(GR: Χανιά also transliterated as Haniá or Khaniá) is the capital of the Prefecture of the same name and the second largest town in Crete, with a population of 60.000 inhabitants.
It is the administrative, economical, commercial and cultural center of the Prefecture.
It lies (Coordinates 35°31' N 24°1' E ) along the North coast of the island, about 55 km west of the city of Rethymnon
and 135 km from the city of Heraklion
Since the ancient times, the city of Chania has faced many conquerors and the influences of many civilizations through time, evident on the city monuments.
The beautiful city of Chania managed to preserve its original colors and historical character, despite the fast-growing tourist industry. It is considered as one of the most beautiful cities of Greece and the most picturesque city of Crete.
The city of Chania is also characterized by a rich cultural life. A plethora of cultural events are organized every year (exhibitions, festivals, theatrical and musical performances, ect.)
Chania has daily sea connection with Piraeus via ferry boats.
The bay of Suda that serves as the port of Chania (and a NATO naval base as well), is the biggest and safest bay in the East Mediterranean.
The international airport of Chania
(IATA code: CHQ, ICAO ID: LGSA) is located at Sternes, in Akrotiri, 14 km east of the town. Chania is connected by air to Athens but there are also several charter flights from all over Europe during the summer.
At the airport are car rentals and taxis for all parts of the island.
The airport is named after Ioannis Daskalogiannis
, a Sfakian hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century.
Chania area offers a large number of hotels of all categories. There are also guest houses and hostels.
The old city is full of restaurants and taverns, housed in renovated houses, or even in the open-air remains of old buildings. There are also plenty of bars and night spots . Night life in Chania is very intense with most places staying open throughout the night. Usually a night out for most locals starts with dinner, continues with a visit to bars and discos and ends with coffee and sweets in the early morning.
There are two nice beaches very close to the old town: Koum Kapi to the east and Nea Hora to the west, whilst a number of others are in a very short distance in both direction (East: Akrotiri beaches, West: Hryssi Akti, Agii Apostoli, Kalamaki, Daratso, Agia Marina etc).
The town offers also mooring facilities for small yachts and boats both in the old port as well as in the marina at Nea Chora.
In general Chania as a big and modern town offers a wide range of facilities in all sectors (Health, Education, Construction - Real Estate, Telecommunications, Internet services - broadband connection is available, Transportation, Entertainment etc) to cater the needs of both the locals and the visitors.
Hotels in and around Chania
Chania is one of the nicest towns in Crete, with wonderful houses, parks and squares and a well designed town-plan.
The Public Market
is an impressive building, in the town center, built at the beginning of the present century (1911) and houses grocery stores, butchers' shops, a fish market and vegetable shops.
The Public Gardens
, next to the Market, are ideal for those in search of shade and tranquility.
Northeast of the gardens is the beautiful neighborhood of Chalepa
where the residences of Prince George and Eleftherios Venizelos
were. Venizelos residence
houses the Venizelos Museum and is the base of the National Research Foundation "Eleftherios K. Venizelos".
The old city
has preserved to a great extent the distinctive atmosphere and charm of the Venetian and Turkish periods. Entire Venetian, Turkish and Jewish quarters are saved, with well preserved buildings in the narrow picturesque streets.
One of the most significant buildings is the large Venetian church of Aghios Frankiskos which today houses the Archaeological Museum of Chania
The old city leads at the harbor, where many Venetian and Turkish buildings are preserved. At the entrance of the harbor, at its north-erst point, is the renovated fort "Firkas"
, built on 1629, that today houses the Maritime Museum
of Chania as well as a summer theatre, where drama performances are presented.
To the west of Firkas is the restored Venetian church of San Salvadore
that today houses the Byzantine collection of Chania
Opposite the Firkas fort, is the magnificent lighthouse
("Pháros"), built on the 16th century and restored by the Egyptians.
The harbor is protected by a Venetian breakwater, built of huge stones. At the center of the breakwater are the ruins of a fortress.
Along the dock from Firkas to the east "Neoria" - Akti Koundourioti, Venizelos Square, Akti Tombazi and Akti Enoseos - there are some historical buildings such as:
The Kioutsouk Hassan Mosque or Giali Tzamissi
, The Great Arsenal
, Venetian shipyards that today house the 'Mediterranean Centre of Architecture' and The Venetian Shipyards (Neoria)
West of Chania, at a distance of 4.5 km, is the hill of Profitis Ilias
, where the memorial and tomb of Eleftherios Venizelos and his son Sophokles are located.
Chania can be the starting point for a tour to the western Crete, a part of the island with magnificent natural beauty. There are lots of places worth seeing, within driving distance (two to three hours) , the most famous being the Samaria Gorge
. This is a National Park of Greece that starts at the village of Omalos, at an altitude of 1227 m. and ends after a walk of approximately 18 Km to the beach of Agia Roumeli. The Gorge is open from May to October 15th and is definitely a must for everyone.