Greece is home to over 6,000 islands distributed throughout the Aegean and Ionian Seas. By far the largest of those islands is Crete, which is over 3,200 square miles. Crete may not get the fanfare of Santorini or Mykonos, but it is one of Greece’s most beautiful destinations. At just a 2-hour hydrofoil ride from Santorini, it’s easy to access if you’re already on Santorini.
As mentioned earlier, Crete is quite a large island, which you could spend weeks exploring. We only had time in our six-day trip to the island to stay on the western side. While there, we made our home base in Chania (pronounced hahn-yah). Chania is a charming town that is rich in history – its essence is a patchwork of cultures that have called this town home over the years. While it has been inhabited by the Byzantines and later the Ottomans, the most obvious influence comes from the Venetians, who settled in Chania after the Fourth Crusade in 1204. The city, based on a harbor, is reminiscent of Venice, but without the canals.The old town (which is closed to vehicles) is a series of narrow streets and alleyways, each of which contains fascinating nooks and crannies.
The best way to spend a day in Chania is to wander through the streets with nowhere in particular to go.
Make sure to stop in to one of Chania’s many open-air tavernas for some lunch and my Greek beer of choice, Alfa.
While in Chania, we stayed at the fantastic Mama Nena Charming Hotel. They weren’t lying – the place is pretty charming. It’s located right on the harbor, and the top floor room has a magnificent view.
The entrance to Mama Nena isn’t exactly easy to find, especially when arriving at midnight. We had more than a few confused locals who could not offer us directions. We finally reached the entrance after winding through a maze of narrow streets in the old town.
Breakfast options are copious and delicious – along with cooked egg dishes, a variety of local fruits are offered along with bread and preserves, cheeses, yogurt, and fresh honey.
While Chania has plenty to offer, there is also much to see outside the town. We will take you there next!
μέχρι την επόμενη φορά,