Chania Crete – A Venetian harbor filled with uniquely decorated tavernas, bars, and shops greets you upon arrival. And traces of history can be seen from every angle – an old Turkish Mosque, a Jewish Synagogue, an Orthodox Cathedral, and the Venetian wall to name some.
Like so many of the Greek islands, Chania Crete has a very checkered past.
Chania started off with a Minoan settlement around 1100 BC and then fell to Byzantine rule around 400 – 1200 AD…Then came the Venetians, thereafter, the Ottomans (Turkish) and finally the Greeks took the island in the early 1900s.
While walking around the picturesque ‘old town’ you can see remnants of the various periods. And Chania was also heavily involved during WWII. The British forces that faced the invading Germans were able to hold them off for quite some time.
If you arrive by boat, there’s a beautiful marina found after entering a small commercial port.
Within the commercial area, tour boats and ferries go in and out.
The visitor’s quayside butts right up to restaurants, pubs, and a serious amount of tourists walking by. No – you won’t get a good night’s sleep while mooring in Chania, however, you’ll truly be able to absorb the eclectic atmosphere!
Alternatively, you can drive to the city but the impact certainly won’t be the same. Once you maneuver yourself through the busy traffic, find a parking garage, and walk for a while you eventually make it to the beautiful port.
We had to extend our stay in Rethymno to wait for a friend to arrive at the airport. While waiting, we decided to drive to Chania. The drive wasn’t bad. Upon arrival at the ‘new town’ however, I thought it would never end. The traffic was terrible and I felt as we were wasting time being in such a built-up area.
My view changed once I saw the harbor entrance, the Venetian wall, and the whole harbor – what a beautiful sight.
While walking around, we stopped off at one of the uniquely decorated tavernas. It was great to see that they were very kid-friendly. The restaurant had cartoons playing on the TV’s, a kid playroom in the back and a child-size toilet and sink! We ate at Zepos and I can highly recommend it – the food was excellent.
I was so impressed with my Shrimp Saganaki that I wrote a blog about it. Read Shrimp Saganaki – Britican’s way
After our lovely lunch, we wandered around the harbor making our way to the marina.
We stopped off at various stores and had a little nose. Unfortunately, for us, every Greek Island (and there are thousands) has the same tourist offerings. The pictures on the T-Shirts are the same but the island written along the bottom changes.
Sadly, every tourist shop has varying sized wooden penis can-openers.
If I never see another penis can opener again, I’ll be happy.
To my surprise, there was also a Starbucks. It’s the first Starbucks I’ve seen since I left the UK! I’m sure they’re dotted around on various islands as I know Cyprus has several, but I always find it difficult when they put one in the middle of an ‘old town’.
Chania Crete was very busy when we took a stroll through the harbor and ‘old town’.
I felt as if there must have been 20 busloads of tourists. Surprisingly, I didn’t hear English spoken as the crowds pass by. I did, however, overhear an American waiter tell an American couple how he ended up living in Crete – came out for vacation, met a girl, got married, and now has children.
Whenever I hear my fellow Americans my ears perk up – they are very few and far between all the other hoards of travelers.
Our intention was to eventually sail to Chania Crete after our friend arrived, however, the wind was right to make it to Santorini so instead of extending our stay in Crete, we said our ‘good bye’s’ and left Rethymno.
Overall, I loved Chania Crete – yes it was busy, crowded, and surrounded by a modern dusty city, but the ‘old town’ was unique, colorful, and full of history.
My daughter was entertained while we ate and there were loads of things to see as we walked along. My husband is a history buff, so we stopped at every historical plaque to read about the areas checkered past.
We did get stung on buying some DVD’s from a DVD sale man, so buyer beware if you decided to purchase a pirated DVD. We were told that all the movies we purchased were in English and only one was. It’s a bit depressing when you get ready for a movie night and movie after the movie starts off in Russian, German or Italian! Until now, all the DVDs we’ve purchased have been good so it looks like our luck ran out this particular time.
Anyway, if time permitted I would have like to have moored our boat in Chania marina.
Read All My Articles About Crete other than Chania Crete
To get a synopsis of all the places we visited in Crete, visit Exploring Crete. Otherwise, here lists all the articles:
- Agios Nikolaos, Gournia, Mochlos and Vai Beach
- Knosos, Aqua Park and Elounda
- Anchored off of Spinalonga Island Crete
- Anchoring off the town of Bali
- A tour of Rethymno
- Agia Galini, Gortys and the Amari Valley
- Agios Nikolaos Marina – Crete: A review
- Rethymno Marina – Crete: A review
Check Out Some Other Areas – Greece & The Mediterranean
If you’d like a breakdown of all the places we’ve visited while sailing the Mediterranean please read our destination overview: Sailing The Mediterranean. Otherwise, check out more posts about our time spent in Greece.
- The Greek Ionian Islands
- Corinth Canal
- Poros Greece
- Kos Marina
- Methoni, Greece