Chania Travel Guide
This summer I visited Crete for the first time thanks to Aegean Airlines and their Sunshine discount. Myself and five other content creators explore Greece and its beautiful islands so we could bring some of the best spots to you. Our first destination was Crete, Chania to be specific, and below is a short travel guide I have put together for those looking to visit!
Chania is Crete’s most beautiful city thanks to its Venetian old town that is gently lapped by the Mediterranean Sea. It doesn’t take long to fall in love with this charming city, it’s also a great base to explore the local area, especially its beautiful Blue Flag beaches. It is located to the west of the island, 2 hours west of the main tourist city of Heraklion.
Getting to Chania
I flew with Aegean Airlines from London Heathrow Airport direct to Athens where I spent a night exploring Greece’s incredible capital city. The next morning we hopped on a flight to Chania which took just 50 minutes! The airport is just a 20 minute journey by car to Chania itself, making it a super convenient city to visit.
Where to stay in Chania
Domes Noruz Chania
Located right on the beach, Domes Noruz Chania offers luxury boutique accommodation in one of Chania’s most beautiful areas. The hotel is an adult only, ultra hip hotel with exercise classes right on the beach, a stunning restaurant and accommodation that makes the most of the beautiful sea views.
The domed architecture is inspired by Chania’s Venetian shipyards, there are two swimming pools, a spa, fully equipped gym and popular boutique store. There are 83 rooms in an ultra modern style built around two pools, rooms are characterised by high ceilings, luxury furnishings, wooden floors, sliding doors and lots of mirrors.
Guest rooms have plunge pools of different sizes or outdoor bathtubs, all balconies have either a sea or pool view.
Prices start from £180 in low season and £450 in high season.
Serenissima Boutique Hotel
Located in the heart of Chania and situated in the perfect spot for exploring, shopping and eating out, Serenissima Boutique Hotel is a luxurious 5* hotel that is committed in offering guests a calm and luxurious environment. The building is of great historical importance to the town and has been renovated sympathetically to bring the best of old and new together.
Arches from the Venetian period are evident throughout the building inspiring an elegant and romantic atmosphere, while the unique fully restored Ottoman bath (Hammam) represents the main concept of the hotel’s philosophy: serenity, luxury and relaxation.
Prices start from £140 in low season and £230 in peak season.
Designed for those wanting a large living space and ample facilities, Spring Apartments are located in the heart of Chania City, perfect for shopping and just a short walk to the Venetian Harbour, a perfect combination for families in particular. Facilities include a fully-equipped kitchenette, high-speed Internet, satellite TV channels and free private parking, making it super easy to hire a car, parking is more difficult in the old town.
Spring provide two bedroom or three bedroom options, so it is also great for friends travelling together too! Daily cleaning service is provided (except on a sunday) and complimentary airport transfers are available also!
Prices start from £130 per night.
Where to eat in Chania
There is a reason why Salis Restaurant is packed every night, it has a great reputation throughout locals and tourists alike, thanks to the incredible service, sophisticated atmosphere, and the homegrown produce provided. Salis offers a creative twist on traditional Cretan and Mediterranean cuisine, it isn’t the cheapest restaurant on the island but each dish is well worth the price.
If you want to dine in breathtaking surroundings, Tholos is one of the most beautiful establishments in Chania. Located in the heart of the old town, Tholos is tucked away behind the cathedral. The restaurant spreads over a number of different levels which are linked by stone staircases, backed by matching stone walls, creating an almost cavelike environment.
The menu offers Cretan cuisine and is well known for its incredible salads and vegetable dishes.
Who doesn’t love an ice cream when on holiday? Let’s Spoon is the best spot in Chania for ice cream and frozen yoghur, it also happens to be in a great spot at the entrance of the Venetian Harbour so you can pick up an ice cream and go and enjoy the seafront!
Things to do in Chania
Admire the old town
My favourite thing to do in Chania was wake up early and walk the narrow streets o the venetian old town. Watch business owners set up for the day and enjoy a hot cup of coffee before the rest of the tourists have even got out of bed!
Go to the beach
Crete has many incredible beaches and Chania is no exception! Check out the beaches in the section below to find the right one for you.
Visit a winery
Crete offers some incredible wines and Manousakis Winery is the best on the island. Situated in stunning countryside, Manousakis Winery is run by Alexandra, the daughter of Ted Manousakis who was born in the area before moving to America and having Alexandra and her siblings. Ted later returned to Crete where he established the winery and created a beautiful, romantic environment, perfect for wine tasting and a spot of food.
The winery produces 150,000 bottles of its own wine each year using sustainable techniques in a “mosaic” style of cultivation, whilst a long process, it pays off, as the Manousakis wine is some of the best I have tasted!
Gramvousa and Balos Boat Tour
If you fancy a day dipping your toes into crystal clear waters, check out the trips to Gramvousa and Balos, two of the best known beaches on the western side of Crete. Balos Lagoon is a place of exceptional beauty with turquoise and shallow warm waters, perfect for families and those who want a beautiful, calm swimming spot.
Enjoy a challenging trek through one of Europe’s longest gorges, Samaria. Samaria Gorge is located 4,000 feet above sea level, tours will pick up from Chania and take you through beautiful landscapes to Omalos in the White Mountains. Travellers then trek over rocks and stones, through a forest of thousand-year-old trees, along a river and by freshwater springs, taking in the spectacular views of Crete’s most beautiful mountain range along the way. The trek whilst stunning, is somewhat challenging and can take between 5 to 6 hours, it is not recommended for young children or pregnant women.
Sunset Boat Cruise
Is there anything better than a Greek sunset? A Greek sunset over the sea of course, with interesting information about Chania and the island of Crete along the way.
Crete is surrounded by crystal clear waters so dive in and see what the Aegean Sea has to offer. Tours include pick up from hotels in Chania, transport to Almyrida Beach which is 27km from the city centre, a boat cruise, snorkelling equipment and transfer back to Chania at the end of the trip. Sail to secluded beaches that can only be reached by boat and swim and snorkel, the boat trip itself lasts for 3 hours and travellers also have the opportunity to get on a paddle board too!
Best Beaches in Chania
Loutraki Beach is popular with families thanks to its location close to Chania town and the fact it is sheltered by strong winds, creating a safe swimming environment.
Agioi Apostoloi Beach
One of the most popular beaches in Chania, Agioi Apostoloi is just 3km away and is well known amongst tourists and locals alike. It can get pretty busy during the peak summer season but even then its still a great beach to visit. The beach is completely sandy with safe waters, there are plenty of accommodation options nearby and places to enjoy lunch or a refreshing drink.
75km from Chania lies Elafonisi Beach, a beach famous for the pink hue of its sand, you can get there by daily bus service from Chania city or by car or even by boat. What many don’t realise is the fact the beach is on an island, but the water is so shallow that you can walk to it from the mainland, sometimes without even getting your feet wet! It is a protected island and in 2014 was the only Greek beach in the top 25 beaches in the world!
Falassarna bay hosts some of the most famous beaches in Greece, many which have been awarded as the best in Crete and one of the 10 best beaches in Europe on numerous occasions. Falasarna spans a long area and consists of five beautiful beaches, the two in the middle tend to be the favourites.
*Please note this article was written as part of a paid partnership with Aegean Airlines to promote their Sunshine Discount.
How it works: The bigger the difference between your departure airport’s temperature and the temperature of the Greek destination you are flying to, the bigger the discount you get!