Where to swim
Leaving Chania heading out to the west you will find the busy Agia Marina and Platanias. Going further along the coastline you will find Almyrida (about 15km) and Maleme (18km), more quiet and family oriented beaches. Going even more to the west towards the Gramvoussa peninsula, you will leave your car and go to Balos, one the most exotic beaches in Europe.
On the west coast you will find the renowned Falassarna beach. More to the south, on the west coast and 76km away from Chania, you will find Elafonissi, one of the most popular and touristic beaches in Crete. If you get there it is worth leaving the crowds on the beach and head of to the Kedrodasos, a neighbouring but difficult to reach “secret”beach, full of cedars.
On the south you will find the quiet Palaiochora, with plenty of beaches around such as Sougia, Agia Roumeli at the bottom of the Samaria canyon, the majestic and isolated Loutro village, you can reach only by boat, the legendary Sfakia and Fragkocastello, a myths and legends filled location. To the east of Chania you will find the locals' favourite beach Marathi and 25km further the endless Georgioupoli beach.
Where to stay
Casa Delfino (Theofanous 9, +30 87400, www.casadelfino.com) is a magnificent 17th century luxury building. You can stay in one in one of their exquisite suite or just have a coffee or drink in the beautiful pebbled paved patio full of cacti and mosaics. Pandora Suites (Lithinon 27-29, +30 43589) is one of the first buildings to be made into hotels, with panoramic views of the venetian Harbour. The building is dated back to 1870 and consists of 2 and 4 roomed, suites fully equipped with kitchen and luxury bathrooms as well as an incredibly beautiful roof garden for coffee or breafast.
Samaria (1866 Square, +30 38600, www.samariahotel.gr) offers simple but well taken care of, comfortable rooms with friendly staff. It is situated in the town centre making it easy to go everywhere around on foot. There is an excellent roof garden from where you can enjoy a post card view of the city.
Avra Imperial Beach Resort & Spa (Kolimpari, +30 2824084500, www.avraimperial.gr). A large resort in a green area with pools and in water bars, gym, steam baths, massage rooms, 3 restaurants, room service and whatever your heart desires for a holiday you will never forget. There is also free wi-fi so you can tell everyone what a great time you are having!
Alcanea Boutique Hotel (Aggelou 2, Old Harbour, +30 75370, www.alcanea.com) is in the Old Town, with a view of the old harbour and all comforts, such as internet, flat screen TVs, bathrobes, cosmetics and even i pod docking stations. A wine bar, a patio filled with flowers and delicious breakfasts made with local products. The building is dated back to the venetian era and used to be Eleftherios Venizelos' headquarters for 24 years. It is open all year round and offers suites, superior rooms and simple rooms, traditionally decorated with an Arabic twist.
Where to eat
Bougatsa Iordanis (Apokoronou 24) the town's trademark renowned across the country. Serving the best breakfast, lunch and afternoon snack. The main shop is situated on the side street across the roofed Municipal Chania Market. Beware of the fake Iordanis places all around.
Thalassino Ageri (Vivilaki 25, Tambakaria, +30 56672) is a local secret. Tables almost in the sea, fresh local fish, perfect seafood, local greens. We need say no more. At Chalepa, next to the old tambakaria. Make sure you have a reservation.
Akrogiali (Akti Papanikoli 19, +30 73110, Nea Chora): your nostrils will lead you inside once you smell the smells of the food cooking inside. This is a Cretan fish tavern that loves small fish and knows how to treat them. Mezes such as grilled sardine fillets and shrimp salads combined with sea views. Recently renovated with excellent service.
Mesogeiako (Cahtzimichali Daliani 36, Old Town, +30 57992) is the first shop on the busy pedestrian town street. Manolis, the owner chef will take great care of you, serving selected Mediterranean dishes and fresh salads. Don't miss the mushroom and truffle oil risotto and the home made panacotta at the end of your glorious meal.
Patrelantonis (Marathi, +30 63337, +30 63666) is a traditional fish tavern one of the best in the area, on Marathi beach, open since morning for coffee and then fresh fish and Cretan delicacies next to the sea.
