Chania: A breathtaking destination, where every visit, offers brand new experiences for the senses.
Chania is the contemporary and most popular name of the western prefecture of Crete Island. Chania has replaced the Minoan name Kydonia or Kythonia and its origin has not really been validated till now. One of the most possible scenarios has to do with the Arabs having named this part of Crete "Alhania", since Kythonia or Kydonia was difficult for them to use. "Alhania" is believed to be deriving from an Arab God "Vulhanos" and after the Arabs left the island, the inhabitants left the article "Al" out of the word and used only Chania.
Chania Old Town is an enchanting traditional neighborhood with picturesque small, stone paved alleys, souvenir shops, tavernas and old mansions is the epitome of sightseeing in Chania! Nestled right next the scenic Old Harbour Chania Old Town allures any visitor making him not want to leave it. The municipal market is located in the center of Old Town where the main fortifications once stood. It was opened by Eleftherios Venizelos in 1913 and is considered one of the most impressive covered markets in the Balkans. The market has 76 shops, including butchers’, fishmongers’, general stores, a chemist’s and many others. The Venetian Harbour of Chania with the monumental, worldwide known Ottoman Mosque and Lighthouse offers an utterly pleasant walk to the boarders of Old Chania Town. Fish taverns, cafes and bars await guests to indulge in this beautiful and romantic setting. You should definitely stroll around the small alleys and admire this great architecture and the discerning atmosphere that will seduce you and take you in an unforgettable travel back in time.
The nightlife in Chania is simply spectacular and intense. Whether you are a fan of rock, jazz or dance music in the capital of Chania, you can find a wide variety of atmospheric bars and lounge cafes that stay open till a bit after midnight, there are also few clubs that stay open till the early morning hours and play loud music. The most popular bars are found in the old port of Chania or at the backstreets of the Old Town.
Chania is located on the western coast of Crete Island and thus most of its perimeter is full of beaches: large coasts or small gulfs, organized or unspoilt coves, family friendly or secluded havens. From busy beaches like Agia Marina beach, Platanias beach and Falassarna beach you can enjoy beaches considered to be protected areas due to their natural beauty and unique landscape like Balos beach or Elafonisi beach. Chania boasts any kind of beach to fit all tastes and needs not only near its centre but we could surely claim that the southern beaches are maybe among the best in the entire island since they are completely unspoilt, rarely crowded and offer the visitor literal "mind distraction" from its everyday routine.
The most popular way to get to Chania, is by plane to Chania’s International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula a bit north-east of the city. The airport is named after Daskalogiannis, a Sfakiot hero who was skinned by the Turks in the 18th century. There are several flights a day from Athens to Chania, with Aegean Airlines and Ryanair. From April until late October, there are many direct charter flights to Chania from the UK, Germany, Scandinavia and other European countries. The airport recently became a Ryanair hub connecting Chania to over 20 European and Domestic destinations. As of 2015 the tourist season is extending with the support of Ryanair who now offer 29 routes from Chania to destinations around Europe as well as all year round twice a week flights to Paphos Cyprus. This opens up new opportunities for expats and tourists to be able to get to Chania in winter, transiting via Paphos rather than Athens. All year round now both Ryanair and Aegean Airlines offer many daily flights direct to Athens. With its choice of city breaks, beautiful beaches, stunning mountains Chania in Crete is a very popular all year round destination, with Chania staying open all year round even if many of the smaller beach resorts are closed in winter. Many North European expats have made Chania their choice of home, in particular expats from countries such as the UK and Norway. As of 2015 you will also see a huge expansion underway at Chania Airport with a new terminal being built. All year round you will find car hire facilities, taxis and much more.
There are half-hourly buses which can take you from the airport to the center of town. Buses are arranged around arrivals of flights and the journey to Chania Central Bus Station takes about 20-30 min. Otherwise you can take a local taxi or book an airport transfer in advance.
There are also ferry services from Athens (Piraeus port) to Chania that arrive at the nearby port of Souda. Daily trip with ANEK LINES and twice a day through summer season.