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10 Best Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece

Best Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece

Best Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece

Best Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece – Chania is charming and beautiful to visit. Walking through the central streets, you don’t have the idea of ​​being in a metropolis but rather in a characteristic place. Chania is the right combination of a historical and modern city for the tourist. But what are the best things to do in Chania and to visit?

Video Best things to do in Chania Crete & Walking Tour

Before to continue reading the post, watch the following video “Best things to do in Chania Crete & Walking Tour”. You can see the best things to do and see in Chania by day and by night.

Best Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece

Content Guide

  1. 00:00 Chania: nice town to visit
  2. 00:30 01. The Old Venetian Port
  3. 00:56 02. The Ottomans & Hassan Mosque
  4. 01:34 03. Hotels, shops, and restaurants
  5. 02:06 04. Chania by night
  6. 03:06 05. The Maritime Museum of Crete
  7. 03:35 06. The Firkas fortress
  8. 06:15 07. The Lighthouse
  9. 07:48 08. The Great Arsenal
  10. 08:25 09. The Historic center
  11. 10:58 10. Sunset in front of Lazaretta Island
  12. 12:22 Suggested videos

Text of the video

Chania is a nice town to visit. Walking through the central streets, you don’t have the idea of being in a metropolis but rather in a characteristic place. Chania is the right combination of a historical and modern city for the tourist. But what are the best things to do in Chania and to visit?

The place where you can start your visit is the Old Venetian Port. The Old Venetian Port of Chania is a must for anyone in this area of Crete. This port has a long history as the Venetians built it between 1320 and 1356 and then expanded in the 16th century.

Chania did not always remain under Venetian domination, as in 1645, it was conquered by the Ottomans. This Ottoman influence is also clearly visible in the Old Venetian Port due to the presence of the Hassan Mosque, today a clear symbol of this domination. The Mosque is no longer used for its original purpose. The former mosque is now an exhibition hall.

The port has a semicircular shape and here you can find hotels, shops, and restaurants.

The restaurants at the Old Venetian Port are suitable both for a light and delicious lunch, maybe eating a Cretan salad while you enjoy the view, and for dinner in a Cretan atmosphere.

In the evening, the lights of the buildings along the port reflect on the sea; this is a beautiful sight to see.

In the area of the Old Venetian Port there is also the Maritime Museum of Crete. The Maritime Museum of Crete was established in 1973 to house and showcase Greek and Cretan maritime traditions. The Maritime Museum of Crete is located at the entrance of the Firkas Fortress, which the Venetians built to house their prison. The Venetians used this fortress for the period from 1204 to 1645.  Subsequently, the Ottomans used it for the same purpose from 1645 to 1898. The Ottomans established their Division Command here.

The Firkas fortress includes the oldest Genoese tower. The fortress includes buildings used as barracks and weapons depots while also serving as the base of the city’s military commander. 

Following the Ottoman occupation, the fortress, which still retains its Turkish name “Firkas” (= barracks), was used as a military command base, barracks, and later as a prison (during the German occupation). The 1 December 1913, the flag of the Union of Crete with Greece was symbolically hung over the small watchtower.

In front of us, we have the lighthouse of the Old Venetian Port. 

You can reach the lighthouse on foot with a long walk on the pier. The walk is pleasant, but especially in summer, it is better to plan to do it in the early morning or the evening, when the heat is not too intense. In fact, it is almost entirely in the sun during the day.

A place of particular interest at the Old Venetian Port is the Great Arsenal. Today this place hosts exhibitions and events.

Being the exhibitions inside, the Great Arsenal is a good idea, especially on the hot summer days when you need a break.

It’s interesting to visit both from an architectural point of view and for the exhibitions it hosts.

Once you have visited and walked along the Old Venetian Port of Chania, you can better explore the historic center of this town. You’ll discover different historical or highly characteristic places to photograph.

Among the other things you can do in Chania, there are different boat tours. One of these is the sunset boat tour to see the sunset in front of Lazaretta Island.

Coming back from the tour, you can also see the beautiful Chania by night from the boat.

In the meantime, I greet you; see you in the next video! Bye

Top 10 things to do in Chania

But what are the best things to do in Chania and to visit? Here you can find our list.

