Ultimate Guide Crete Balos Beach & Lagoon

Lagoon Crete Balos Beach how to get there

Lagoon Crete Balos Beach how to get there & ultimate guide. This beach is one of the most characteristic and well-known beaches of Crete, but there are some things you should know before going there. For example: how to get there? Is it better to go by boat or by car? How is the dirt road that leads to Balos Lagoon? Are there sunbeds and umbrellas on Balos beach? Are there bathrooms? Is there a bar?

This post will answer these and other questions related to the Balos lagoon and beach.

Video Crete Balos Beach

Watch the following short video before continuing reading.

Crete Balos Beach and Lagoon

Balos beach

This beach is one of the most characteristic and well-known beaches of Crete. You can get to this beach by boat or car, along a long unpaved, bumpy road that allows you to get to a parking lot that is still about twenty minutes from the beach.

The beauty and uniqueness of Balos beach are worth a visit at least. A tip though: if you can go in periods that are not too hot and crowded, you will surely enjoy a much better experience. This is true for all beaches but even more so for Balos beach, given the way you have to reach it.

  • Balos beach balos lagoon from above path Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 1
  • Balos beach balos lagoon from above path Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 2
  • Balos beach balos lagoon from above path Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 3
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  • Balos beach balos lagoon WATER SEA ocean Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 1
  • 1 Balos beach balos lagoon from above path Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 1
  • stairs to balos beach trail viewpoint Balos beach balos lagoon from above path Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 1
  • beaches Crete Balos Beach tripilare 9
  • beaches Crete Balos Beach tripilare 4
  • beaches Crete Balos Beach tripilare 3

Rental of sun loungers and umbrellas

In Balos, it is possible to rent deck chairs and umbrellas. Even though Balos is a very popular beach, it is not possible to reserve sun beds and umbrellas. How does it work then? As is customary in Crete, if you find a free place, you simply have to occupy it and the attendant then comes to ask you for payment.

  • Crete Balos Beach Rental of sun loungers and umbrellas 3
  • Crete Balos Beach Umbrellas and sunbeds rent
  • Crete Balos Beach Umbrella and sunbeds rent
  • Crete Balos Lagoon and Balos Beach with ombrellas and sunbeds
  • Crete Balos Beach Rental of sun loungers and umbrellas 1
  • Crete Balos Beach Rental of sun loungers and umbrellas 2

For example, in periods of particular crowding, such as around mid-August, there is a paying agent for each area of ​​umbrellas. On other less frequented beaches, the attendant arrives in the late morning but here, when there is a particular influx of tourists, they are practically always present.

Will I have trouble finding a free umbrella?

Clearly, the answer depends on the period in which you go to Balos. But thinking about the peak seasons, I can tell you that if you arrive early in the morning or around 9 am by car you shouldn’t have any problems finding a free umbrella. If, on the other hand, you arrive by boat from the port of Kissamos, you may have more problems, as the beach may already be quite crowded and the mass arrival of hundreds of people does not facilitate the arduous task of finding a free umbrella.

Crete Balos by boat from Kissamos a lot of people come on board the boat
Crete Balos by boat from Kissamos: a lot of people come on board the boat

Fortunately, on the beach of Balos, many people are arriving but also many people go, depending on the departure time of your boat. So with a bit of patience, it is always possible to find a place.

If you come from Kissamos by boat, the alternative is to rent an umbrella on the boat that takes you or to use your staff. Anyway, my opinion is that it is not an optimal solution on days when there is wind.

Rental prices for sunbeds and umbrellas

The prices for renting sun loungers and umbrellas are not indicated on Balos beach. However, in August 2022, the prices were as follows:

  • 20 euros for 1 umbrella and 2 sunbeds in the first row
  • 15 euros for 1 umbrella and 2 sunbeds from the second row onwards.

Are there any bars in Balos?

Yes, there is a small beach bar on Balos. Here is the picture.

