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DoDo

Old Town

The old town is by far the most beautiful part of Chania. Among the dozens of narrow streets, hide aspects and buildings of the city’s Venetian history that have remained unchanged until today. Almost every building has been restored, while maintaining the style of the past. The dozens of colors, in combination with the bougainvilleas and the stores that are full of people, keep it alive through day and night and offer the city the most wonderful tone. In the streets there are dozens of taverns, cafés, bars and hundreds of tourist shops to buy your souvenirs. We advise you to get away from the commercial streets and wander around the more remote, and even the ones that lead to a dead end, because that is where the beauty of the old town lies. You do not need to rush and pressure yourselves, close your eyes and let the narrow pathways lead you to the best places…They know best!

Suggested visit time: 3-4 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The Kastelli Hill, which is located in the heart of the city, has been inhabited since 5500 BC!!

Elafonisi

Elafonisi is included in the top 10 most beautiful beaches in the world and not unjustly! It is a real gem, as the combination of the blue-green, crystal-clear waters, the pink sand and the natural lakes can only cause positive impressions. Elafonisi is washed by the Libyan as well as the Cretan sea and it is a worldwide famous destination for swimming. The beach might not be fully organized, yet it has umbrellas and loungers, which you can use without charge. In the area you will also find showers, dressing booths and a store to grab a quick bite and get water. The beach is pretty long and has unique beautiful traits on every spot, so if you want to see them all, it would be best to move around constantly.

Suggested visit time: 4-6 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Its real name is Lafonisi, based on the loot (λάφυρα in Greek, read as “lafera”) that pirates used to hide on the island (no connection to Deer –or Elafia as read in Greek)!

Paleochora

Paleochora is located on the south border of the district and it is a great choice for a day trip. To reach the Nymph of the Libyan sea it will take you about 1.5 hours through a route full of turns, but the destination will compensate you in full. At the village you will have the chance to walk through cobbled alleys, visit the Venetian Fortress and find dozens of choices for food and drinks. Do not miss out on its night life. Paleochora may seem bare during the day, yet it is not, as it lives and breathes for the night, when the taverns and bars get swarmed with people. If you move west of the village you will find some of the most amazing beaches, the best one being the MAGICAL beach of Psilos Volakas. The beach has crystal-clear, turquoise waters, rocks for countless dives and quite the dose of peacefulness, as it is not (yet) famous. Going even further to the west, you will find the beaches of Grammeno and Krios that are worth making a stop for a swim.

Suggested visit time: 1 day
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The European trail E4 passes through the area!

Seitan Limania

The cursed harbors, or, as they are widely known, Seitan Limania, is one of the most beautiful beaches, not only in Crete, but in the whole of Greece. The unknown, until a few years ago, beach became famous fast, thanks to a few facebook posts! It is 20 minutes away from the city of Chania, while no introduction is needed for its white waters, wonderful seabed and the weird “s” shape that ends at the Cretan sea. Access can be achieved only on foot, after a 10-minute descent through an impromptu, steep* trail, which starts at the chapel. The best time to visit it is at 07:00 in the morning so you can be alone, away from the hordes of people that swarm the limited area of the beach. Get lost in the magic of the curse.

*Note: If the pathway that everyone follows is hard for you, prefer to go through the smoother trail on the left. It takes more time but it is not that steep.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The appellation “cursed” (“seitan” during the Turkish occupation) came from the dangerousness of the swell of the sea in the area!

Cretan Raki

The Cretans say that everything wonderful starts and ends with some raki! In the meantime, you should certainly not switch to another drink, but keep on with raki…It is Crete’s main drink, served in shot glasses and drunk in one gulp. Ask for it to be frozen (from the freezer) and indulge in it fearlessly. (Its quality and origin are, of course, of great significance, so you don’t wake up with a headache the next day, while its alcohol content is 18-24%.) Some refer to it with its second name, “tsikoudia”. No matter how you call it, one thing is certain; it should not be missing from your table. Caution: Under no circumstances should you start gulping down shots of raki if you have to drive. Cheers!

 The know it all says: The custom of “rakokazano” (=raki distillation) was established by Eleftherios Venizelos in 1920!!

Balos

The lagoon of Balos is a story on its own, as it is a rare natural phenomenon, of unique beauty. The beach is constantly voted as one of the best in the world and it is protected by the European program NATURA 2000. Access to it can be achieved in two ways, either via cruise, or through the hard road network! Both ways have a positive and a negative. The cruise will get you there at rest (positive), but you will only have three hours to enjoy its emerald waters (negative). By car, on the other hand, you will be able to stay as many hours as you wish (positive), but to get there you will go through a small odyssey through rough roads and 30-minute walks (negative)! Whatever you choose, know that the –almost- boiling hot pools of water, the pink sand, as well as Balos’ emerald green waters will make you quickly forget any hardship.

Suggested visit time: 4-5 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: Years ago, Prince of England Charles and Princess Diana’s luxurious yacht anchored at the beach!

