Crete - Chania Area
The largest island in Greece, Crete is a feast for the senses: wild natural beauty and thousands of years of culture, history and exquisite cuisine.
On Crete, you’ll find some of the most significant attractions in Greece: famous archaeological sites such as the Minoan palaces of Knossos, Phaistos, Malia and Kato Zakros. You’ll also visit important monasteries, some built in the 15th century or even earlier, including the Preveli Monastery in southern Rethymno.
A paradise for thrill-seekers, hikers and nature lovers
Crete is the ideal destination for all kinds of sports and activities in nature. For canyoning and hiking, the gorges offer unparalleled beauty. The largest and most famous is Samaria, with its world-renowned Portes (Iron Gates). Other noteworthy canyons are Amba, Tripiti, Kourtaliotiko, Kamaraiko (the longest), Ha (the so-called ‘king of Cretan gorges’), and Ethias and Eligas. You’ll hike across these landscapes of sublime beauty and diversity and, for off-road and 4x4, you’ll zig and zag along Crete’s dirt roads. Meanwhile, the cosmopolitan resorts in both the north and south of the island are ideal for water sports and scuba diving.
Chania is a riveting city full of intriguing contradictions and breadth of beauty. The architecture is a combination of archaeological, Venetian and modern buildings and it will win you over straight away. The captivating old Venetian harbour lines the coast of the town, adding romance to your walks up and down the promenade. The famous Egyptian lighthouse, which is located at the far end of the harbour, offers an endless vista of blue and is one of the most iconic spots to soak in the rich sunset. With numerous tavernas, restaurants, bars, shops and stores, the town is buzzing with life day and night. Greek gastronomy enthusiasts should also pay a visit to the Municipal Market of Chania, also known as Agora where you can find all sorts of local products and Cretan delicacies.
Imagine endless stretches of sandy beaches with crystal clear blue and turquoise waters extending all along Crete’s northern coast, from Platanias Village itself westwards right along the neighbouring villages.
The most iconic and most photographed beaches in the area, in fact the whole of Crete, renowned for their exotic beauty and majestic natural environment, are the heavenly lagoons of Balos at Gramvousa peninsula and Elafonissi, also at the southwestern edge of the island. Between them, lies the virgin beach of ancient Falassarna. And if you’re looking for seclusion, try the secret paradise of Kedrodasos and White Lake near Elafonissi and the African seascapes of Agiannis and Lavrakas on Gavdos island.
Rethymno town is a rare combination of history and modern-day luxury, with its Venetian-era Fortezza and old town, tropical beaches and exquisite Cretan cuisine.
The Fortezza (fortress) sits atop Rethymno’s magical old town like a crown. It’s like travelling back in time, to the period of the Venetians. You’ll climb to the fortress and hear the echoes of the sea. You’ll walk along the Venetian port with its old lighthouse and get lost in the maze of alleyways, admiring the ornate doorways and the Venetian crests that decorate them. You’ll visit the mosques with their minarets and hop between the dozens of shops, restaurants and cafes. And to the east, the longest beach in Crete (12km) awaits you.
The southern coast of Rethymno hosts some of the most beautiful, untouched exotic beaches of Crete. At Agios Pavlos, huge sand-hills descend steeply and vanish into the sea, forming a beach, where one may sense the most positive vibrations of the island. On the adjacent beaches of Ligres and Pahia Ammos by Kerames the scenery remains mysterious. However, the most brilliant turquoise waters in Rethymnon are found on the beaches of Skinaria, Ammoudi and Damnoni, all located near Plakias.
THINGS TO DO & SEE
In a Nutshell
Western Crete is home to the attractive towns of Chania and Rethymno..
Fly to Chania - Approx. 60-90min transfer time to resort
Direct flights from London Heathrow with British Airways
Daily Direct flights from London Gatwick with Aegean
Daily Direct flights from London Gatwick with Easyjet
Direct flights from Manchester with Easyjet
Direct flights from Stansted with Jet2
Direct flights from Manchester with Jet2
Direct flights from Birmingham with Jet2
Direct flights from Leeds Bradford with Jet2
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Our location maps are intended as a helpful guide but are by no means definitive.