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. There are also super fast ferries all year round, travelling to and from Chania in about 4.5 hours, leaving at 4.30 pm and arriving at 8.30 pm.
Chania is a beautiful city. The most beautiful in Crete, one might even say in the whole of Greece. Chania has a natural, privileged, well-protected beauty. Sleepless guardians to the south stand the gigantic Madares mountains in all their indestructible, panoramic glory. To the north stretches the multicoloured immensity of the Sea of Crete, embraced by its gorgeous, long-armed capes. And all around lies its land, scarlet and green-haired, sown with wild silver gorges.
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 heart of Chania is still the old town, with its narrow, labyrinthine alleyways and listed buildings dating from different periods, where you can enjoy romantic strolls. Many of these buildings have been turned into small hotels, restaurants, shops or homes.
Don’t hesitate to wander round the alleys of the old town, looking for the lovely images that await you. Your camera must be your inseparable companion, as Chania is one of the most-photographed cities in Greece.
The old town stretches out parallel to the Venetian harbour, from Firkas Fortress and the Maritime Museum to the “Pyli tis Ammou” (Gate of the Sand, or Koum Kapi in Turkish) to the east of the arsenals. This is the part of town within the Venetian walls and includes Byzantine Chania, once enclosed within less extensive walls.
The Byzantine walls protected the fortress of Kastelli, the hill which was first inhabited in the Neolithic period.
Kastelli Hill rises above the Turkish mosque in the Venetian harbour. Here stood the acropolis of ancient Kydonia, the Minoan Chania. There, too, was built the first Byzantine fortress, the Kastelli, surrounded by walls with many towers and bastions. The Venetians established their headquarters there in 1252, building the Rector’s Residence (the Rector was the Governor of Chania), while the same site was the seat of the pashas during the Turkish Occupation.
During the last years of Turkish rule, the Christian aristocracy lived inside the Kastelli. Unfortunately most of the district was destroyed by bombing during the Second World War, and its medieval aspect was lost forever. Today only the base of the north wall remains. There is also the main road that once ran through the Kastelli, modern-day Kanevaro Street with its imposing mansions.
There is a wealth of natural and historical sites to be explored and a diverse range of activities and excursions available. No visit to Chania however would be complete without a stroll through the central market – the assortment of fresh local produce, cheeses, meats and seafood is guaranteed to make your mouth water! Along the narrow alleyways you will discover tiny workshops that continue to ply traditional crafts such as cobblery, pottery, wood working and barrel making, chair lacing and embroidery and weaving.