About Chania (Crete Island)
Chania is set along the north coast of the Crete island and is its second largest city. Much of the city’s old district was developed around the harbor which was built in the 14th century by the Venetians. Even though if seems like most of the old building are from this era Chania has much richer history. It is built on the site of the Minoan settlement called Kydonia. The settlement was important enough to be mentioned in Homer’s Odyssey. After that Chania was for some time under the Byzantine rule and the rule of the Arabs. Under the Arab rule the Christian population was persecuted. This ended when the Byzantine Empire retook the city in 916 AD. In the late 13th century the city was under Venetian rule. During that time the Chania was fortified and strengthened giving it the form that it still has today.
Basic info and car hire in Chania (Crete Island)
Location: Along the north coast of island Crete, Greece
Population: 108,642 (as of 2011)
Official language: Greek (People living on Crete speak a dialect known as Cretan Greek. It is rarely used in written language and doesn’t differ much from Standard Greek.)
Currency: Euro € (EUR)
Weather: Chania has a typical Mediterranean climate. This mean that you can expect sunny and dry summers. Between April and October, clear-sky is almost an everyday occurrence. An average high temperature in the summer is around 29 °C. It is always warm but there are rarely any fierce heat waves.
Public holidays in Chania: It can be a nuisance trying to get somewhere during the bank holidays so we recommend you to come prepared and check the dates of public holidays in Greece to avoid unnecessary complications.
Internet coverage: If you want an access to the free Wi-Fi hotspot the best way is to visit a café. More and more small Cafes and Restaurants are providing free Wi-Fi hotspots. Check this site for some cafes with free access to the internet.
Driving in Chania (Crete Island)
- Age limits: Minimum driving age is 18, however many car hire companies require you to be at least 21 years old and in a possession of a driving licence for at least one year. It is not uncommon for car hire companies to charge a young driver surcharge for drivers under the age of 25. Be sure to check their Terms & Conditions prior to the hire.
- International Driving Permit: If your driving licence is in non-latin alphabet you are required to have an international driving permit.
- Additional papers: You need an ID (a passport is best). For hiring a car you usually need a proof of an address. Check with your car hire company which additional papers they require prior to the pick-up.
- Additional requirements: You are required to have a warning triangle and a reflective vest in the car at all time.
- Children in the car: It is required by law that the children under the age of 13 must be seated in the appropriate child seat. If you would like to avoid the complications of traveling with your own baby seat, you can hire one with your car hire company.
- Driving side of the road: Right
- Lights: It is recommended to have your light on at all time but required by law only at night time.
- General speed limits: In the urban area, the meter must not exceed 31 mph (50 km/h), otherwise, the rule is 56 mph (90 km/h).
What to see in Chania (Crete Island)
Our favourite spots
Chaina’s historic Venetian harbour has been a centre of the city since the 14th century. Filled with wooden fishing boats it is has an enchanting presence. It is ringed with promenade where you can enjoy a cup of coffee in one of the charming cafés, just take a stroll or maybe stop and have a meal at one of the seafood restaurants.
Botanic Park & Gardens of Crete
Crete’s Mediterranean climate offers perfect conditions for olives and grapes as well as tropical fruits such as avocados and bananas. In the Botanic Park you can stroll along the two-kilometre path where you can admire exotic flowers and fruit trees from all over the world. There is also a café – restaurant where you can rest your feet and have a cup of coffee or a traditional Cretan meal.
The Monasteries of Akrotiri Peninsula
Located on a peninsula of Akrotiri, just 10 kilometres of Chania, this beautiful monetary of Agia Triada is still occupied by monks. A lovely spot for a day trip with your hired car. The monastery was founded in 1612 and is set amongst the olive groves and orange orchards. You can buy olive oil made by the monks. A short walk away is Katholiko – an abandoned 6th century monastery.
Set in the Gothic building which used to be a church of San Francesco, built by the Venetians, this museum holds archaeological findings from western Crete dating back to Neolithic times to the Roman era. The museum’s collection is rich with Minoan items – ceramic, golden jewellery and clay tablets with inscriptions. There is also a great collection from Roman era – a mosaic floor, ceramic bulls and a magnificent marble bust of Roman Emperor Hadrian.
Hotels in Chania (Crete Island)
Located just 100 meters from Saint Anargyri Church this hotel offers rooms with flat-screen TV. Many rooms feature a balcony and a seating area.
Set at the premium location on the waterfront of Chania’s Old Venetian harbour this hotel has a smoke-free policy on all communal spaces, rooms and suites.
Veranas Studios is the perfect starting point for all your activities in Chania. Most attractions are accessible by foot.
This hotel is set in a historical picturesque house overlooking the beautiful old town and harbour. Their restaurant offers delicious Cretan specialities.
Drive your rental car around Chania (Crete Island)
Chania is a beautiful city by itself and it can take you your entire holidays to explore and enjoy it. However, there is much to see in the surrounding area. With car hire in Chania it will be a breeze to plan your trips. Here are few suggestions for day trips dorm Chania with the commodity of a hired car.
Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe and is a popular destination for tourist and locals alike. There you can take a hiking trip where you can enjoy the stunning scenery.
Knossos Palace in Heraklion is three hours away which should be no problem if you hired a car in Chania. This palace is well worth the trip as it is one of the seven wonders of the Ancient World. There is a famous legend of the Minotaur’s Labyrinth was located here.
Where to eat, drink and party in Chania (Crete Island)
Excellent restaurant with a sea view features deliciously prepared seafood. The menu is dictated by the day’s catch.
This restaurant is specialized in cooking fish and seafood. Daily menu is dependent on the weather and seasons and availability of the seafood on the fish market
Set in the old building which used to be a hammam (Turkish baths) this restaurant offers a mix of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern specialities.
This Mediterranean restaurant is located in a renovated building. Pick from their selection of delicious salads or try their tasty tenderloin with prosciutto and green apples.
Major events and festivals in Chania (Crete Island)
There is always something going on in Chania. People are celebrating one thing or another all the time. Numerous festivals and events are usually accompanied by food and live entertainment. If you enjoy traditional Greek cuisine than you should visit at least one festival while in Chania.
Celebration of the Virgin Mary15th August
Greece biggest religious holiday – the Dormition of Virgin Mary – is celebrated with feasts and folklore dances.
This festival is a celebration of the anniversary of the battle of Crete and features various sports competitions alongside memorial events.
Each year in April people gather in the Village of Assi Gonia where they honour sheep. Thousand as brought there blessed by the priest and milked.
During August and September numerous concerts with well-known artist as well as exhibitions and theatrical nights are held in the city of Chania.