Chania is an old town with a labyrinth of atmospheric streets and buildings. The best way to enjoy its beauty is to walk through it slowly and take your time.
A good idea is to combine a walk with a stop at one of the restaurants along the waterfront. Whether it’s for a sunset dinner or a coffee and dessert, the view is simply amazing.
The Old Town of Chania is one of the most attractive sights on Crete. It’s a place where Venetian and Ottoman architecture blend together with traditional and modern elements, creating a unique scenery.
Topanas is the prestigious western Christian area where you can see Venetian noble houses and buildings of Turkish architecture with characteristic sachnisia (traditional bay window). You can also find a plethora of cafes, bars and restaurants here.
Splantzia is another popular neighborhood of Chania Old Town, where you can enjoy Greek coffee or ouzo in the local kafenion in front of the St. Nicholas church.
Splantzia is also home to the Municipal Market which is one of the most important markets in Chania. The market is a great place to buy fresh fish and seafood, as well as a wide variety of local products.
The Venetian Harbor is Chania’s focal point, a photogenic spot that draws visitors and locals alike. Strolling along it is one of the best things to do in Chania, particularly if you’re visiting at sunset.
You’ll see pastel-coloured buildings punctuating narrow lanes and a network of cafes, restaurants and tavernas, some of which boast architectural mixes of Venetian, Ottoman and Neoclassical styles. On the eastern side, there’s the domed Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan (also known as the Mosque of the Janissaries), while a few steps further east the impressively restored Grand Arsenal houses the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture.
The Old Venetian Harbour was carefully built in the 14th century for commercial purposes and for protection against pirate raids. Its jumble of Venetian and Turkish buildings are largely unchanged.
One of the most interesting parts of Chania’s Old Town is the Venetian Port, surrounded by a series of historical buildings. This is a fascinating area for history buffs as well as foodies and shopping enthusiasts.
In addition to its historic attractions, the port also has a bustling dining and shopping scene that’s sure to delight visitors of all tastes. There’s a variety of cafes, tavernas, and restaurants all within walking distance of the port’s edge, so it’s easy to find somewhere to sit and enjoy a drink or a meal while soaking up the sights.
The Old Port is also home to the stunning lighthouse, which dates back to the Venetians. This is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Chania.
Tabakaria is a one-of-a-kind part of Chania, located between the more popular Koum Kapi neighborhood and the eclectic Chalepa district. This neighborhood is an interesting mix of old abandoned buildings and new luxury hospitality spaces.
- It’s home to a couple of leather processing factories that once dominated this area, and their ghostly buildings remain almost intact. These tanneries were established in the 19th century and operated for decades.
- A walk to the Tabakaria district is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, accompanied by a licensed local guide. It’s an excellent place to see tanneries from the past and get a glimpse of Chania’s industrial history.
- It also offers an opportunity to visit some excellent fish taverns. Among these, we recommend visiting Thalassino Ageri, a tavern where you can indulge in a variety of dishes such as calamari, grilled cuttlefish, octopus and much more. The setting is beautiful, and the food is absolutely amazing!