Chania is a city of great history and beauty, located on the island of Crete. It offers tourists high-quality experiences while maintaining its authentically Greek atmosphere. Additionally, there are many things to do in Chania that aren’t just limited to museums and ruins. Whether you’re looking for breathtaking scenery, historical landmarks, or thrilling adventures, this city has it all. In this post, I will share with you the 14 Best and Fun Things to Do in Chania that you can’t miss. Read on!
Things To Do In Chania
1. Explore Chania Old Town
Nowhere in the world is there a place quite like the Old Town of Chania. Perhaps it is because this section of town has been designated as one of the best-preserved historical centers in Greece. You can walk through its cobblestone streets and feel a sense that time was during the Ottoman Empire.
The streets are narrow, and although they’ve been given names, cutting through them can be confusing if you’re not familiar with the place. The four main streets here in this old town include Kastelli, Topanas, the Jewish district, and the Splantzia District.
The old town is easy to walk around on foot, even though it seems rather confusing at first. The best way to explore this area is by wandering, which you’ll probably do anyway. Just make sure that you don’t miss out on seeing the beautiful mansions and buildings around town. In addition, there are many great shops which you can enjoy visiting during your stay.
The old town has no lack of cafes and restaurants. Besides spending hours walking through the streets, I would also recommend having a few drinks at one of these establishments. Some are quiet and unassuming, while others are busy with people who are out to have a good time.
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2. Wonder Around the Old Port
The Old Port is one of the oldest and most beautiful places in Chania. It has been around since the Venetian occupation and was used for trading with other ports around Greece. It’s a popular place to take pictures because it looks over a lovely stretch of water that goes on for miles.
The area surrounding the port has a lot of cafes and restaurants, as well as a few shops. This is a popular place to enjoy drinks or even dinner after exploring other areas in Chania, such as the Venetian Harbor and the Old Town.
If you visit Chania, don’t miss out on seeing this attraction. It’s a beautiful place to sit for an hour or two when the sun is setting. It makes you feel like you’re sitting right in ancient Greece, despite all of the modern touches that are around. You will feel completely relaxed yet rejuvenated at the same time.
3. Minoan’s World 3D Museum
The Minoan’s World 3D Museum is a must-see for everyone who visits Chania. Quite simply, it is one of the best tourist attractions in Chania. Here, you can learn about the ancient history of Greece through realistic 3D scenes depicting everyday life on Crete thousands of years ago. Visit the palace and homes of the Minoan elite, see the life-like statutes and the wealth of artifacts unearthed from ancient ruins. It’s a fun and educational experience for all ages, especially kids.
One of the most interesting things here is definitely enjoying a 9D film. This is a cinematic experience, unlike anything I’ve ever encountered before. It uses 3D glasses, moving chairs, lights, and wind to put you right in the middle of the action. My favorite was watching a film about sea life, where bubbles floated past my head, and I was surrounded by fish and sharks.
Overall, this is a great place to visit with the family. It’s also a good way to spend the day learning about ancient history in an interactive way, as well as a way to experience something truly unique.
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4. Submarine Trip Under Chania Harbor
One of the most popular things to do in Chania is taking a submarine trip. As you might imagine considering its name, this tour allows you to explore the sea bed and view the coastline from below. It takes about thirty minutes and provides an amazing experience for divers and non-divers alike.
The tour begins with a short information session about safety, and then you get in. There are windows everywhere so that you can see what’s going on in the water. There are also speakers to listen to helpful explanations about what you’re seeing. You can see amazing things like sunken ships, schools of fish, and beautiful coral reefs. It’s a great experience for all ages because you’re guaranteed to see something new.
Taking a submarine trip around Chania is fun and exciting, as well as educational. At the same time, it’s a truly unique experience to see so much underwater life in such a short period. Passengers often spot octopuses, crabs, sea urchins, and more.
5. Museum of the Greek National Football Team
If you’re a fan of Greek football, or if you want to learn more about the history of Greek sports, this museum is a must-see. In fact, it is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chania, as it provides an interesting break from the city’s cultural and historical sights.