  1. Ancient Venetian port
  2. Firkas Fortress (free)
  3. Streets in the center of Chania
  4. Walk to the Venetian Lighthouse
  5. Sunset on a sailing boat
  6. Minoan’s World the 9D Experience
  7. Maritime Museum of Crete
  8. Lunch or Dinner at the Old Venetian Port
  9. The Great Arsenal
  10. Horse-drawn carriage ride

Old Venetian Harbor

The Old Venetian Port of Chania is a must for anyone in this area of ​​Crete. This port has a long history as the Venetians built it between 1320 and 1356 and then expanded in the 16th century.

Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece: Old Venetian Harbor

Chania did not always remain under Venetian domination, as in 1645, it was conquered by the Ottomans. This Ottoman influence is also clearly visible in the Old Venetian Port due to the presence of the Küçük Hassan Mosque, today a clear symbol of this domination. The Küçük Hassan Mosque is no longer used for its original purpose. The former mosque is now an exhibition hall.

The port has a semicircular shape, and on one side you can find hotels, shops, and restaurants.

Its form means that in the evening, the lights of the buildings along the port reflect on the sea; this is a beautiful sight to see.

What to do in the Venetian Port of Chania?

The Venetian port, as well as being beautiful to see, is a place for walks and meeting places. Also, there are good bars and restaurants.

Most restaurants around the Antico Porto Veneziano have both a dining room inside and tables outside. Very pleasant to sit outside and enjoy the view.

View from the restaurants at the Ancient Venetian Harbor Chania Crete Greece

Harbour Balcony

There is a square that is a balcony on the Old Venetian Port.

This is a great vantage point of the harbor but I cannot recommend it as it is a place left to decay and does not seem completely safe.

Probably from the port, you will see someone in this raised square and you will wonder how to reach it. I leave you his position just for the sake of completeness.

Firkas Fortress

The Firkas Fortress is located near the Venetian Port and overlooks the sea. 

Entrance building Maritime Museum of Crete and Firkas Fortress Chania Crete. Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece.

To access the fortress, head towards the Maritime Museum, and right next to the entrance of this museum, you will find the gate that allows you to enter the fortress’s courtyard. Access to the fortress is free.

Opening Times

Here are the opening times of the fortress.

Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece: Firkas Fortress opening times

The Venetian fortifications

The improvement of artillery technology and the expansion of the Ottoman Empire led Venice, in the mid-sixteenth century, to construct fortifications for the safety of the new parts and the port near the city of Chania. The final decision was taken in February 1538, when the Veronese engineer Michele Sanmichieli was ordered to go to Crete with clear instructions for constructing the new fortifications.

Their oldest known project dates back to 1572 and probably represents the original proposal of Sanmichieli, to whom both the design and construction are due. The alternation of bastions and system of rectilinear parts (bastion front) followed, and according to the plans, the fortifications had an almost rectangular shape, with four basic, solid, heart-shaped bastions at the corners, while the knights (knights) and also low places (low squares) were built for their further reinforcement.

Description and history of the Firkas Fortress

The Firkas fortress (Rivellino del Porto or San Salvatore). Firka Fortress, as it is known today, was built under the aforementioned program. 

Firkas Fortress Chania Crete Greece. Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece.

It has a trapezoidal shape and continues the rectilinear part (curtain) of the San Salvatore bastion with a southerly and inward direction of the western basin of the port, while its northwestern part includes the oldest Genoese tower.

Genoese tower Chania. Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece

Its construction began around 1580 and was completed in the early 17th century. It is founded on rocks and protected by a thick inclined wall; loopholes were built in its circular path.

The fortress includes buildings used as barracks and weapons depots while also serving as the base of the city’s military commander. The construction of the barracks in the western wing was carried out at a later stage. It is a building with two floors and vaulted rooms and is annexed to the monastery of San Salvatore. On the jamb of the first floor, decorated with the Lion of Venice (emblem of the Serenissima Republic of Venice), there is an inscription that mentions the Governor General of Kydonia Alvise Bragadin and the date 1620.

The internal space of the fortress is formed on three levels. A vaulted cistern was built on the first level of the entrance. The second, lower level was connected to the great vaults on the north side, where the low protected loopholes were located. The third, higher level was formed by the terrace of the vaults and the highest slits were placed on it.

Following the Ottoman occupation, the fortress, which still retains its Turkish name “Firkas” (= barracks), was used as a military command base, barracks, and later as a prison. The 1 December 1913, the flag of the Union of Crete with Greece was symbolically hung over the small watchtower.

