The heart of the city beats in the old town with its beautiful Venetian port. It is truly worthwhile to devote an entire day to explore Chania . Wander through the labyrinth of picturesque alleys and take in the magic that the city of Chania has to offer. It is one of the prettiest – if not the prettiest – cities of Greece.
Begin your jaunt at the waterfront of the old port, pulsing with life and full of cafes, restaurants and historical monuments. Continue on to the mill which will lead you to the beautiful Egyptian lighthouse.
But don't just stay in the port!
Find the roads that lead to the interior of the old town of Chania and meander through the narrow alley ways. You will climb up and down stairs, pass under arches and stroll next to the Byzantine and Venetian walls that fortified the old city and pass in front of the well tended homes with courtyards decorated with colorful flowers and climbing plants.
Continuing your walk through the streets of the old town of Chania you will come across archeological excavations which have uncovered a wealth of findings and show that Chania was built on the site of an important ancient Cretan city called Kidonia. According to legend, this city was the "mother" of all Cretan cities. Today, in the old town of Chania, the influences of the time that Crete was a Venetian colony (1252-1645), are quite evident. As well, you will see the additions and changes that took place while Crete was occupied by the Ottomans (1645-1898) and those of the Egyptian occupation (1831-1841) – which coincided with the Turkish occupation.
Notice the architecture of the buildings that you will see during your traverses. This architecture reflects the cultures and religions of the different civilizations that left their mark on the city of Chania.
Many buildings were, and remain, homes while others are now shops. Many Venetian mansions have become small luxury hotels, while others have been turned into museums and galleries.
Wandering through the different neighborhoods of the city, allow yourself to travel mentally down the path of the rich history of this place : Kasteli, the hill where the history of the city of Chania began and was once the acropolis or the core of the city. Topanas, the aristocratic district. Ovriaki, the Jewish Quarter. Sintrivani, the gathering place of the Christians during the Turkish Occupation and, in later years, the principal square of Chania. Splantzia, the Turkish neighborhood when the Turks occupied Chania.
You can also visit some – or all – of the museums in the old town or some of the cultural exhibits: The Archeological Museum of Chania, on Halidon Street is housed in an old monastery of the Franciscan Monks . The Maritime Museum of Crete at the west corner of the port occupies a part of the Firkas Fortress. The Byzantine and Postbyzantine Collection of Chania, housed in the church of the monastery of San Salvatore which is located at the end of Theotokopoulou street, just behind the Firkas Fortress.
Having finished this trip through time and crammed with cultural and historical knowledge, continue the walk with a relaxing pastime ... window shopping. There are many shops in the old town selling products of the Cretan land and lovely souvenirs.
Aside from the shops that you will come across along the streets of the city, the Municipal Market - which is housed in a cross-shaped building on the boundaries of the old and the new city of Chania - is a place where you will find many shops of all types and it is most certainly worth a visit.
Additionally, one of the most popular shopping streets is Skridlof – known as the "Stivanadika". Here was the center for the manufacturing of the traditional leather boots worn by Cretan men. They are call Stivania. Today, in addition to Stivania you will find a large choice of leather goods.
Finally at the "Macheradika" on Sifakas Street you can buy traditional knives, an accessory that is a necessary part of the male Cretan traditional dress. The knives are often engraved with imaginative and often comical poetic rhymes called Cretan "Mantinades".
When you are ready for a respite from your wanderings, have a seat for coffee or food at any of the many cafes and tavernas in the old town or at the waterfront of the Venetian harbor. Enjoy the unique view of the sea and the purple color of the sunset with the Egyptian lighthouse in the background.