Chania (also called Hania) is a beautiful port town on the northwest coast of Crete, with an atmosphere matching its Turkish and Venetian past. It is Crete’s most evocative town, with its beautiful Venetian quarter crisscrossed by tight lanes and climaxing at a sumptuous harbor.
How to reach Chania?
There are many daily flights from Athens via Olympic Airlines and Aegean Airlines to Chania International Airport. You can also take a ferry if you love waters. Ferry services from Piraeus port in Athens to Chania anchor at the port of Souda.
If you want to drive to Chania, Highway E75 (A90) is the way to go. Hiring a car is pretty straightforward with the routine documentation (an EU driving license is acceptable.)
Top Attractions in Chania
Hania Archaeological Museum
The environment alone in the elegantly restored 16th-century CE Venetian Church of San Francisco is a reason to visit this fine collection of artifacts from the early Neolithic to late Roman times. Late-Minoan mystical clay baths reportedly used as coffins can treat your eyes, along with a huge glass case with an entire herd of clay bulls. Other standouts include Hellenistic gold jewelry, Roman floor mosaics, A marble sculpture of the head of Roman emperor Hadrian, and Clay tablets with Linear A and Linear B script.
There are few spots where Hania’s grandeur and historic charm are more evident than in the ancient Venetian Harbour. It’s lined by pastel-colored structures that punctuate a network of narrow lanes lined with tavernas and shops. The domed Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan dominates the eastern side, now an exhibition hall, while a few steps further east, the beautifully restored Grand Arsenal houses the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture.
Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection
In the beautifully restored Venetian Church of San Salvatore, this tiny but captivating collection of icons, artifacts, jewelry, and coins spans the period from 62 CE to 1913 CE. Highlights include a mosaic floor from an early Christian basilica, a panel recently attributed to El Greco, and an icon of St George slaying the dragon.
Maritime Museum of Crete
Part of the hulking Venetian-made Firkas Fortress at the western port approach, this museum honors Crete’s nautical tradition with maps, naval instruments, model ships, photographs, paintings, and maps memorabilia. One room is devoted to historical sea battles, while upstairs, there’s thorough documentation of the World War II-era Battle of Crete. You might be lucky enough to observe artisans working on new pattern ships in the workroom.
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