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Chania

Round-trip distance is 56 kilometers

Chania
Old Harbor, Chania. Ввласенко, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
Old Harbor, Chania. Ввласенко, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
Old Harbor, Chania. Ввласенко, CC BY-SA 3.0, Wikimedia Commons
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Chania is the second largest city on Crete. Because it’s just a 29-kilometer (18-mile) drive from Gavalochori, it’s within easy reach when you want the amenities and activities a city offers. A longtime center for trade, the city operated under an array of rulers, including Romans, Arabs, Venetians, and Turks. The Venetian influence is most visible in the city, reflected in its architecture and especially in the massive stone ship-building structures that ring the old harbor. There are many things to see and experience in Chania, and you’ll want to augment the suggestions below with an updated book or online travel guide on the city. You can enjoy much of Chania in a day, but a deeper dive into the city could easily consume another day or two.

 

 

Major Historic Sites

Shipyards

Ringing the old harbor are seven of the many large stone buildings the Venetians built between 1526 and 1599 to maintain their fleet. 

City Walls and Forts

 The walls of the city date to the 7th century BC and were built upon and revised by the Byzantines and subsequent rulers of the city. Remnants of forts are built into some parts of the walls.

Venetian Facades

The old town of Chania was extensively bombed during World War II, and much of it was destroyed. The facades of many historic Venetian buildings remain, however, and provide an array of interesting architectural detail.

Giali Tzamisi Mosque

The Giali Tzamisi mosque, located at the edge of Chania’s old harbor, gives a touch of the exotic to Chania and is featured in many a visitor’s photographs. It now functions as an exhibition space, so check the doors to see if the space is open and what is showing.

Kehal Hayyim Synagogue

This synagogue is a remnant of the old Hebrew Quarter to which Jews were confined during the Venetian period. 

 

 

Museums

Naval Museum

Located near the entrance to the old harbor, the Naval Museum houses an impressive array of artifacts and covers the important naval history of the area well.

Archaeological Museum of Chania

Located in the Halepa (Χαλέπα) neighborhood on the east side of Chania. this new museum building contains artifacts from ancient times, including the Minoan, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. 

Folklore Museum

This small museum in the heart of Old Town displays items of daily life from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Moro’s Dockyard

Located on the far eastern edge of the old harbor, this museum contains exhibits related to shipbuilding in the area, including a replica of an ancient Minoan ship.

Municipal Art Gallery

Near the top of a major shopping street that leads to the harbor, this gallery hosts both contemporary and historic exhibitions of art usually related to the region.

 

 

Shopping

The anchor for all shopping in Chania could be considered the Municipal Market of Chania, also known as the Agora, which is in the center of the city between the Old Town and the New Town. It is built in a cross shape, and you can enter from any of the four doors at each of its wings. This market sells vegetables, fish, meats, and cheeses as well as tourist souvenirs such as herbs and spices, olive oil, olive-oil soaps, dishtowels, and almost anything else you can think of. There are also a few cafes offering local food. Unfortunately, the market was closed for renovation in January of 2022 and is not expected to open until the end of 2023. 

A more varied shopping experience is found along Zampeliou Street and the streets that intersect it. Here can be found things like craft items and unique clothing. 

Not far from Zampeliou Street are shops along Archoleon and Daskalogianni Streets. This varied shopping district was recently upgraded and contains a nice mix of small retail outlets and restaurants. 

One of the streets in Old Town, Skrydlof Street, is known as Leather Lane because it used to be the home of shoe and boot makers. The shops here sell a variety of leather goods that are made on Crete or in Greece, including purses, briefcases, billfolds and wallets, belts, and sandals.

If you want to shop where the locals shop, check out Skalidi and Kidonias Streets and the streets that intersect them. 

 

 

Restaurants

Chania has a wide array of restaurants. As in all cities, the quality of restaurant food varies, and restaurants come and go in somewhat unpredictable ways. It’s worth spending a bit of time researching restaurants in Chania so you don’t miss establishments that offer exceptional food. Here is a link to a good site that explores restaurant options.

 

 

Cinemas

If you spend a day in Chania, you might want to stay for a movie in an open-air cinema. Chania has two open-air cinemas that operate in late spring through early fall. Movies start at sunset (usually at 8:45 or 9:00 p.m.), and there is often a second showing at 11:00 p.m.

Attikon Cinema

Located at 118 Eleftheriou Venizelou Street on the eastern edge of Chania, the Attikon offers a lively rotation of current and historic films. You can find out what’s playing by going to the Attikon website or calling the theater at 28210 40 208.

Kipos Theater

Located in Chania’s municipal park, this cinema is aptly named because kipos (κήπος) means “garden.” The offerings at this cinema tend to be family oriented, so this is likely to be a particularly good movie experience for children. Located near the watchtower in the park, the entrance to the park can be found at 63 Andrea Papandreou Street. You can call the cinema at 2821 03 4214 to find out what is playing.

If you are in Gavalochori in the winter, you can still end a day in Chania with a movie. Here are two options:

Mega Place Cinema

Located in the Mega Place complex on the road to the airport that winds up the hill from Souda, this complex also includes a bowling alley, a play center for children, and a bakery and cafe.  Information is available at +30 28210 57757 / +30 28210 42515 or: info@megaplace.gr.

Cinema Ellinis

Cinema Ellinis is located at Str. Tzanakaki 70, a few blocks from the Municipal Market and close to the municipal park of Chania. You can find out what is playing on the four screens of the cinema here.

