Chania is one of the most enchanting destinations in Greece and in this article we will share with you our list of its absolute must-sees.
Explore the Picturesque Chania Old Town
The Old Town of Chania comprises the picture-perfect Old Venetian Port as well as the maze of narrow cobblestone streets that stretch just a stone’s throw from the seafront. A mixture of Venetian, Ottoman and Byzantine architectural elements, the historic centre of Chania has an irresistibly vintage ambience while being a vibrant modern hub for locals and visitors alike.
With architectural treasures such as the Municipal Market and the Egyptian Lighthouse to explore and a plethora of bars, restaurants and cafés to hang out, there’s never a dull moment in Chania Old Town. For a unique experience, consider discovering its charms during an exciting morning bike tour.
Try Authentic Cretan Tastes
The Cretan cuisine is famous for being among the most delicious and healthy ones in the world. No matter Crete’s popularity and the large numbers of visitors it welcomes each year, food in Crete has remained authentic to its core, always prepared with the freshest local ingredients.
This is more striking if you take a trip across the stunning Cretan countryside and try homemade products such as cheese, top-quality virgin olive oil and, of course, tsikoudia, Crete’s signature alcoholic drink. So, when in Crete, don’t miss the chance to take a tour of its local tastes and products that will render your Greek holiday all the more memorable!
Swim in the Exotic Waters of Balos Lagoon
Nowhere in Greece is there a more exotic beach than Balos Lagoon in Crete. This gorgeous beach features turquoise waters and pink sand under the shade of imposing rocks which create an almost unreal natural setting.
In order to get to Balos Lagoon, you need to go to the small port of Kissamos first, which is a 45-minute drive from Chania. Once at the port, you can join a boat tour that will take you to Balos as well as Gramvousa, a tiny islet which is home to a Venetian Castle built atop a steep rock. Keep in mind that climbing all the way up to the castle is no piece of cake. Therefore, if you don’t feel strong enough, you can always hang out on the boat or the beach instead.
The largest city in Crete, Heraklion doesn’t usually enjoy the popularity of neighboring Chania or Rethymno. Yet this doesn’t mean that it lacks equally stunning treasures.
Lets’ explore now another town! Heraklion.
Visit the Archaeological Site of Knossos
Among its other wonders, Crete is home to one of the most important archaeological sites in Greece: The Palace of Knossos. The ancient city of Knossos was a powerful political and financial centre of antiquity and the very heart of the renowned Minoan Civilisation. Nowadays, Knossos is home to some of the most impressive remnants of Ancient Greece’s glorious past. The palace features unique frescoes with vivid colours which have surprisingly endured the relentless test of time.
Knossos Palace lies about 6km south of Heraklion. Since you will most probably visit during the hot summer months, don’t forget your hat and sunscreen and carry a bottle of water at all times, especially at noon. For a hassle-free experience, a great idea is to visit Knossos on a guided tour from Heraklion.
Channel your Inner Hippie at Matala
Who hasn’t heard stories of the legendary hippies that roamed the world in the 60s and 70s in search of the most pristine places where they could be free to lead a life of communal values in total harmony with nature? In Greece, hippies found their heaven on earth at Matala and, more specifically, at the village’s iconic natural caves.
Nowadays, the caves in Matala are not inhabited by nature lovers with long hair and colourful clothes but the village itself is really worth a visit in its own right. Matala enjoys a laid-back ambience that is unique and not to be missed. If you don’t feel like driving all the way to Matala from Heraklion (about 75km to the south) nor do you want to rely on public transport, you can visit Matala and learn all about their former glory on a full day trip from Heraklion.
Experience a Traditional Cretan Feast
Cretan people are famous for their hospitality. This is why you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to spend a night among locals drinking wine, dancing and eating exquisite local food. The best place to experience a traditional Cretan feast is at one of the villages in the mountains around Heraklion. Embark on a cultural journey that you won’t easily forget as you fall in love with the song of the traditional lyra and the taste of local tsikoudia.