The area also has many opportunities to step back in time with archaeological points of interest such as Aptera which dates all the way back to the Minoan era.
Because this site hasn’t been as thoroughly excavated as some other sites, it tends to be bypassed by the tour companies which can make for a more unobtrusive walk back into the past.
Here you can walk amidst the remains of temples, fortifications, houses, and an ancient Roman theater. You will also be delighted by the fabulous views from Aptera out across the sea, valleys, and the White Mountains.
For those who love the great outdoors, the Samaria Gorge offers a wonderful opportunity to get in touch with nature.
The 16 km descent is replete with dramatic views along the way. You’ll also encounter fragrant flowers, lunar landscapes, cypress trees, and formidable steep cliffs.
Starting in Omalos and heading down toward Agia Roumeli means you will be traveling downhill which, for obvious reasons, is the recommended direction of travel. If you want to put yourself through your paces, however, feel free to try it from the other direction.
Chania is a lovely part of Crete whether you want to sit by the harbor, take a hike through some places of great natural beauty, or swim in the sea. Whatever you’re looking for in a vacation, Chania is certain to be able to satisfy.