  • lagoon crete balos beach bars restaurant buy food and drink 1
  • lagoon crete balos beach bars
  • Bar Balos Beach Crete Greece
  • lagoon crete balos beach bars restaurant buy food and drink 2

However, I recommend that you bring your lunch if possible. In Kissamos supermarkets, they sell the same packaged sandwiches you find on the boat to go to Balos or here at the beach bar.

Balos Beach toilets: Are there toilets at Balos beach?

Balos Beach toilets: are there toilets at Balos beach? Yes, there are toilets in Balos. They are located towards the mountain on the right if you have the sea in front of you and the lagoon behind you. The cost of using the toilet in August 2022 was 1 euro.

  • Crete balos beach toilets 1
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  • Crete balos beach toilets 4

How is the seawater in Balos?

On days with little wind, you can really appreciate the beauty of Balos beach with its crystal clear water and its clear seabed that in some places has pink sand.

In Balos, you can keep walking in the water, but the water is always shallow. You have to go quite far from the beach if you want to swim.

Balos how to get there?

How to get to Balos? You can get to Balos either by car or by boat. The two most used ways to get to Balos are:

  1. by boat service departing from the port of Kissamos
  2. by car or jeep along the dirt road and continuing on foot along the path that leads to the beach

However, there are other ways to get to Balos:

  • By renting a boat
  • In JetSky
  • Through organized tours

By car or jeep and dirt road

You can get to Balos by car in fact, just outside Kissamos, there is the entrance to the dirt road that takes you to the Balos car park. If you are thinking of choosing this option to go to Balos, I would first like to explain how to get there, how the route is, and I would like to give you some useful tips.

  • Crete dirt road to Balos beach and Lagoon 3
  • Crete dirt road to Balos beach and Lagoon 1
  • Crete dirt road to Balos beach and Lagoon 2
Can I take the dirt road to Balos by car?

Every day there are a lot of cars driving the dirt road to Balos. The dirt road to Balos is not very dangerous if you pay particular attention to the points where there is the overhang, as it is wide enough to pass with two cars without problems.

My advice, however, is to prefer the jeep to the car. This is because it is true that cars can drive on it and as already mentioned there are many cars of all kinds that pass along this road (I also saw a Porsche but I don’t know how it went ..) but the road is bumpy and they have to travel at a very low speed.

Balos beach how to get there dirt road
Balos beach how to get there: dirt road

Especially if you have a small car unsuitable for certain routes, you can rent the jeep in Kissamos even just for the day you go to Balos. This way, you will not have problems with insurance and you’re safer.

In fact, you can find rental cars in Kissamos that rent jeeps for Balos; it is normal for them that you go to Balos, and they give you full insurance. Other car rentals may discourage you and tell you to prefer the boat to the car to go to Balos.

Is the dirt road to Balos free?

You have to pay 1 euro per person. Towards the beginning of your journey on the dirt road that leads you to Balos you will find the sign where it is written in English and Greek what I report below:

“Welcome to the Gamvousa-Balos peninsula, a protected natural area. We inform you that by the decision of the Municipality of Kissomos, which has been approved by the Region of Crete, a toll of 1 euro per person is required for the purpose of safeguarding and maintaining the place as well as for the disposal of waste from the area. “

How long does it take to travel the dirt road to Balos?

Getting from the port of Kissamos to the car park for Balos takes about 30 minutes by jeep but if you have a car, you have to go slower and it can also take about 40 or 45 minutes.

On the way, you may slow down or have to stop to let goats pass, the real masters of the place!

Parking at Balos Beach

Once you have arrived at the end of the dirt road, you’ll see the car park gate for Balos beach. The parking is large and if you don’t arrive too late, let’s say in the first half of the morning, you should find the place without difficulty.

Parking is not free but the cost is not high as it is around 2 euros for the whole day.

What happens if you can’t find a place in the car park? If the parking is complete, the alternative is to leave the car along the road. In fact, on our return from the beach, when were leaving, there was a long line of parked cars. If you park the car very far away, it is certainly inconvenient, as you have to add the road to the car to the long distance you already have to go on foot.

