East meets west in Crete’s second largest city, which is an evocative blend of Venetian and Turkish architecture clustered around a stunningly beautiful harbour. With the white beaches of Elafonissi and Balos just a short drive away, a holiday to Chania from Glasgow Airport is the perfect chance to catch up on some R&R.
Magical history trail
The ancient mosques, Venetian mansions and charming sepia-toned streets of the Old Town all support Chania’s claim to be one of the most beautiful cities in Greece. Start your journey of discovery at the harbour, with its 16th-century fortifications and fine old lighthouse. Stop for a peek into the Mosque of Kioutsouk Hassan before strolling onto the Archaeological Museum in the Church of San Francisco (Halidon 30) for a more comprehensive insight into the area’s history.
Fruits of the sea
After all that sightseeing you’re bound to be hungry, and Chania is fast building a reputation as Crete’s foremost foodie city. Gorge on fabulously fresh local seafood at small but perfectly formed taverna Antigoni (Akti Enoseos & Deukalionos Corner) or discover a jealously guarded local secret at the Well of the Turk (Sarpaki 1). For authentically local cuisine with a sophisticated edge, you can’t do better than Portes (Portou 48), an upscale fine dining restaurant with everything from meatballs to wild snails on the menu.
With temperatures hovering in the sizzling 20 degrees for most of the year, Chania is a haven for sunseekers. Nearby beaches include Nea Chora and Agii Apostoli, but it’s worth hopping in your car and driving a few kilometres further to discover the crystalline sand and exotic emerald waters of Elafonissi. Balos Beach, spanning a lagoon blue enough to rival the sky, is another gem just a short journey from the city, while the popular watersports venue of Falassarna is an hour’s drive away.