Football is the most loved sport in Greece, and this museum houses a treasure trove of football memorabilia, including shirts, medals, trophies, and more. You can find legendary players’ uniforms, see what they looked like after World Cups, view famous photos of footballers holding trophies following their many victories; it’s all here waiting for you to discover.
I found the most interesting thing was a room where visitors could watch some highlight videos from past tournaments, including scenes from World Cups and Euro Cups. Of course, the museum is also full of photographs and other artifacts that depict a bygone footballing age long past.
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6. Archaeological Museum of Chania
The Archaeological Museum of Chania is one of the best tourist attractions in Chania because of its historical importance. It features a wide variety of artifacts spanning from ancient Minoan times to its independence from the Ottoman Turks.
Here you can see golden masks, coins, statues, ceramic pots, vases, weapons, and many other amazing finds. I appreciated that each room also had an explanation of what each artifact was, where it was found, and how the culture typically used it. Just gazing at these objects was fascinating enough for me. But once I actually learned more about them through the included explanations, my interest was piqued.
For example, I found it interesting how many coins were discovered in tombs of wealthy citizens. This suggests that people wanted to take their wealth after they died. This is understandable due to the lack of knowledge about the afterlife at the time.
So if you’re a history buff or archaeology enthusiast, definitely make time to visit. But even if you aren’t particularly interested in these subjects, I still think that this museum is worth a look. It’s well-organized, interesting and quite beautiful.
7. Take a Cretan Winery Tour
There’s nothing like a good day out in the countryside. Taking a Cretan winery tour is an excellent way to do this. Not only can you drink some of the best wine in Greece, but it’s also a wonderful cultural experience where you get to see more than just one aspect of Greek life.
On these tours, you will visit the vineyards, wine cellars, olive groves, and other produce. You’ll also learn how these are all expertly cultivated using traditional methods passed down through generations of farmers. Afterward, you can purchase some of your favorite wines to take home with you as a souvenir.
I had a chance to visit the Manousakis Winery, and I can definitely recommend it. The tour is great, and afterward, you get to taste a variety of wines. The staffs here are very professional and knowledgeable, so you can be sure that your questions will be answered.
This is definitely one of the best things to do in Chania. Not only is it fun and delicious, but you get to meet the people behind the product and understand why they make such good wine.
8. Have fun at Elafonissi Beach
One of the most picturesque places in Chania to visit is Elafonissi Beach. This wonderful attraction is located about 75 km away from Chania. The beach itself is about 1 km long and is covered with small white pebbles. It’s also notable for its pink sand that gives off an otherworldly glow under the light of the setting sun.
The water here is calm and shallow, making it very safe for kids. The seafloor is also fairly flat and sandy, meaning you can relax without worrying about hurting your back. As if that wasn’t enough, it just so happens that Elafonissi is one of the best places to go snorkeling in Chania. It’s actually ranked as one of the top beaches for snorkeling in all of Europe.
The island has a few amenities to offer, including hotels, restaurants, cafes, bars, and changing areas. Generally, this is a great place for families to relax in private surroundings.
9. Have a Romantic Dinner by the Seashore
Looking for something special to do in Chania? How about dinner by the seashore? Your evening will be unforgettable. The waterside restaurants lining the harbor are perfect for watching the setting sun over the water while you dine on fresh seafood, sip crisp wine, and talk about your day. You may even be treated to a bit of traditional Greek dancing, as well as live Greek music. And the best part, it doesn’t have to be expensive.
I recommend that you choose your restaurant with care, as not all are equal. You’ll want to go where the beautiful people are, and I suggest you book early. The best part about having dinner by the sea is that you won’t be rushed to leave once your meal is over. After all, what better place to enjoy a glass of wine and a chat?
One of my favorite restaurants was Palazzo Almare Restaurant. This is an upscale restaurant with good food and friendly service. The view from their patio is lovely. You get a sweeping view of the sea stretching out to the horizon, just off-shore.
