Chania Travel Guide

Chania Travel Guide

Chania Travel Guide

Photo by JanClaus on Pixabay // CC0

Introduction

Planning a holiday in Crete? If so, Chania is one of several spots you may end up. It has a history dating back to the ancient Minoan civilization.

Today, however, its buildings reflect Venetian and Turkish influence. From museums containing ancient artifacts to touristy attractions, you’ll find it all in Chania.

Come check out our Chania travel guide as we cover the best things to do on Chania, Greece.

Top Attractions

Begin your time in Chania with a visit to the Nautical Museum of Crete. Here, you’ll learn about the seafaring ways of the people of Crete. This history goes all the way back to the Bronze Age when the Minoans were at their peak.

You’ll be greeted on the first floor by ancient ship models, which sailed before the times of Christ. Displays will fill you in on how labourers built them, and how tradespeople conducted repairs. End your time on this floor by checking out a model of Chania during Venetian times.

Upstairs, you’ll see how island residents carried seafaring traditions into modern times. Exhibits that stand out include several Greek Navy ships. Parts of a destroyer and a missile boat are the highlights of this gallery. They show that while unsuccessful, the Hellenic Navy put up a fight against the Nazis in World War II.

Take a super deep dive into Crete’s past by dropping by the Archaeological Museum of Chania. The building itself has a story worth telling, as it was formerly the Monastery of Saint Francis. It served as a home for Franciscan monks until the Ottomans invaded.

It then served as a mosque until the 20th century, when its use shifted once more. From a movie house to a military armoury in WWII, it served many purposes. It wasn’t until 1962 that it became a museum.

In its hallways, you’ll find a treasure trove of pottery, statues, busts, and other priceless artifacts. Minoan, Greek, and Roman times are all represented here. Visit soon, as the government is set to replace this gorgeous building with a modern replacement.

Chania has been an important city for thousands of years. As such, protection from invaders and raiders was vitally important. Walk the walls of its coastal defences by visiting Firkas Fortress. The Ottoman Turks built this mighty military installation in the early 17th century.

It remained in their hands until 1913, when Crete once again became part of Greece. The reunification ceremony took place here, with the blue and white Greek flag rising above its ramparts. Here, you’ll get great views of the harbour and the surrounding town, so be sure to take pictures!

While in Crete, fans of religious monuments will want to make room in their itinerary for Chania Cathedral. It was the fixture for Christian celebrations in Chania until the Ottomans took over. Not too fond of Christianity, they opted to turn the place into a soap factory.

It remained this way until the late 19th century. According to legend, Panagia Trimartyri, the patron saint of the former church, appeared to a worker in a dream. Heeding the apparition’s wishes, he quit, taking an idol of the saint with him, as requested.

Shortly after, a child of one of the soap factory’s owners fell in a well south of the facility. He prayed to the patron saint, promising to return the church if his child was saved. The saint saved the child, and as promised, he closed the soap factory and returned it to the community.

Today, the cathedral is an attractive place to have a quiet moment. Take pictures if you wish, but respect those who are there to pray.

Other Attractions

Greece has a long and proud tradition of being a leading football nation. Explore the exploits of the Greek National Team at the Greek National Football Museum. Here, you’ll find all manner of sports paraphernalia, with the 2004 Euro Cup being the central focal point.

Understandably, this will appeal to sports fans and Greek citizens. However, with free entry, it’s a great place to go if the weather isn’t cooperating on your holiday.

Ever wonder what it was like to live large in the Bronze Age? Thanks to Minoan’s World, you can learn. This modern facility plunges you into the Minoan Era with a 9D full-assault on the senses. In their cinema, you’ll be tossed about, rained/snowed on, and be jolted as you experience the daily life of a Minoan.

In the museum portion, 3D displays will inform and entertain. Many offer fun photo ops, so don’t forget to bring your camera!

End your time in Chania with an evening spent along the Old Venetian Harbor. As you stroll, you’ll find a lighthouse built by the Venetians, and modified by the Egyptians. After taking a few pictures, go shopping, or relax in a cafe, restaurant, or bar. All of Chania comes here in the evening, so people-watching opportunities are everywhere.