Chania (Greek Χανιά, also transliterated Hania or even Khania) is a beautiful port town on the north west coast of Crete, with an atmosphere reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past. Highly livable spot.
Chania and the long row of beach resorts stretching 20 km west along the beaches of the Chania bay is a well visited destination for Scandinavian charter trips. Chania, being the nearest city, is a attractive destination for sightseeing and shopping for many tourists. Here is plenty of opportunities for eating and drinking on Greek tavernas and modern cafés that are open into the night.
The old town is centered around the harbor, it is a maze of alleys and houses that has been standing for many hundred years rebuilt,ruined and built up again with details from the different epochs. Old town is full of souvenir, art and crafts shops; the new quarters house the regular span of shops, here you can find the most of your needs for the hiking or other adventures. The beaches begin in the city a bit away but not far from the old town. Nearest one is Nea Hora, a 1 km. walk from the west end of the Old Town.
Summer season (April to October) is hot and dry with clear skies. Dry hot days are often relieved by a seasonal breeze from the north, Meltemi. Occasional heat waves. Winters are mild with relatively little rain and rare frosts but with a high level of humidity that drops the relative temperature.
The city is served by Chania International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula a bit north-east of the city. The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century. It is rather small with six gates. tel: +30 28210 83800
There are several flights a day from Athens to Chania, with Aegean Airlines and Olympic Airlines. From April to early November, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and other European countries.
Ferry services from Athens (Piraeus port) to Chania (Hania) anchor at the nearby port of Souda. Daily ferries, one ordinary with ANEK and one fast catamaran with Hellenic Seaways.
Chania is connected with the rest of Crete by regular bus lines operated the KTEL company . The coaches are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. Fare is reasonable. Public transportation is fairly frequent and timetables quite trustworthy. Bus services along the north coast and towards the south coast are excellent, reliable, frequent and cheap.
Highway E75 (A90) goes along the North coast of Crete from Heraklion to Kissamos, it goes by the southern outskirts of the town. The old road, that still has the name 90, is parallel to the new highway and is the main road through all the small resorts west of Chania.
If you are on Crete to see the 'real Crete', as opposed to the night clubs for tourists, then visiting the villages of the island is a must. All Cretan culture can be seen, heard and tasted in the villages. The Cretans at work or at leisure will always welcome visitors and show you how to do things the correct way. All villages have a central kafenion (coffee shop) which is where all people eventually end up. The kafenion, apart from being a place to meet friends for a coffee, raki or a game of tavli (backgammon), is used as the main information center of the village. Be aware, however, that the kafenion is still very much a male dominion and women are generally not welcome inside (as opposed to a kafeteria or regular cafe). Most villages have war memorials and the locals will willingly fill in any missing information. Gavalohori has a wonderful Folklore Museum where much about village life can be learned.
Etz Hayyim Synagogue , +30 28210 862 86, 10:00 - 18:00, Parados Kondylaki, 730 11, Hania, Crete, Hellas (GR), The synagogue can be reached by walking up Kondylaki Street from the harbour and taking the second turn to the right (please check also the map icon bellow). This street is only about 25 meters long and leads to a cross street with no other exits. On reaching that intersection, the stone wall and entrance to the courtyard of the synagogue are directly in front of you., Until 1999 Etz Hayyim was a desecrated house of prayer that remained the sole Jewish monument on the Island of Crete after the destruction of Crete's Jewish community in 1944. Essentially it stood as a monument to the success of the Nazis in obliterating 2300 years of Jewish life on the Island of Crete. Between 1996 and the year of its re-dedication in 1999, the structure was painstakingly restored. The philosophy that directed this work is summed up in the Hebrew **Am Israel Hayy:**'The people of Israel Live'. Today it stands as a vibrant statement of Jewish life, vitality and values, whereas until recently it was still mentioned on the World Monument Fund's list of most endangered sites.
Samaria gorge is an easy and popular day trip from here.
Mpourakis in Kounoupidiana is the absolute must in Chania eating. Traditional cuisine with exquisite tastes at reasonable prices in a very cared environment and cooking only with extra virgin olive oil. From Kounoupidiana center take the road on the right go towards Stavros, 100 meters on your right side.
The Roadhouse Bar & Grill (Mike's Roadhouse), +30 28210 64072, Everyday 7pm, Kounoupidiana, Akrotiri, Go 7km east on Leoforos Venezelos (Main Road) out of Hania towards the Akrotiri Peninsula., Mike's Roadhouse is a bar & grill with great cheeseburgers and chili. Mike and Petia speak fluent English, Bulgarian, and German. Pick up a microphone and sing to Karaoke.
Mike's in Maleme, 17 km west from Chania. Are still all the foods home made cooking .
Pinaleon in El.Venizelou. Good tavern with tasty food from the Cretan cuisine with low prices.
Chania and environs off accommodations ranging from hostels to 5 star hotels. The historical backstreets by the old harbor in Chania are full of old Venetian houses that have been renovated into hotels, some of which are very well priced with a unique atmosphere, friendly proprietors and, obviously, an excellent location. However, most of these are not advertised online, so unless you are going at the peak season (June-August), consider not making a reservation and shopping for accommodation once there. You will likely find yourself happily surprised.
Hotels in Chania City:
Iro Apartments, 36 K. Paleologu Street, TEL./FAX: (0030)2821074269, . Charming, small hotel combining vicinity to the centre of Chania and the old town (within 900 m) as well as the sandy beach of Nea Hora (30 m away). Great atmosphere; makes you feel like a member of the family.
Hotel Helena - Lovely hotel, very reasonable prices in the off-season (One traveler paid a total of €40/night for a triple in April; the prices listed are somewhat more at €35/n for a single and €55/n for a double), with a very friendly and chatty proprietor who was always available to provide advice or assistance. Just two streets down from the waterfront. An excellent find.
Outside Chania city:
Aneexe Apartments, New Kydonia - Chania - Crete - Greece, website: , TEL./FAX: (0030)6948634488, The 5 apartments are located in Daratsos, New Kydonia, only 4 km from Chania and 1,2 km from the beach in one of the most beautiful spots of the Crete Island. From here you can make some very nice tours and discover Crete by bus or car or boat.
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