It was used as a prison during the German occupation and the civil war. From the decade of the 1950s onwards, the fortress ceased to have military use. It served as an area for cultural activities and housed the warehouses and conservation laboratories of the Ministry of Culture. In the early 1970s, the building at the entrance became the seat of the Maritime Museum of Crete.

Streets of the old town of Chania

Center of Chania: historical and characteristic corners

Once you have visited and walked along the Old Venetian Port of Chania, you can better explore the historic center of this town. You’ll discover different historical or highly characteristic places to photograph.

Venetian Fountain

The Venetian Fountain is placed in the center of the square or Platia El. Venizelou. The Venetian fountain of Chania is smaller than the Venetian fountain of Heraklion. The fountain itself is nice but the problem is that in the summer, it sometimes becomes the personal pool of the pigeons, who come here to cool off due to the great heat.

Streets of the historic center

In the historic center of Chania, there are wide pedestrian streets where you can walk, shop or rest comfortably seated in one of the bars in the center.

Restaurants and bars

Walking through the streets of the center of Chania, you will also find several bars and restaurants. I advise you to walk not only along the main streets but also on the narrower neighboring streets. You will find very nice and characteristic corners.

In Chania we also find several ice cream shops

There are also many ice cream shops in Chania: with the summer heat, ice cream is refreshing.

Chania: a city of contrast

The city of Chania is a city full of contrasts between the old and the new. Examples include the Starbucks coffee shop on one side and the dilapidated building on the opposite corner of the street.

Walk to the Venetian Lighthouse

We have the lighthouse in front of this semicircular part of the Old Venetian Port. 

You can reach the lighthouse on foot with a long walk on the pier. The walk is pleasant, but especially in summer, it is better to plan to do it in the early morning or the evening, when the heat is not too intense. In fact, it is almost entirely in the sun during the day.

See the sunset from the boat

A great way to spend the first part of the evening in Chania is to go by boat to see the sunset in front of the small Lazaretta Island. Several tours depart in the evening from the Old Venetian Port of Chania to take you to see the sunset.

We chose to go sailing: it was a great experience because, in addition to being able to see the sunset well, it is always pleasant to take a nice boat ride and be able to observe the coast from the sea.

Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece Chania Coast from the see 5

Upon returning from the boat tour, we were already at the Ancient Venetian Port of Chania and we just needed to choose one of the excellent restaurants, or taverns as they are commonly called, to enjoy an excellent dinner and end the evening well.

Minoan’s World the 9D Experience

Minoan’s World the 9D Experience is a 9D cinema with the main theme of Crete and Knossos. This attraction is definitely not one of those things to see absolutely in Crete but it is a very pleasant, fun, and relaxing experience.

The cinema itself is not very large and as soon as you enter you will find the cash desk on the right where you can buy tickets.

Do I need to buy tickets in advance for Minoan’s World the 9D Experience?

From our experience, there is no need to buy tickets in advance. Probably the location not really in the old town of Chania prevents it from being too crowded. However, it gave me the impression that it is quite popular.

The hall with the statues and paintings of Crete

Waiting for your show is very pleasant as the room where the ticket office is located is frescoed all around (and also on the ceiling) with images depicting the life, mythology and traditions of Knossos in the past.

Next to the frescoes, there are also statues, or rather mannequins, always depicting characters from Knossos in ancient times.

Also reproduced is the throne of the throne room, which you can visit at the ruins of Knossos.

Everything acquires meaning and greater value thanks to the descriptions that explain what is depicted and give you some historical notes of Knossos.

And last but not least, there is the writing “I Love Creta”. Excellent for taking a picture of yourself that will remain as a souvenir of your trip.

Things to do in Chania Crete Minoans World the 9D Experience I Love Crete

Minoan’s World the 9D Experience screenings

Once the movie time arrives, they make you sit in the cinema room. Three main mini-movies are shown one after the other:

During the movies, you will wear 3D glasses, your chair will move, there will be air effects, water splashes, soap bubbles, and other similar effects.

Language Minoan’s World the 9D Experience

The screening of Minoan’s World the 9D Experience is available in various languages. However, there is not only one projection in the Greek language, one only in English, one only in French, and so on, but the language is selected directly on your chair thanks to the use of earphones. So all those present in the room wear earphones and can hear the audio in their language or, in any case, if not available in the chosen language.

