Hotels in Chania, Greece
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Chania, Greece: Beauty and History on Crete's North Coast
On the north end of Crete sits the city of Chania, the second largest on the island and one of the most scenic parts of the Mediterranean. From this city, visitors will have access to a multitude of beaches, scenic hilltops, and outdoor activities, which are sure to keep them busy throughout their time on the island.
Chania is also home to a major battle that took place during World War Two and is something that still scars the city and its inhabitants to this very day. At that time, the German army viciously attacked this city and its surrounding area, and the fact that it still stands today remains a source of pride for those who live there.
The Venetian Harbour
Pretty much anyone who visits Chania will spend some time in the Venetian Harbour. This old port is very scenic, featuring views of the sea and a lighthouse that was originally constructed in 1595, making it one of the oldest in known existence. Across from the lighthouse is the Frikas Fortress, which is home to a major naval museum and still operates as a naval base to this day.
The Venetian Harbour is also home to much of the city's entertainment. Not only are there numerous hotels in this area, but bars, restaurants, and shops line the narrow streets and alleys throughout the region. Visitors to this city almost always make their way through the harbour, as it is what Chania is best known for and there is always something going on in this bustling area.
Chania has many well-known outdoor meeting places, which can act as an attraction for those who are simply visiting the area. 1821 Square sits in a central area and is highlighted by a massive tree in the middle of everything. This square is close to the Church of St. Nicholas and visitors will often see locals drinking local spirits or just relaxing in the park. As a bonus, the square can be reaches easily from many of the city's hotels.
Dikastiria Square is surrounded by neoclassical architecture from days gone by, although it is just a short walk from more modern parts of the city, as well. This architecture is a must-see for anyone who loves seeing older buildings that have been well-maintained.
This area isn't just about the history, however, as Samaria Gorge features beautiful landscapes and is just a short distance from Chania. Views of sea are present at the far end of the gorge and those who are lucky might catch a glimpse of an endangered species of goat that lives in the White Mountains.
The Botanical Park of Crete operates from early spring until late-autumn and is made up of over 20 hectares of local plants and trees, in addition to plants that have made their way into the island from other parts of the world. This park provides a nice escape when looking to get away from the hotel for a little while and exploring areas outside of Chania city.
Old Buildings and Museums
Since Chania has been inhabited since the Neolithic Era, there is a fair amount of history in the region. While the buildings that are still standing aren't quite that old, they are old enough to be notable to visitors. The Archaeological Museum of Hania was originally built in 1605 as a Monastery, before being turned into a mosque, a cinema, and, finally, a museum.
The Grand Arsenali is located near the Old Port and was originally constructed in 1585. It was once a school, a hospital, and a theatre, but is now the Center of Mediterranean Architecture.
Etz Hayyim Synagogue is a highly symbolic landmark on the island because it is the only remaining remnant of the city's once thriving Jewish community. When the Nazis invaded the island during the Second World War, they did everything in their power to destroy this building, but it has since been restored and provides a visual memorial of a horrendous moment in history.
There are beaches all over the Chania area, with many being popular destinations for those who arrive on cruise ships. Beach hotels line the coast of this part of the island and numerous beaches, such as Loutraki, Seitan Limania, Tersanas, and Macherida, are just a short drive from the airport.
Other beaches, like Stalos, Kiani, Golden, and Iguana, are just outside the city and can easily be reached in a matter of minutes with the proper transportation. When booking late deals in the area, don't worry too much about being outside of Chania, as there is plenty to do in the surrounding region.
No holiday in Chania is complete without sampling the local cuisine. Of course, seafood is always on the menu, as visitors can try one of the many restaurants found in the Venetian Harbour. In the port, dining options like The Well of the Turk, Tholos, Zepos Restaurant, Palazzo Almare Restaurant, and Salis are always popular and offer a selection of traditional Cretan cuisine.
Keep in mind that the port isn't too far from the airport, so even those taking a hotel outside of the harbour can venture to that part of Chania is a matter of minutes with a car or through the local taxi service.