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Useful things to know about Chania

  • Chania is the second largest city on the island of Crete.
  • It has a beautiful, but crumbling, Venetian port.
  • In Minoan times the city was called Kydonia, which is Greek for quince.
  • The island only became Greek after enosis in 1913.
  • A large part of the population was murdered by the Germans in World War II in reprisal for resistance.

Chania Mini Guide

Chania is one of the four prefectures of Crete. At the heart of it is the city of Chania which is the capital of the prefecture of Chania. This old city was known as Cydonia by the Greeks and was at the heart of the Minoan civilisation. Old coins and other archaeological finds were unearthed which proved their existence.

chania crete at night

Over the years Chania was ruled by many different peoples including the Ottomans and the Venetians. Not only is Chania the second largest city of Crete but it is very beautiful, particularly the old Venetian harbour where there are handsome buildings lining the waterways that have been used by sailors and fishermen over the centuries.

view of chania gulf crete

More than one hundred thousand people live in Chania, but with this number swelling significantly because of summer tourists you would be well advised to book your car hire in Chania before you plan to fly. With a car you can drive the distance along the Gulf of Chania seeing amazing sights along the way. Chania has an interesting old town as well as a modern city centre where most of the business and commerce is conducted. The area around the town is full of spectacular nature trails and walks. A coastal route called 'The Balcony' for obvious reasons, is particlulary jaw-dropping with is rugged scenery and birds eye view.

Latest Update from Chania:

01/05/12 - Cretan's love their festivities and nowhere more so than in Chania. Every month there's at least one festival with the summer festival a huge event of almost national importance where many performers from all over Crete come to display their skills in music, dance and poetry. If you're there when it's on, don't miss it.

Driving in Chania - Need to know



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Chania is a pretty town on the west coast of Crete. It had an impressive history as a Venetian city and the old port bears testament to this. The narrow streets of the old town are picturesque and photogenic, spawning myriad paintings of it by local artists.

In the Chania area there are dozens of little villages which better preserve the old Cretan way of life. They are easily reached by hire car and reward a relaxed trip around the area with views of old ladies perched atop weary donkeys whilst the coffee shops remain full of their menfolk.

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