Venetian Port – Egyptian Lighthouse

A trip to Chania is bound to begin and end with a walk around the city’s old harbor. Start at the Firkas Fortress, which nowadays houses the Maritime Museum and climb up the walls to enjoy a view of the city and the Sea of Crete. Afterwards, cross the dock with the dozens of –tourist- restaurants and cafés and reach the historic Yali Tzami, where exhibitions are taking place every day. From there, you can either take a romantic carriage ride, or visit the Big Arsenal and, finally, walk to the renowned Egyptian Lighthouse, the trademark of the entire island of Crete. Make sure the walk is an afternoon one, so you can see the breath-taking sunset, which turns the city into a painting! This is Chania.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: In case of siege, the harbor closed with a chain that started at the Fortress and ended at the Lighthouse!

Gramvousa – Balos Cruise

The trip to Gramvousa – Balos is organized daily and it is an excellent experience through which you can meet these two locations. The boat starts from the port of Kissamos 3 times a day (the third one only in July and August) and makes 2 stops. The first one is at the island of Gramvousa –lasts about 2.5 hours- and the second one at the lagoon of Balos –lasts about 3 hours-. It is a nice experience, as there is no other way to meet the remote Gramvousa, while for Balos the drive and the walking are pretty tiring. SOS: Do not travel if wind speed is higher than level 4. The trip will turn into torture. Follow our Tips to learn about more hidden information.

Suggested visit time: 7-8 hours
Open: Departures Every day 10:20-10:40 & 12:30 (July-August)
Cost: 27€ / person

 The know it all says: From the boat you will observe the phenomenon of the elevation of western Crete by 6-9m., which occurred 2,000 years ago!

Sunset in Falassarna

Falassarna is a village close to Kissamos, known for its clean beach, but mainly for its beautiful sunset. The vast beach has been voted as one of the 10 best in Europe and not in vain, as both its waters and its range is something unique. However, what steals the show is the magical sunset, during which the sun dresses in dozens of colors (shades of red) before “diving” in the sea and disappearing. (It can be seen so clearly because there is no natural obstruction in the horizon.) Many even claim that sunset in Falassarna is even better than the famous sunset of Santorini. We are waiting for your impressions.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: The harbor of the ancient city was connected to the sea via a canal that was constructed in 335 BC!

Lake Kournas

Lake Kournas is a special DoDo. Even if you don’t manage to take the daily trip to the villages of Apokoronas, you simply must visit it to spend a few delightful moments, in front of the natural landscape of the lake. The legends around it are many, the only thing you have to do is create your own and enjoy it. But to get to know it from end to end you have to rent a water-bike. The ride lasts about 1.5 hours (with stops and dives) and the water around the shore is crystal-clear! Also, in the water there are eels, small fish, crabs and sweet little ducks. Read our very useful Tips to get more information.

Suggested visit time: 1.5-2 hours
Open: Lake Always, Bikes 10:00-20:00
Cost: Lake Free, Bikes 7€ per hour

 The know it all says: Maximum depth is at 22.5 meters!

Gramvousa Fortress – Shipwreck

The first stop of the cruise, which we mentioned above, is at the pirate island, which is none other than the historic Gramvousa. The phases that one must follow during their visit on the island are three. Firstly, they should get out first –if it is possible- from the boat and start the difficult climb to the fortress (15-20 minutes). Being one of the first to get there, they will be able to take beautiful pictures and see the remains of the fortress, as well as the amazing view, unhindered. Next is the shipwreck on the beach and, finally, an enjoyable dive in its pristine waters. The dive is simply a must, as its turquoise, divine waters will relax you after such a demanding route. Most people are exhausted and avoid it. Do not make this mistake.

Suggested visit time: 2-3 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Cruise (see above)

 The know it all says: Gramvousa is chosen both by the rare Mediterranean seal (to give birth), and the caretta-caretta turtle (to find food)!

Obros Gialos

If you are looking for a place close to Chania, with clean waters and few to no people, then we have the ideal place for you, the beach of Obros Gialos. This special cove is just 26km east of Chania, in the Apokoronas region. Although it is getting more and more famous, only a few people dare to dive in, as it is full of rocks, while there is no organized beach. Nevertheless, its crystal jade-green waters are perfect for countless dives, while the seabed is ideal for exploring. Visit it on a day without wind, because big waves may cause serious accidents, if you are not familiar with each and every inch of the seacoast. Before leaving, get up on the kiosk and enjoy from above the wild beauty of the cove.

Caution: Do not dive if the wind speed is higher than level 4.

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: On the right side of the coast, there are many submarine freshwater springs!

Aspri Limni

Although thousands may be passing in front of it, yet nobody knows the beautiful Aspri Limni (White Lake). It is only 8 minutes away from the famous beach of Elafonisi and it is a pretty natural phenomenon, during which a lake with sea water is formed by rocks. The shallow waters, white sand and landscape, in combination with the solitary quiet will steal quite some of your time and impressions. The location is completely pure and unexploited, while to get there you will need the advice of a local or you will have to follow the small signs from the Chrysoskalitsa Monastery (see Tips). It would be a shame not to meet the small turquoise paradise, before moving on to the big one (Elafonisi).

Suggested visit time: 1-2 hours
Open: Always
Cost: Free

 The know it all says: It is surrounded by a rare palm grove, which is a protected nature reserve!