  • Crete Balos beach cars parked along the dirt road 1
  • Crete Balos beach cars parked along the dirt road 2
  • Balos beach cars parked along the dirt road and car park entrance
Balos hiking path to the beach

Did I get to Balos beach once I parked the car? It would be nice but it isn’t! Unfortunately, once you parked your car, you are not yet arrived at Balos beach. The car park is located in a higher position than the beach of Balos, and to reach the beach, you must first walk a path in the middle of almost nowhere in the company of practically only goats and then go down a long flight of steps.

The descent along the steps is wonderful because, first of all, the effort is reduced to a minimum downhill, and then because this path allows you to see the most beautiful view of Balos beach. The unique beauty of Balos beach is, in fact, given by its characteristic of being placed between the lagoon and the sea and of joining the promontory you see in front of you to the mainland.

  • crete balos beach trail viewpoint Balos beach balos lagoon from above path Crete things to do Top beaches Crete tripilare 3
  • Crete Balos Lagoon and beach. View from above 3
  • Crete Balos Lagoon and beach. View from above 1
  • Crete Balos Lagoon and beach. View from above 2

To fully enjoy and appreciate Balos beach, you must therefore admire this panorama. If you walk the path early in the morning, you will be able to see the almost deserted beach and admire it in all its splendor. Along the way, you will also have the opportunity to take some great photos. Not too many though, otherwise now that you get to the beach, you will find all the best sunbeds and umbrellas occupied!

Given the road ahead, I highly recommend you wear sneakers. The descent in this way is simpler and safer, without thinking about the ascent.

It takes about 30 minutes to get from the car park to the beach where there are umbrellas.

As we have seen so far, everything is fine when you go down but the problem is to go back up! It will take you between 30 and 45 minutes to get back up if you don’t stop and rest for too long. In fact, this path requires excellent resistance if done all in one breath.

It is almost impossible to do it all in succession in the summer during the hottest hours of the day. In fact, precisely for this reason, you will find small covered corners and therefore with a little shade made on purpose to rest during the ascent. I recommend you bring some water with you to quench your thirst along the way.

return from Balos beach along the path and the flight of steps that takes you to the parking lot
return from Balos beach along the path to the parking lot

Also at the end of the path, where there is the car park, there is a canopy with benches where you can sit and rest for a while. At the end of the day, almost all of them sit under this canopy, a little tired but satisfied to have arrived.

If you have young children, you must take into consideration that you will probably have to carry them in your arms or on your shoulder for most of an already tiring journey.

Precisely a cause of this problem of the somewhat tiring ascent, many people choose to return to the Balos beach late in the evening. In the summer from Kissamos, you can see the cars returning from Balos even when it’s already dark. Returning late from Balos beach, you can avoid going up the path in the heat, which already gives you a great advantage.

Of course, the choice of time to return from Balos also depends a lot on the period in which you go, if warmer or milder, on your travel program, and on your resistance in the ascent. However, if you take into account the above, you can spend a beautiful day at Balos beach and this will certainly be a day to remember for various reasons.

Balos boat trip from Kissamos

A popular option to reach Balos beach is to embark from Kissamos port on one of the boats that go to Balos.

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How to reach the port of Kissamos?

You can reach the port of Kissamos in various ways:

  • by bus
  • by taxi
  • by car

Balos is a very famous beach, so there are several organized tours that depart in the morning from the main towns of Crete and take you to the port of Kissamos and then you can go to Balos. Furthermore, a taxi service is also available at the port of Kissamos.

harbor of Kissamos where tours depart for Balos beach. Here we see the parked buses and the ticket office for the boat tours.
Harbor of Kissamos where boat tours depart for Balos beach. Here we see parked buses and the ticket office for the boat tours.

However, the best option to get to Kissamos port is the car. 

Crete Kissamos port and parking where you can get the boat tour for Balos Beach
Crete Kissamos port and parking where you can get the boat tour for Balos Beach

In fact, you can arrive by car at the port of Kissamos right near the ticket office and boarding areas. The parking is very large and free.