Karnagio (+30 53366) at the Old Harbour, next to the large Neorio. Nice spot, nice views, easy going Cretan cuisine. Boureki, ntakos, kalitsounia, staka, dolma and anything your heart desires. Open for lunch and dinner.
Kouzina E.P.E (Daskalogianni 25, 42391): home cooking in an open kitchen traditional tavern with Greek cuisine with a twist. The menu is written on the blackboard written everyday by the chef.
Antigoni (+30 45236), at the end of the beautiful Old Harbour promenade, this is an old time classic fish taverns populated by locals. Extra fresh local fish, fich mezes, freshly cut fries and the renowned bouillabaisse.
Plaka (Sifaka 8, Old Harbour, +30 6977177245) is open morning to the following morning with everything you need need to satisfy three of your senses: beautiful place made by the owners Michalis and Maria, scrumptious dishes, (don't miss the “aichmalotos” desserts), and vinyl records music by well known Djs for your listening pleasure.
Tamam (Zampeliou 49, +30 96080). The old Turkish baths. Impressive on the inside but also on the outside where you will be served authentic politiki cuisine with a twist as well as Cretan specialties. If it is August make a reservation.
Koutourouki (Parodos Potie 8, Machairadika, +30 2821707008) is on the stone paved Potie alley, a true paradise in the heart of the old town, filled with colours, original artwork made of clay, smells and tastes inspired by Crete and other Greek areas. Open since morning with coffees, home made pies and special ouzo, raki and wine mezes.
Nyhterida (At Korakies, 7km away from Chania, +30 64215). It is an absolute must, to visit Mpampis Nestoridis' tavern. His name stands for “the hospitality prince”. Historic tavern, dated back to 1933, with an amazing view of the Souda bay. Cretan and Mediterranean dishes, modern design, full cellar, all under the owner's discreet supervision.
Leventis (Ano Stalos, +30 68155) Multiawarded but not at all snob with simple but excellent Cretan cuisine. The veranda on the edge of the cliff and the view is almost as good as the food. Friendly advice: make reservations and avoid rush hours.
Antartis (+30 78833) at Therissos, just outside Chania. The route there will take your breath away. It is better in the afternoon. You will end up at Antartis for delicious Cretan meats, potatoes, staka, salads until you drop.
Go to the two Loux (+30 52515, Old Harbour). Everyone's meeting point for the past 25 years. Open from morning till dawn.
Synagogi (+30 95242, Kondilaki, Old Town) has been in the old Jewish quarters for 18 years where everyone meets up for cool summer cocktails and music from around the world. With its ambiance it will put a seal on your holidays.
Aroma (+30 41472, Old Harbour, akti Tombazi) is on the harbour's best spot perfect for people watching and good coffee and juices.
Mylos (+30 60449 at Platanias). When the locals say they are going to Platanias, they mean Mylos. Super leveled club with an excellent sound system, well known Djs and everyone you saw on the beach during the day.
Neromylos (+30 60449) is where the fun starts in the morning next to Mylos. This beach club features a pool with water seats, where you can eat, drink and have fun all day and get warmed up for the night.
Neorio Moro (Sailing Club at the Old Harbour), is the coolest, quiet, excellent all day coffeehouse in townwith incredible views. Paris and Kallia will soon become your friends.
Don't leave without
Manousakis – Nostos Winery (Vatolakkos Chanion, 78787, www.nostoswines.com. The Manoussakis family is producing local quality wines with love and respect to the local tradition. Their trademark is three manoussakia (small white flowers)
Geraniou Lemanades. Try them all and you will look for them everywhere
Buy cheese form the Papagiannkides at Pervolakia, sausages from Kalogridis at Kokkino Metochi, honey from Voukolies, barley rusks from the Dradakis bakery, near the Chania stadium, home made desserts from Chrissanthi (at Mylonogianni 92), home made lasagna from Filia, at Agios Georgios Gramvoussa and alatsi from Balos or Gavdos.
Area Code: +30 28210
Police: +30 25854
Tourist Police: +30 25930
Town Hall Tourism Office: +30 36155
First Aid: +30 22000