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Best things to do in Chania Town

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Where in the world: Europe  /  Greece  /  Crete  /  Chania Prefecture  /  Chania Town

Top 15 things to do in Chania Town

1. Old Venetian Harbor

A remnant of the Venetian rule in Crete, Old Venetian Harbor sits at the heart of Chania's old town. Although this part of the city suffered massive damage during the bombing raids of World War II, the medieval harbor remains one of the most picturesque urban districts on the island. This old waterfront neighborhood contains some of Crete's finest Venetian mansions, restored and upgraded in the last few decades to accommodate boutique hotels, trendy restaurants, and elegant bars. The remains of the Venetian city walls frame a network of narrow backstreets extending from the harbor, where you can often find local artisans selling handmade crafts.
Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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2. Wine Tours & Tastings

Suggested duration: 4 hours
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3. Greek National Football Museum

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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4. Monastery of Arkadi, Rethymnon

Resembling a fortress, the Eastern Orthodox Monastery of Arkadi served as an important site of Cretan resistance against the Ottoman rule. During the Cretan revolt of 1866, women, the elderly, and children sought refuge from battle in the monastery's powder room. When the Ottomans reached the powder room, the hidden Cretans lit the gunpowder, killing themselves, as well as many Turkish soldiers. Explore this important national site and admire the varied architecture of the complex. Make sure to spend time in the 16th century church. The striking construction was heavily influenced by Renaissance art. Take care to be respectful of the many pilgrims who come here for spiritual reasons.
Suggested duration: 3 hours
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5. Samaria Gorge National Park, Sfakia

Featuring a dramatic feature of Crete's landscape, Samaria Gorge National Park serves as a major tourist attraction and a protected biosphere reserve, famous for sheltering the extremely rare kri-kri goats. Each year nearly 200,000 people walk through the national park's famous gorge, which starts at an altitude of 1,250 m (4,100 ft) and ends on the shores of the Libyan Sea. To avoid the worst of the crowds, start your hike as early in the day as you can. You cannot camp overnight in the gorge, so you must complete the 16 km (9 mi) hike in a single day. To discover the gorge in the company of other hikers, join a guided excursion through the park.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
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6. Maritime Museum of Crete

View the model of the bridge of a World War II torpedo boat and gain an appreciation for nautical history at Maritime Museum of Crete. Featuring models of ships, nautical instruments, paintings, historical photographs, and war relics, the museum classifies exhibits chronologically from the Bronze Age up to modern times. Be sure to check out the section dedicated to the German invasion of Crete and the model of the fortified town and port under Venetian Rule. Don't leave without visiting the well-stocked library, containing Greek and foreign exhibits with a nautical theme.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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7. Lighthouse of Chania

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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8. The Venetian Fortezza, Rethymnon

A relic of the Venetian occupation of Rethymon, The Venetian Fortezza stands in the center of town, offering 360-degree views of the coast below. In 1580, more than 107,00 Cretans were forced to help build the fort to protect the Venetians' last overseas colony. Unfortunately, several flaws, such as the lack of buttresses and a ditch, made the walls easy to scale without a ladder. In 1646, the Ottomans seized the fortress and settled the area inside. Many of the interior buildings have been destroyed, but the exterior fortifications remain intact.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
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9. Rethymnon Old Town, Rethymnon

Nestled between the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean and the remains of a 15th-century fortress, Rethymnon Old Town offers a labyrinth of narrow backstreets, soaked in history and lined by balconied private homes. Built almost entirely by the Venetians, this "palia poli" (old town) maintains its aristocratic medieval appearance, featuring graceful arched doorways and stone staircases. Indisputably one of Crete's best-preserved old towns, this neighborhood also contains the ruins of Byzantine and Hellenic-Roman structures, as well as a 17th century Islamic mosque located inside a building that once served as a Venetian church. Start your exploration at the neighborhood's landmark Venetian loggia, which houses the town's tourist information office.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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10. Scuba & Snorkeling

Suggested duration: 2h 30 min
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11. Archaeological Museum of Chania

Archaeological Museum of Chania displays a large collection of Minoan and Roman artifacts from the city of Chania and the surrounding area. Several items from ancient cities, such as Kydonia, Idramia, Aptera, and Kissamos, are also on display in the museum. Exhibits of coins, jewelry, vases, sculpture, mosaics, and clay tablets help you get an idea of how these ancient civilizations lived. Opened in 1963, the museum is housed in the Venetian monastery of St. Francis, which has been a monument in the city since the 16th century.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
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12. Off-Road Tours, Rethymnon

Suggested duration: 2 hours
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13. Archaeological Site of Ancient Aptera, Souda

Tour the remains of massive Roman water cisterns and wander through structures spanning over 2,000 years of history at Archaeological Site of Ancient Aptera. Walk through an ancient theater, the remnants of several Doric temples, and a Roman peristyle villa, then make your way to the summit of the site for a sweeping view of the area. The uneven ground and climb to the summit may be challenging for people with mobility issues. There are no places to eat or drink, so bring plenty of snacks and water. Be sure to check the attraction's website for opening and closing times, which change seasonally.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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14. Lake Kournas, Kournas

Surrounded by mountains, Lake Kournas is Crete's only freshwater lake. Take a walk around the 3.5 km (2.2 mi) perimeter to look for some marine life. The lake is a protected wetland, home to ducks, eels, water snakes, and diamondback terrapin. Visits from herons and cormorants also make bird-watching a popular activity here. Soak up some sun, take a swim, or rent a paddleboat to explore the lake. If you're hungry, try some traditional Cretan specialities from one of the tavernas lining the lake.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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15. Etz Hayyim Synagogue

The Etz Hayyim Synagogue (Hebrew: בית הכנסת עץ חיים) is an Orthodox Jewish synagogue in Chania on the Greek island of Crete. It is the only surviving remnant of the island's Romaniote Jewish community.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
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