  • Harbor of Kissamos Crete
  • Harbor or port of Kissamos Crete Greece 2
  • Harbor or port of Kissamos Crete Greece 1
Boat tickets

Boat tickets can be purchased directly at the port or online in advance. You can buy tickets online, for example, on the Cretan Daily Cruises website, or from booking apps such as “Get Your Guide”.

ticket office boat tour for Balos Beach Crete
Ticket office boat tour for Balos Beach Crete
How are the boats for Balos?

The boats to Balos are of different sizes; someone is very big, almost ships. On the boats, among other things, there is usually an umbrella rental service and a real self-service. 

  • Crete boat tours departing from the harbor of Kissamos to Balos Beach 3
  • Crete boat tours departing from the harbor of Kissamos to Balos Beach 1
  • Crete boat tours departing from the harbor of Kissamos to Balos Beach 2
  • Crete boat tours departing from the harbor of Kissamos to Balos Beach 4

If the boat you get on in the morning does not have self-service, they usually make you change boats between one stop and the other around lunchtime so that you can take advantage of the self-service. Lunch is clearly not included in the cost of the ticket.

How long before departure do I have to arrive?

If you already have a ticket, you can arrive 30 minutes before departure but it is advisable to arrive 45 minutes earlier. This way, you can find a good shade seat on the boat.

If you do not have a ticket, it is better if you arrive 45 or 50 minutes before departure so that you can take your tickets calmly and get on the boat.

Is there only one boat departure time?

No, there is more than one boat departure time.

Do the boats go directly to Balos?

The tour with the boats departing from Kissamos does not only include Balos. Depending on the departure time of your boat, you could go first to Gramvousa island and then to Balos or vice versa.

Cruise schedule to Gramvousa Island and the lagoon of Balos Beach Crete Boat tour from Kissamos
Cruise schedule to Gramvousa Island and the lagoon of Balos Beach Crete Boat tour from Kissamos

For example, our boat left at 10.15 am from Kissamos port and we didn’t go directly to Balos but we went first to Gramvousa island. Around 1 pm, the boat with the self-service on board came to pick us up and we were able to have lunch on the way between the island of Gramvousa and the beach of Balos.

  • arrival by boat to the beach of Balos Crete beautiful colors of the water 3
  • arrival by boat to the beach of Balos Crete beautiful colors of the water 1
  • arrival by boat to the beach of Balos Crete beautiful colors of the water 2
  • Crete Balos Beach sea water

The boat that left Kissamos at 11 am went first to Balos and then to the island of Gramvousa at around 2 pm.

On Balos beach between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm, there is therefore a bit of overcrowding due to those who arrive with one boat and those who have yet to leave with the other. However, this coming and going of passengers allows those arriving with the second boat to find, with a little patience, some free umbrellas, left by those who have to leave.

How long is the stay on Balos beach?

The stay on Balos beach is about a couple of hours. It is true that on the program, the scheduled time on Balos beach is more but you must keep in mind any delays, the time of disembarkation, and the fact that you must leave your position on the beach a little earlier than the departure time. departure so that you have no problems.

boat departing from Balos beach Crete Greece
boat departing from Balos beach Crete Greece

By renting a boat

To get to Balos, you can also rent a boat and head directly to the beach. In this case, however, the boat must remain beyond the safety line. In any case, the bottom of the beach is very shallow and you can reach the beach on foot.

Crete How to get to Balos rent a boat
Crete – How to get to Balos: renting a boat

In JetSky

Very interesting is the JetSky Safari proposed by “Falassarna Activities” ( https://falassarnaactivities.gr/#safari ). This Safari departing from Falassarna beach allows you to reach Balos beach as a group on board a jet ski.

The stay at Balos beach is very limited but I think this tour is interesting for those who want to go on a jet ski ride and see Balos beach at the same time.

Organized tours

Various private services take you to Balos beach. For example, always at Falassarna beach, you can find a private transport service that takes you to Balos beach and allows you to stay on the beach for a few hours (https://falassarnaactivities.gr/#safari).