10. Botanic Park & Gardens of Crete
The Botanic Park & Gardens of Crete are some of the most beautiful tourist attractions in Chania. This is a quiet and serene place to take a break from sightseeing, enjoy nature, and relax.
This unique park has a vast collection of plants from all around the world, ranging from trees to flowers to herbs. There is a two-kilometer winding path that takes you through lush gardens full of many intriguing plant species. Generally, you could easily spend hours exploring this park.
I especially liked the herb garden with its fragrant smell and lush greenery. In addition, you will spot many different types of birds, as well as some adorable squirrels. There are also shady spots with benches where you can sit and rest, as well as a restaurant where you can grab a quick bite to eat.
11. Shop at the Municipal Market
Another of the best things to do in Chania is visiting the Municipal Market. This is one of the oldest markets on Crete, dating back to 1911. It’s housed in a 4,000-square-meter structure with many stalls inside.
Today, this is a bustling market that is always full of life and color. You can find everything from fresh fruits and vegetables to cheese and meat counters, shops selling household items, clothing stores, a fish market, and food stands with local delicacies.
The fresh fruits and vegetable section was my favorite part of exploring, as I found this to be the best source of local color and atmosphere. The food court has a number of interesting shops to explore, and it’s always fun to see what they have on offer. So, if you are looking to buy something, this is a great place to visit. Plus, this is a great way to spend a couple of hours among the locals.
12. Maritime Museum of Crete
One of the must-see attractions in Chania is the Maritime Museum of Crete. This museum has been recognized as one of the most interesting and interactive maritime museums not only in Greece, but also throughout Europe.
Much of the museum focuses on ancient Crete and its role as a maritime power, including artifacts from the Minoan era through Venetian times. There are also informative exhibits that detail how ships have evolved through the centuries. You can see how navigation equipment has improved, as well as learn about ancient ship-building techniques.
I highly recommend visiting the museum if you have even a passing interest in history, ships, or the sea. It’s a great place to spend an hour or two learning about maritime history and admiring some interesting artifacts. Above all else, it’s a fun way to experience something truly unique in this day and age.
13. Hike the Samaria Gorge
The Samaria Gorge is one of the most popular things to do in Chania, and for a good reason. The sheer beauty of this area is mind-boggling. It’s like walking through a landscape out of an Indiana Jones or Tomb Raider film. In fact, the hike through the gorge has been voted one of the most scenic in all of Europe. It is not to be missed.
The Samaria Gorge has a length of 18km, and it can be accessed from the village of Omalos, which is 42 km south of Chania. The hike takes you through deep-cut gorges, pine forests, and cliffs that rise almost vertically. However, it can take up to 10 hours or longer (one way) if you stop for breaks. So make sure you’re in decent shape before attempting it.
14. Ancient Kydonia
The ancient city of Kydonia is one of the fascinating attractions in Chania. This site was a once prosperous city and home to some of the most important people on Crete: namely the Minoans. It is believed that only the place of elites and rulers, a resting place where they could relax and enjoy life.
Today, only ruins remain, but they are well worth exploring if you want to see what life was like thousands of years ago. Walkthrough the maze of stones and learn about daily life in Ancient Kydonia. Some of the most interesting are the ruins of an ancient temple, a cistern used for collecting rainwater, and Agia Ekaterini square. A walk here is truly an incredible experience, especially for history lovers.
This area is quite atmospheric in that it still has the feel of an ancient settlement. And since it sits on a hilltop, the views of the sea and nearby mountains are spectacular. And with its unique grassy slopes and amazing architecture, visiting this site should be included in your itinerary.
There’s a lot to do around Chania, which is why it’s such a popular destination for tourists. However, I recommend that you don’t just do the typical things on your trip. Take this list of 14 top attractions and things to in Chania with you, and you’ll be able to have some truly unique experiences during your holiday. No matter your tastes or interests, it’s certain that something will catch your eye.
Where to stay: Best Hotels in Chania Crete