Chania Offers Timeless Beauty – And the Joy of Life

T he vibrant, cosmopolitan destination of Chania offers visitors some of the most authentic and fulfilling experiences in Greece that are sure to be cherished forever.



With a history spanning over four millennia, the stunning city of Chania is one of the oldest settlements in the world, which has blossomed into a cosmopolitan bucket-list entry that’s celebrated as an alternative to jet-set favorites Ibiza and Mykonos. Once Crete’s capital (from 1898 to 1971) and hands down the island’s most evocative urban area, Chania is split into the old and new city by ancient Venetian walls that define the border between the two, with the old town consisting of five districts surrounding the Venetian port.

Vestiges of the city’s past can be seen in its dozens of Venetian and Ottoman buildings and architectural details, with mosques, Turkish bathhouses and beautiful mansions given a new lease of life by ongoing restoration works. Some of the city’s old townhouses have been transformed into atmospheric restaurants and boutique hotels. Meanwhile, the Byzantine era is also highly visible, evident in Chania’s frescoed chapels and churches. Walking through the old town is a fascinating experience. To name just a few of the most important attractions, there’s the picturesque Venetian port whose 16th century lighthouse, seawalls and buildings have featured in many films, Firka Fortress, Giali Tzami, the highly interesting Maritime Museum and Grand Arsenal, the old Venetian shipyard which now houses the Centre of Mediterranean Architecture, the Archaeological Museum and the buzzing Municipal Market, where visitors can buy local products.

Then, of course, there are Chania’s residents, whose zest for life is infectious, evident in the plethora of cafes, bars and restaurants spread along its fascinating labyrinth of alleyways and tiny squares dotted all over the old part of the city. This place’s all about enjoying life.




  With its traditional villages and rolling hills, western Crete’s raw beauty is unparalleled. If you’re staying at Domes Noruz Chania, Autograph Collection or Domes Zeen Chania, a Luxury Collection Resort, Crete, any of these stunning landmarks are just a short drive away. Further boasting mountain peaks, fertile valleys, secluded beaches and incredible canyons, the famed area of Sfakia begins at the impressive cone-shaped formations of the Lefka Ori [White Mountains] and stretches all the way down to the shores of the Libyan Sea. This is where Europe’s longest gorge, the 18 km long Samaria is located. Beginning just below the Omalos plateau, its width varies between 150 and 3 m, while its walls reach 500 m at their highest points. It ends at the seaside village of Agia Roumeli, with hikers often spotting the kri-kri, Crete’s native wild goat. Western Crete also provides a multitude of opportunities for free climbing. The most popular climbing track is found near Chania at Theriso gorge, with levels of difficulty ranging from V to VIII.

Further afield, the land is filled with castles, heroes and legends – the result of the island’s tumultuous history and many revolts, one example being the bloody massacre at the hands of the Ottoman army which took place at Frangokastello in May 1828. In the same region, as dawn breaks daily between May and June, strange human shadowlike figures appear on the coast. Folk tradition refers to them as the Drosoulites and explains them as ghosts of the slain warriors; they are largely considered to be a fascinating optical illusion caused by light reflection.



Sougia and Paleohora are pretty seaside towns offering rest and repose, with Paleohora providing the perfect base to visit the peaceful island of Gavdos, the southernmost place in Europe, as well as stunning Elafonisi.

The port town of Kissamos – which provides a good base for walking, touring and relaxing – is situated 16 km away from the stunning beach of Falassarna, with the wild and remote peninsula of Gramvousa also within close proximity. Other attractions in the surrounding area include the highly scenic region south of Kissamos known as the Ennia Horia [Nine Villages], famous for its chestnut festival on the third Sunday of every October, as well as the ruins of the ancient city of Polyrrhenia, which was founded by the Dorians and was continuously inhabited until Venetian times.