Chania is the second largest city on Crete. Because it’s just a 29-kilometer (18-mile) drive from Gavalochori, it’s within easy reach when you want the amenities and activities a city offers. A longtime center for trade, the city operated under an array of rulers, including Romans, Arabs, Venetians, and Turks. The Venetian influence is most visible in the city, reflected in its architecture and especially in the massive stone ship-building structures that ring the old harbor. There are many things to see and experience in Chania, and you’ll want to augment the suggestions below with an updated book or online travel guide on the city. You can enjoy much of Chania in a day, but a deeper dive into the city could easily consume another day or two.

 

 

Major Historic Sites

Shipyards

Ringing the old harbor are seven of the many large stone buildings the Venetians built between 1526 and 1599 to maintain their fleet. 

City Walls and Forts

 The walls of the city date to the 7th century BC and were built upon and revised by the Byzantines and subsequent rulers of the city. Remnants of forts are built into some parts of the walls.

Venetian Facades

The old town of Chania was extensively bombed during World War II, and much of it was destroyed. The facades of many historic Venetian buildings remain, however, and provide an array of interesting architectural detail.

Giali Tzamisi Mosque

The Giali Tzamisi mosque, located at the edge of Chania’s old harbor, gives a touch of the exotic to Chania and is featured in many a visitor’s photographs. It now functions as an exhibition space, so check the doors to see if the space is open and what is showing.

Kehal Hayyim Synagogue

This synagogue is a remnant of the old Hebrew Quarter to which Jews were confined during the Venetian period. 

 

 

Museums

Naval Museum

Located near the entrance to the old harbor, the Naval Museum houses an impressive array of artifacts and covers the important naval history of the area well.

Archaeological Museum of Chania

Located in the Halepa (Χαλέπα) neighborhood on the east side of Chania. this new museum building contains artifacts from ancient times, including the Minoan, Hellenistic, Roman, and Byzantine periods. 

Folklore Museum

This small museum in the heart of Old Town displays items of daily life from the 18th and 19th centuries.

Moro’s Dockyard

Located on the far eastern edge of the old harbor, this museum contains exhibits related to shipbuilding in the area, including a replica of an ancient Minoan ship.

Municipal Art Gallery

Near the top of a major shopping street that leads to the harbor, this gallery hosts both contemporary and historic exhibitions of art usually related to the region.

 

 

Shopping

The anchor for all shopping in Chania could be considered the Municipal Market of Chania, also known as the Agora, which is in the center of the city between the Old Town and the New Town. It is built in a cross shape, and you can enter from any of the four doors at each of its wings. This market sells vegetables, fish, meats, and cheeses as well as tourist souvenirs such as herbs and spices, olive oil, olive-oil soaps, dishtowels, and almost anything else you can think of. There are also a few cafes offering local food. Unfortunately, the market was closed for renovation in January of 2022 and is not expected to open until the end of 2023. 

A more varied shopping experience is found along Zampeliou Street and the streets that intersect it. Here can be found things like craft items and unique clothing. 

Not far from Zampeliou Street are shops along Archoleon and Daskalogianni Streets. This varied shopping district was recently upgraded and contains a nice mix of small retail outlets and restaurants. 

One of the streets in Old Town, Skrydlof Street, is known as Leather Lane because it used to be the home of shoe and boot makers. The shops here sell a variety of leather goods that are made on Crete or in Greece, including purses, briefcases, billfolds and wallets, belts, and sandals.

If you want to shop where the locals shop, check out Skalidi and Kidonias Streets and the streets that intersect them. 

 

 

Restaurants

Chania has a wide array of restaurants. As in all cities, the quality of restaurant food varies, and restaurants come and go in somewhat unpredictable ways. It’s worth spending a bit of time researching restaurants in Chania so you don’t miss establishments that offer exceptional food. Here is a link to a good site that explores restaurant options.

 

 

Cinemas

If you spend a day in Chania, you might want to stay for a movie in an open-air cinema. Chania has two open-air cinemas that operate in late spring through early fall. Movies start at sunset (usually at 8:45 or 9:00 p.m.), and there is often a second showing at 11:00 p.m.

Attikon Cinema

Located at 118 Eleftheriou Venizelou Street on the eastern edge of Chania, the Attikon offers a lively rotation of current and historic films. You can find out what’s playing by going to the Attikon website or calling the theater at 28210 40 208.

Kipos Theater

Located in Chania’s municipal park, this cinema is aptly named because kipos (κήπος) means “garden.” The offerings at this cinema tend to be family oriented, so this is likely to be a particularly good movie experience for children. Located near the watchtower in the park, the entrance to the park can be found at 63 Andrea Papandreou Street. You can call the cinema at 2821 03 4214 to find out what is playing.

If you are in Gavalochori in the winter, you can still end a day in Chania with a movie. Here are two options:

Mega Place Cinema

Located in the Mega Place complex on the road to the airport that winds up the hill from Souda, this complex also includes a bowling alley, a play center for children, and a bakery and cafe.  Information is available at +30 28210 57757 / +30 28210 42515 or: info@megaplace.gr.

Cinema Ellinis

Cinema Ellinis is located at Str. Tzanakaki 70, a few blocks from the Municipal Market and close to the municipal park of Chania. You can find out what is playing on the four screens of the cinema here.

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