Every year Chania ranks as one of the best destinations in Europe to visit for couples, families, investors, international retirees and groups of friends. With something for everyone, spectacular nature and gorges, great shopping, incredible food, beautiful architecture and culture, it’s not hard to understand why.
So, why Chania is among the best holiday destinations in Europe? Chania is a fascinating place that has inspired people to visit for millennia. With incredible works of art, a leisurely pace of life and world-renowned cuisine, the Prefecture of Chania is worth a visit at least once, though it would take a lifetime to see all it has to offer.
Whether you’re visiting the second largest city of Crete, as part of a holiday abroad or enjoying a city break weekend away, we’re here to help you see Chania at its best. So, what makes Chania one of the best European destinations to visit? We could list hundreds of arguments here, from the incredible culinary experiences to the summer festivals and from the iconic tourist attractions to the spectacular beaches but, we’ve rounded up the best of the best to make our case. Here are the most prominent reasons.
Chania’s mild climate, beautiful beaches, scenic beauties, historical architecture, divergent cuisine, advanced tourism facilities, exceptional investment climate, and high living standards also attract visitors.
1. Climate and Beaches
Being a Mediterranean city, Chania is a gate to the warm climate and sunny beaches for Europeans. The wider area welcomes thousands of tourists from other countries every year, which is between March and October.
The Municipality of Chania has one of the highest numbers of the bluest flag beaches in the EU. The World-famous Balos beach is just one of the best sun and sand tourism destinations in Europe. Fallassairna, Kedrodasos, and Elafonisi are some of the most famous beaches in Crete for the summer holidays. Yet, Apokoronas, Akrotiri, Agia Marina, Platanias and Nea Chora provide exceptional tourism and leisure facilities.
2. Historical Sites
The history of Chania goes back to the 7th millennium BC, preceding the ancient Minoan civilization by more than four millennia. The palace-based Minoan civilization was the first civilization in Europe. Thus, City tourism also plays an important role in the tourism volume of the city as well as sun and sand tourism. Many areas attract visitors with their historical heritage and architecture.
Cultural events and sports activities are also determinants for visitors when choosing among destinations. Vamos, Innachori, Kandanos, Palaiochora, Sfakia, Gavalochori, Stavros, Marathi, Kolimbari are some of the best villages to visit in Chania year-round. Many historical sites in these villages make them among the best places to visit in Chania.
3. Value for Money
Chania is known as a value-for-money destination for holidays among Europeans. When compared to other European cities, the cost of spending a week in Chania (and in Crete in general) is much more affordable. Still, this does not mean it is the cheapest location in Europe.
However, Chania offers quality tourism services at affordable prices. Visitors get exceptionally good value for money when spending their holidays in Chania, Crete.
4. Alternatives of Destinations
Chania has many beautiful mountainous villages and seaside settlements. Each one has different traditions, customs, cultures, places to visit, and cuisine. This gives the visitors a variety of options of destinations in the country that they can discover. Everyone can find something matching their dream holiday expectations in Chania, Crete.
5. A Vast Culture
Chania is a city built on multi-cultural foundations and this has led to a diverse breadth of experiences. Wherever you go in Chania, different influences and heritages shine through, from areas such as Chania Old Town, Gavalochori and Vamos through to the restaurants, museums, music and even languages heard on the street. Chania and Crete in general are one of the few destinations in Europe that has this level of cultural diversity.
6. A Sense of Community
Here in Crete, an open heart and genuine hospitality is part of our DNA. We probably inherited it from Zeus Xenios, the ancient patron of hospitality. In fact, there is a real sense of community and the residents of Chania are usually more than happy to help each other out. If you find yourself lost in Chania City or a little unsure you’ll never have to look too far to find someone who is able to help, point you in the direction of the nearest bus station or help you locate that elusive tourist attraction.
Cretans are as such distinguished for this characteristic; they are special people. And it is the reason that the island attracts more and more people every summer.
7. Perfect For Exploring
To experience Chania at its best, take the time to explore the Old Town and the modern city. Chania is set up perfectly for those that want to venture off into the quieter areas, take a walk down the historical streets, or head away from the tourist crowds. Take just a short walk through Chania and you’re sure to find hidden gems and picture postcard cityscape views.
8. Explore an extraordinary mosaic
9. Drop into a slower pace of life
Chania is a coastal town of Crete situated in the western part of the island, but, in attitude and style, it is a unique city of unparalleled beauty. During winter, the pace of life is slow, work hours are relaxed, and leisure is valued more than productivity. The city of Chania provides a welcome respite from the frenetic energy overtaking most of the large cities of our world. Work-life balance is important here, vacation is a right, and time is largely relative: plans aren’t made weeks in advance but often last-minute – just how Greeks like it.
10. Embrace La Dolce Vita
Chania, in general, is famous for its dolce vita lifestyle, where everything is seen through rose-coloured glasses and real-life appears to be a never-ending vacation. Chania has its share of problems – such as bureaucracy, transportation and traffic noise – but a visit to the city will have you leaning into its beauty and charms rather than the negatives. As you stroll through the charming streets in Chania Old Town, basking in the plentiful sunshine with an ice cream in hand and witnessing a breathtaking sunset, you’ll be sure to feel the magic.
11. Appreciate a balanced lifestyle
A visit to Chania will surely leave you with some epiphanies during your trip. Yes, Cretans often eat three-course meals with wine and tsikoudia each day, and, yes, Cretans do not eat meat or, rather, they did not eat meat until a few decades ago. In Crete you sometimes see local people over 90, smoking two packets of cigarettes a day and enjoying rude health. Studies from the 70s revealed that this higher life expectancy in Crete was closely related to their eating habits. The phrase and concept of the ‘Cretan diet’ was born, and many people in the west began to imitate the Cretan diet.
However, they balance it out with vegetables, grains and meats. Travellers to Chania, Crete often worry about how they will maintain a healthy diet in the land of tsikoudia and gamopilafo (Traditional Rice Dish) but cooking strikes a balance between food groups and incorporates fresh, seasonal ingredients into each dish. With regulations that protect farmers and consumers as well as an emphasis on locally sourced foods, you’ll be surprised how healthy you feel after eating out in Chania. The plenty of walking you’ll do while exploring the city won’t hurt either!