With a history that dates back more than 4,000 years, beautiful Chania wins you over from the very first minute you set foot in the Venetian port. It is without a doubt the most romantic spot in the town. It was built in the 14th century C.E. and was the centre for commercial activity in the city. Don’t miss out on a visit to the historic lighthouse, or to the ‘neoria‘ – narrow, stone shelters used to repair ships.
Spend the morning in Old Town, Chania, a conservation that protects the architectural and historic interests of the area. Get lost within the medieval walls and take in impressive monuments left over from lengthy Venetian and Turkish occupations – all of which create the unique diversity of this city. When it’s time to go to the sea, the exotic and magical lagoon of Balos will reward you with its turquoise waters and sand dunes. Aside from its stunning beauty, for which it is famous, the wider area of Balos offers refuge to the Mediterranean seal and the Caretta caretta sea turtle. Don’t forget to visit the beaches of Falasarna and Elafonisi, the latter known for its white sandy beaches covered in crushed pink shells.
Another unforgettable experience is the Samaria Gorge National Park. The gorge starts from Xyloskalo (an altitude of 1,227 metres) and ends at the seaside village of Agia Roumeli in southern Crete. Altogether, it’s a six hour hike among wildlife, waterfalls, lakes and ravines.
Apart from the sights, the sea and the beaches, Chania and the whole of Crete stand out for the authentic flavours it offers. Known for grilled fish and lamb in almost all its variants, Chania is the place for amazing food. Be sure to try the ‘boureki’ (a filled pastry), the eggplant meatballs, the Sfakian pie (order twice, it’s that good!) with sour mizithra cheese and honey, the lamb with ‘stamnagathi’ (wild greens), and ask for the famous ‘wedding pilaf’. Finally, don’t leave without trying the ‘sioufixta’ pasta with local anthotiro cheese and zucchini blossoms.
Yes! Chania will most certainly win you over right from the start, and by the end of your stay, you’ll want to return every summer.
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