CHANIA, CRETE, GREECE
Chania is rich in remnants of the past. Start your adventure in Crete’s second-largest city at Venetian Harbor, the entry to the old port. Soak in the vibe while wandering the narrow streets lined with shops and waterfront restaurants serving local fare like zucchini fritters and sardines stuffed with herbs and sun-dried tomatoes. Then head to Souda Bay, a strategic commercial and military harbor since ancient times, where you’ll find the Aptera Fortress and the oldest Ottoman building in Crete. Cruise to Crete and stop into Archeological Museum of Chania, with artifacts from neolithic to Roman times. Or splash around in the translucent waters of Fallasarna, a beach surrounded by olive groves.
THINGS TO DO IN CHANIA
One of ancient Crete’s most important city-states, Aptera sits on a hill just south of the bay, with two seaports at the entrance to Souda Bay. Check out this active archaeological site to learn about new discoveries that shed light on the most powerful city of western Crete during Minoan times.
Stroll the sandy beach at Stavros Bay, where Anthony Quinn danced in 1964’s “Zorba the Greek.” Explore the three monasteries — Agias Triada, Gouverneto and Katholika — set on this rocky peninsula. Discover Bear Cave on the footpath leading to Katholiko built into the cliff.
HIKE TO THE GORGE
At 18 kilometers, Samaria is the longest of the many deep gorges that cut into Crete’s mountains. The entrance is 42 kilometers south of Chania, and you can hike independently or with a guide. On the way, you might run into some kri kri, the wild goats found only on Crete. The gorge opens out to the black-sand beach at Ayia Roumeli.
Restaurants with fresh seafood abound at the Chania waterfront. Local signatures of savory lamb, mini cheese pies and fresh vegetables also bring something special to the plate. And don’t miss the dacos, a traditional Cretan bread served with tomato, mizithra cheese and rivers of virgin Cretan olive oil.
Chania’s Old Town is packed with unique shops selling handmade ceramic kitchenware and decorations with classic geometric designs, one-of-a-kind jewelry made from pearl and coral — and of course, the local extra virgin olive oil, which is typically cold-pressed and retains distinctive flavors of green apple and fresh-cut grass. Take the time to explore the narrow, less-traveled streets to find both bargains and unique items during your Crete cruise.
Chania, on the Greek island of Crete, boasts a mountainous backdrop, a maze of old town alleys, and a 14th-century Venetian harbour. Beyond Chania, a Mediterranean Cruises destination, there are many sights to discover.
Explore archaeological wonders including the Minoan Palace of Knossos and the 16th-century Arkadi Monastery. Further afield, discover Cretan treasures including rural artisan wineries.
Cruises excursions offer plenty of exciting things to see including:
The Renaissance Agia Triada Monastery
Arkadi Monastery and Rethymno Town
If you value amazing architecture and spiritual reflection, book a Cruise excursion to the Agia Triada Monastery. This Byzantine beauty dates back to the 17th-century and is a glorious Greek Orthodox icon. Located on the green peninsula of Akrotiri, this quiet retreat rewards visitors with true peace of mind. Admire the beauty of the inner courtyard, which is fastidiously cared for. Afterwards, shop raki, wine, olive oil, and honey which is produced onsite by the monks. Then, return to beautiful Chania to see the Venetian harbour and admire the waterfront restaurants.
Enrich your holiday with an unforgettable Cruise excursion to the Arkadi Monastery and Rethymno. Constructed during the Venetian period, Arkadi’s fortress-like walls house a majestic church, influenced by the Renaissance era. Journey through scenic landscapes to Rethymno, a port town noted for its Venetian harbour, lively taverns, historical lighthouse, and fine-grain beaches. Wander the old quarters and use some free time to enjoy shopping, dining, and drinking.
Be captivated by the Minoan Palace, an archaeological site, in the historical city of Knossos. Dating back to the late Bronze Age, it’s the setting for ‘Ariadne, Theseus, and the Minotaur’, the mythological Cretan story. Wander the palace’s ancient structure and discover a maze of 800 rooms. Then, journey to the harbour city of Heraklion where you’ll enjoy shopping, drinking, and tasty Greek food.
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