Crete has a good public bus service. The PORT bus stop is about 50 meters from where you dock, the fare is about 3.40 Euros return and takes ten minutes to Chania. The buses are frequent, and can be one every five minutes. Chania bus service can be researched here but there is no need, it is in the port, straight to town. But if you want to venture further afield, to find the bus station in Chania walk to the top of Halidon Street, across the square and turn right – it’s about a hundred metres on the left. To see the harbour, just follow the old town signs.
It could be considered a crime to head straight for the beautiful blue flag beaches because the old town is said to be the prettiest in Greece. However, a couple of hours relaxing might fit in nicely and there will be time. You can walk round from the harbour to Nea Chora which is a fantastic beach with bars and dining. See our film for the sea food plater! Buses can take you to more beaches if you are adventurous. But, the Old Town and Chania’s Venetian Harbour, built in the 14th century must not be missed. This is a cosmopolitan place where most of what you will want to see is clustered close to the harbour – cobbled streets, old buildings, museums, churches, pastry shops offering wonderful cafes, restaurants, tavernas serving local wines and bourkei pastries and Cretan pilaf. Rushing back to the buffet for lunch may not happen! The atmosphere here in the harbour and narrow alleyways is unique and up there with Venice and Florence.
Architectural influences from history, Greece, Rome and Turkey with museums, art and people; every time you stop it is a photograph. If you have been here many times you may venture out; Chania is surrounded by numerous rich options for sightseeing, exploration and discovery. Mountain villages provide a view into the “inner Crete”. The Samaria and many other gorges can be hiked, archaeological sites abound, but these may be tours.
Sadly the War Museum of Chania has been closed. The cemetery is the first stop of the Hop ON Hop Of bus, and very near the ship. See our separate film for this.
- You might head up to the mountain village of Archanes under the pretext of seeing the Minoan ruins, but try the local wines that are renowned across Greece.
- Just over an hour’s drive from Chania, a 16-kilometre cleft dissects the Cretan countryside. The Samaria Gorge is best explored on-foot via one of the trails that criss-cross their way through the reserve.
- Monastery of Agia, Triada and Chania, or Holy Trinity, Monastery, blazoned with bougainvillea, is one of the most spectacular in Crete. A trip there lets you explore it up-close. Built in the 17th century, the three-domed church sits in the middle of a fortified complex. One of the church’s charms is the fact its architecture is a mix of ancient Greek and western-influenced styles. Antique, temple-like Doric columns are teamed with decorative facades used in the more modern Renaissance style. There’s a wine cellar and an olive oil mill, as well.
- Arkadi Monastery and Rethymnon Town can be a tour. The Monastery Arkadi dates back to the 16th century, take a look at the arched doorways and stone staircases and the Renaissance influence in the architecture mixing both Roman and baroque elements. This building played a lead role in the Cretan revolt against Ottoman rule in the mid-19th century. In 1866, almost 1,000 Greeks sought refuge in the monastery. After 3 days of battle, the people blew themselves up rather than surrender to the Ottomans.
In the movie, For Your Eye’s Only (which would have been my first Bond movie had a union hiccup delayed me joining the team to Octupussy) Roger Moore’s high speed boat chase was filmed in the Bay.
Ship Tours may well include:-
- A Taste of Crete
- Akrotiri and Chania Old Town
- Aptera, Gavalohori and Chania Town
- Archaeological Museum and Chania Old Town
- Arkadi Monastery and Rethymnon Town
- Manousakis Winery and Vineyards by Jeep
- Rethymnon On Your Own