Crete is the largest island in Greece. It has two large cities with ports, Iraklio (or Heraklion), and Chania. I chose to travel to Chania because I had read how beautiful the city was, but also because of its proximity to the Samaria Gorge, a hike I planned to do.
Chania is often described as Greece’s most beautiful city. It has a spectacular old Venetian harbour lined with restaurants which leads on to an old town full of character and colour. Crete has both Venetian and Turkish history as well as Greek and all can be seen in Chania.
I arrived way too early to check into my accommodation so stored my luggage at the bus terminal and started to wander. Slowly. Taking many photos. I was able to get some before the crowds woke up.
Being a harbour town, boats and fishing feature prominently.
The charm of the city continued in the streets behind the harbour.
Cheese pie Breakfast!
I spent the rest of the morning wandering through the older part of Chania, had the pleasure of being welcomed to the city by a local, I guess the whopping great camera around my neck was the giveaway that I wasn’t local, and taking hundreds of photos.
My accommodation was just one street back from the old harbour and right by the markets. It was an AirBnB self contained unit in a narrow street surrounded by restaurants and shops. My host left me gifts of wine, raki and olive oil, all he had made himself. A beautiful church one block in one direction and the old harbour one block the other.
I found somewhere nearby for lunch and was introduced to saganaki and raki. Yes, they really did give me that much raki, no, I didn’t drink it all. For those unfamiliar, raki is closely related to rocket fuel and is often provided free after a meal, especially on Crete. Wonderful for clearing the sinuses. The dessert was also free, I wasn’t sure why they had dessert menus on Crete, I never needed to look at one and always ate dessert.
In the afternoon I visited the Chania Archaeological Museum. A small museum in a stunning building that was once a Venetian church. Often when I am in buildings like this I take as many pictures of the building as I do the exhibits. This was my first introduction to Minoan history. Quite incredible to be looking at artifacts approaching 4000 years old.
Not surprisingly I was pretty tired by early evening and decided to eat early. I had read some recommendations of a taverna at the other end of the harbour and walked there on a whim, luckily snaring a table. Free dessert this time was loukoumades. I was seriously managing to eat my way through Greek desserts without ever needing to pay for one.
Following a delicious dinner I made my way to the sea wall to capture the sunset. Amazing end to an incredibly full day.
My first day in Chania was amazing, and exhausting. I saw so much of this beautiful old town, walked for miles and took hundreds of photographs. Those who say it is the most beautiful city in Greece might just be on to something.
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