How much is the ticket price?

You can see the prices in the following image. Prices August 2022.

Things to do in Chania Crete Minoans World the 9D Experience ticket prices

How long does the visit to Minoan’s World the 9D Experience last?

The visit in total does not take long. It takes between 30 and 45 minutes approximately.

Maritime Museum of Crete

The Maritime Museum of Crete is located, with the sea in front of you, at the left end of the ancient Venetian Port of Chania.

In particular, the Maritime Museum of Crete is located at the entrance to the Firkas Fortress, which was built by the Venetians to house their prison. The Venetians used this fortress for the period from 1204 to 1645.

Things to do in Chania Crete Maritime Museum of Crete

Subsequently, the Ottomans used it for the same purpose from 1645 to 1898. The Ottomans established their Division Command here.

The Maritime Museum of Crete was established in 1973 to house and showcase Greek and Cretan maritime traditions.

Crete Chania What to do view from inside the gate of the Maritime Museum of Crete

The museum exhibits show models of warships and merchant ships, weapons, shell collections, and relics from the Battle of Crete.

In the following images, you can see the opening hours of the Maritime Museum of Crete and the cost of the ticket.

Great Arsenal

A place of particular interest at the Old Venetian Port is the Great Arsenal. Today this place hosts exhibitions and events. It’s interesting visiting it both from an architectural point of view, and for the exhibitions it hosts.

Being a covered place to visit inside, a visit to the Great Arsenal is a great idea, especially on particularly hot days. In fact, this is a great place to take a break in the shade while expanding your culture at the same time.

Horse-drawn carriage ride

At the Old Venetian Harbor of Chania, you will also find horse carriages waiting for you to take you around the city. The carriage ride always has its charm!

Things not to do in Chania

Among the various attractions and tours offered at the Ancient Venetian Port of Chania, there is also the tour in the partially submerged submarine. This tour attracts many tourists to the idea of ​​observing the fish in their natural habitat comfortably seated without diving.

The partially submerged submarine is a nice thing in itself, and in other contexts, I have already had the opportunity to do similar tours. The problem with this particular tour is that the tour is very limited to the port’s surroundings, and therefore, not many species of fish are seen.

Then it is not recommended for those more sensitive to seasickness because it is easy to feel discomfort in the submarine.

Chania where to stay?

There are many offers of hotels and rooms to sleep in Chania, but what to choose and above all in which area is better to stay? As for the type of hotel or room, it depends on you and your preferences.

However, I would like to advise you on the area of ​​Chania in which to choose for the hotel. If you had only to look and consider the place’s beauty, I would recommend that you sleep in one of the hotels at the Old Venetian Port of Chania. The problem is, you can’t drive this far. Same problem for many streets of the historic center. If you have a lot of luggage, choosing a hotel in the historical center is not advisable.

Just to give you an idea, I can tell you that every day I saw many tourists who dragged their suitcases along the port, on the steps, and around the center. It is fine as long as it is hand luggage; it is less good when the luggage is heavier and bulky.

If you don’t want to lug your suitcases all over Chania, it is better to choose the hotel, not in the historic center but nearby and with parking inside or at least adjacent. In this way, you can reach the historic center of Chania and the Old Venetian Port on foot but without the hassle of parking and suitcases.

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FAQ

Here some Frequent Asked Questions about the subject “Things to do in Chania town Crete Greece”

Is Chania worth visiting?

Yes, it is! Chania, despite being the second largest city of Crete, is charming. When you stroll through the central streets, you don’t have the idea of ​​being in a metropolis but rather in a characteristic place. Chania is the right combination between a historic city and a modern city.

What is Chania Greece known for?

The best part of Chania is the Old Venetian Port, and in fact Chania is Known especially port this part of the city. This port has a long history as the Venetians built it between 1320 and 1356 and then expanded it in the 16th century.
The port is semicircular, and here you can find hotels, shops, and restaurants.
Its form means that in the evening, the lights of the buildings along the port reflect on the sea; this is a beautiful sight to see.

How many days do you need in Chania?

In Chania, you need two days to visit the city and also do some boat tours. If you want to visit also the nearby attractions, you can stay in Chania for 3 of 4 days.

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