Speedboat that takes you from Falassarna beach to Balos black speedboat
Speedboat that takes you from Falassarna beach to Balos (black speedboat)

To get to the beach, you still have to get into the water and walk in the water to the shore.

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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 – 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.

Crete Chania things to do Old Venetian Harbor
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.

  • Crete Chania Things to do Old Venetian Harbor Kucuk Hassan Mosqu Chania
  • Crete Chania Things to do Old Venetian Harbor Kucuk Hassan Mosqu Chania by night 1
  • Old Venetian Harbor Shops Kucuk Hassan Mosqu Chania Crete Things to do 2

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

  • Crete Chania Old Venetian Harbor restaurant Amphora Taverna 2
  • Crete Chania Old Venetian Harbor Hotels Villa Venezia
  • Crete Chania Old Venetian Harbor restaurant La Bodega
  • Crete Chania Old Venetian Harbor restaurant tavern Ta Chalkina 1
  • Crete Chania Old Venetian Harbor restaurant tavern Ta Chalkina 2
  • Crete Chania restaurant or Tavern Taverna Michalis MIXALHS
  • Crete Chania Things to do and see Ancient Venetian Harbor
  • Crete Chania Barbarossa Bar Ancient Venetian Habor 2
  • Cretan salad Veros Cafe Grill and Bar Chania Crete

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
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.

  • Harbour Balcony Ancient Venetian Harbor Chania Crete Greece
  • Ancient Venetian Harbor walls and panoramic terrace over the walls Chania Crete things to do 1
  • staircase for the Ancient Venetian Harbor panoramic terrace over the walls Chania Crete things to do 1
  • rooftop terrace on the walls for views of the Old Venetian Harbor Chania Crete Greece 1
  • rooftop terrace on the walls for views of the Old Venetian Harbor Chania Crete Greece 3

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
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 Firkas Fortress opening times
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
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 Crete things to do 2
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.

  • Center of Chania characteristic square in old town of Chania Crete Things to do
  • Center of Chania characteristic corners in the streets of the old town of Chania Crete Things to do
  • Center of Chania historical corners in the streets of the old town of Chania Crete Things to do
  • characteristic streets of the old town of Chania Crete Things to do
  • characteristic streets of the old town of Chania Crete Things to do 2

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.

  • Streets of the historic center Chania things to do in Crete 2
  • Streets of the historic center Chania things to do in Crete 3
  • Streets of the historic center Chania things to do in Crete 4
  • Streets of the historic center Chania things to do in Crete 1
  • Square in the historic center Chania things to do in Crete

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. 

  • Crete Chania Things to do Old Venetian Harbor lighthouse sunset time 1
  • Crete Chania Things to do Old Venetian Harbor lighthouse 1
  • Crete Chania Things to do Old Venetian Harbor lighthouse 4

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.

Crete things to do see Chania Coast from the see 5
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
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:

  • A mini-documentary about Crete and its most beautiful places
  • The main part where the mythological history of Knossos is shown
  • A rail trip (or similar) with a multidimensional experience. As there are also in some amusement parks.

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
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 1
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
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.

  • Things to do in Chania Crete Maritime Museum of Crete opening hours and ticket cost
  • Things to do in Chania Crete Maritime Museum of Crete opening hours and ticket cost 2
  • Things to do in Chania Crete Maritime Museum of Crete 2
  • Things to do in Chania Crete Maritime Museum of Crete 3

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.

  • things to do in Chania Crete exhibitions at the Grand Arsenal 6
  • things to do in Chania Crete exhibitions at the Grand Arsenal 1
  • things to do in Chania Crete exhibitions at the Grand Arsenal 4
  • things to do in Chania Crete exhibitions at the Grand Arsenal 2
  • things to do in Chania Crete exhibitions at the Grand Arsenal 5

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?

Crete Chania things to do Old Venetian Harbor by night 1

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?

Crete Chania things to do Old Venetian Harbor by night 2

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?

Crete Chania where to stay 2

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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