One of Crete’s main attractions is the beautiful old town of Chania with its Venetian Harbour lined with cafes and restaurants, and winding cobbled alleyways. Steeped in history, Chania stands on the ancient site of Kydonia which flourished during the Roman period, and later became the capital city of the Cretan State (1897 to 1913).
The harbour was built by the Venetians between 1320 and 1356. It was used for commerce and also as a fortification against pirate attacks.
On its north side the harbour is protected by a breakwater. The Firkas Fortress at the harbour entrance and the St Nicholas bastion in the middle of the breakwater defended the harbour from raiders.
The lighthouse is a distinctive feature of the harbour. It was built at the harbour entrance by the Venetians and restored in its present form by the Egyptians (1830-1840).
Take time to explore the back alleyways, you’ll be amazed at the gems you’ll discover: beautiful old Venetian buildings with courtyard cafes and cozy restaurants, Cretan handicraft shops, boot makers on the Leather Street, and rows of shops selling hand carved Cretan knives at the Stivanadika.
Stroll eastwards around the harbour past the multitude of fishing boats, yachts and pleasure boats; here the harbour front is lined with excellent fish tavernas. Continue right around and along the sea wall out to the beautiful renovated lighthouse the so distinctive feature of the harbour.
You can also take a trip on a horse drawn carriage to give your feet a rest and explore out and beyond the harbour.