How to Spend 1 Day in Chania
Probably Crete’s prettiest city, Chania offers the classic Cretan combo of food, wine, sparkling sea, and rugged hills. Venetian and Turkish architecture still adorns the streets of Chania Old Town and the 14th-century Old Venetian Harbor. With one day in Chania, you can soak up the history and savor a taste of Crete. Here’s how.
Morning: City Sights
Start the day by discovering Chania’s signature charms on a history-led tour, whether on foot, by bike, on a Segway, or by Trikke electric 3-wheeler. Explore the Old Venetian Harbor, where fishing boats still bob beside the Venetian Lighthouse, as well as the Great Arsenal, the Firkas Fortress, and the Ottoman-era Hassan Pasha Mosque. Soak up the Old Town, from the Byzantine and Venetian walls to the historic synagogue, Franciscan monastery, and Cathedral of the Virgin Mary. Don’t miss the 5,000-year-old Kasteli ruins. Along the way, browse goods from art and jewelry to leatherware and carpets at a wealth of boutiques.
Afternoon: Food Frenzy
For lunch, take a cooking course, perhaps one focused on Cretan favorites such as cheese pies, hearty stews, and dakos, the island’s answer to Italy’s bruschetta. Alternatively, opt for a more general Greek theme, covering international favorites such as tzatziki, or delve into the recipes of the ancient world. Next, discover the olive, cultivated on Crete for more than 5,000 years. Tour an olive grove, learn about the harvest, see the traditional presses that Cretans still use to produce their oil, and sample a wealth of flavors, scents, and colors on a tutored tasting at a local workshop.
Night: Wine Wandering
As afternoon turns to evening, continue your culinary explorations. Consider a food tour that explores the rich world of mezedes, Greece’s answer to tapas, and wanders between traditional kafeneio pubs and the stylish bars and restaurants that are taking over the Old Town. Discover Crete’s rich winemaking heritage and history on a tasting of local wines, such as the aromatic white known as thrapsathiri, the fresh and delicate vilana, honeyed moschato spinas, or typical full-bodied reds. Wrap up the night with a shot of raki, the aniseed-flavored local liquor that’s the defining taste of Crete.