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Chania or Hania

Western Crete (see map )

Chania or Hania Chania or Hania Chania or Hania

 

It certainly isn't accidental that many recent Greek cinematographical, TV or publicity productions have chosen Hania as an optical background, the old city is certainly the most photogenic of Greece, an ideal setting for your vacation. Adding the facts that the nightlife is intense, the markets colorful and the eating culture very special, you’ll probably understand why Chania is a travel destination on the rise.

CAFES

There are zillions of coffee-shops in Chania (or Hania). The more obviously tourist oriented are around the Old Harbor of course. MUSSES, REMEZZO, SANTRIVANI, KALYPSO are some options. The local youth prefer to play "tavli" (backgammon) at "Koum-Kapi" neighbourhood, (IL NOSTRO, OTHER SIDE, THEMA, CAFE BAZAAR) or at the port at BORA-BORA, SANTE, VALENTINO, MELTEMI and AROMA. The SYNAGOGUE is located (you guessed it!) in a Venetian mansion bombed during WW II and used as a …synagogue. Just beside HAVRA, another Israeli name for a nice establishment. TO AVGO TOU KOKKORA ("egg of the rooster") is trendy and conveniently situated. For the early birds, those just disembarked or the dedicated nightclubbers, having a "bougatsa" (cheese pie) at IORDANIS is considered a must.

 

RESTAURANTS

Where to start from? All around the harbor and Halidon St. it’s one restaurant after another. Presuming you can resist to the insisting greeters you can look for good and fresh fish at APOSTOLIS and MATHIOS, town’s oldest fish tavernas, by the Neoria. Or again sit at the MONASTERY or ZEPOS (lovely people and free drinks) at the sea front. FAKA ("the trap") is a popular spot for both locals and tourists where you can dine listening to live bouzouki music (without disturbing loudspeakers) Try the wine bottled specially for CARNAGIO tavern. KALI KARDIA is a very typical Cretan taverna. Inside the MARKET are some tiny spots serving hearthy and cheap Cretan dishes as "stifado" (stew with onions) or "briam" (ratatouille) and different kind of fried fish and vegetables. To be accompanied by a "kartoutso" (metal jar) of local wine. Delicious and so exotic! PORTES a new entry with great food at sensible prices (in the old town) ELA ("come on") nice setting in an old building without roof. But our favorite is the all-time classic NYKTERIDA (the bat) at Korakies suburb, with it’s wonderful view of the Suda bay, the genuinely classy service under the surveillance of owner Babis and the amazing staka (soft fresh cheese), bourekakia (small crispy cheese pies, often served with honey) and other Cretan delicacies. Nykterida also proposes some good wine labels of small producers. TAMAM, GASTRA, THOLOS offer nice settings and good food - that’s what you’re looking for, isnt’it? Let’s get out of town though, hard as it can be. There are some good fish tavernas at Suda, VARDAKIS is one of them, very convenient if you are forwarding a friend to the ferry-boats to Piraeus leaving at 7.30 every evening. There are lots of touristy options all the way to Platanias. MYLOS TOU KERATA was a watermill till 1961. Try the rabbit stew. KERATAS means "cornuto" in Italian. By the cash register a huge pair of bull horns is explained by the inscription: "that’s how a passionate love ends". Now, if this isn’t philosophy, what is it? The village of Therissos was home of one of the early Cretan revolutions, it is best known now for the ANTARTIS ("rebel") tavern, where you can taste the famous Cretan wild goat "agrimi". Not for the faint hearted.

 

NIGHTLIFE

There are bars and clubs "for tourists" and those addressed to Greeks. METROPOLIS, SALOON, SCORPIUS, NOTA BENE, BLUE NOTE, EL MONDO and KLIK belong to the first category, along with dozens of others on the road to Platanias and Gerani, which gets pretty crowded at high season. MYLOS Very popular, an old windmill transformed to a high-power club. DAZ formerly known as NRG formerly known as GAME formerly known as FACE formerly known as TAFROS formerly known as ANAGHENNISIS, tucked down the narrowest possibly passage to the bastion PRIVILEGE you need your private transportation to get there, huge club, after-hours meeting point for locals and tourists. PRIME VISION or ARIADNE is conveniently located at the center of the harbor, very popular in all seasons, can get very crowded at times. STREET, POINT and MYTHOS, all of them classified as "institutions" of Hania nightlife. More than 120 different beers are offered at 1900. KRITI looks more like a kafeneion, it is sometimes called "ta lyrakia" (little lyres) and every night many non-Greeks are initiated at the mysteries of raki and Cretan music. FAGOTTO is a laid-back jazz bar, often with live performers.

SHOPPING

STIVANADIKA means "stivania St.", where "stivania" are the very special Cretan boots, made only on command. However, there are good quality leather items to be found here. MAHERADIKA ("knife St."), all the knife makers of town are to be found here, very nice collection pieces (as long as you don’t use them on somebody else). A look at the MARKET is a must. Authentic products of the Cretan land, wild herbs, snails, goat cheese, avocados, fresh fish and lobsters, it is definitely worth a walk. Genuine Cretan embroidery and carpets are to be found at TOP HANAS.

 

BEACHES - GETTING AROUND

From Nea Chora, the beach of CHANIA, to KISSAMOS, it’s a huge beach, changing names like PLATANIAS, AGHIA MARINA, STALOS, GERANI, MALEME. Countless beach bars and beach tavernas are to be found here, as well as sport facilities, rent-an-umbrellas, etc. Going West you'll pass from KISSAMOS , a destination to discover. It doesn’t get any further west than FALASSARNA, the more western point of Crete, not a simple beach but an imposing scenery, including a Minoan sunken town. Stay clear at weekends.
Going the other way, to AKROTIRI, you’ ll pass from KALATHAS to get to STAVROS, a natural lagoon with turquoise waters. The steep mountain just beside is where the climax of "Zorbas the Greek" was filmed. ELAFONISSI is far, but not far enough to discourage the groups and the coaches that carry them to transform the place in hell, as beautiful as it might be. Try it off-season or late in the afternoon when the day visitors have left and you’ll be rewarded.

 

Source: Stigmes, Crete's magasine

Nikos Papadogeorgakis


 

Tip of the day

In the small but organized city museum you will see findings from excavations in ancient Kissamos and its surrounding areas. The museum’s collection includes floor mosaics of 2nd and 3rd century houses found in Kissamos city, as well as findings from the archeological sites of Polirrinia and Falasarna (mainly statues, reliefs and ceramics dating back to the Hellenistic and Roman times).
The present town is famous for its amazing wine which is produced here and is celebrated with “the Feast of Wine" at the beginning of August. During the feast local wine is offered in great quantities under the sound of lyre and lute and in a very enthusiastic atmosphere.
The beaches surrounding Kastelli that you can visit for swimming in the homonym gulf are Molos beach covered by thick pebbles, Ghipedo beach surrounded by trees and Telonio beach with view of the Venetian walls. It is better though to take the road to the famous Gramvousa peninsula.

 


Index: Tourist guide of Crete
Agia Galini Agia Roumeli Agia Triada Agios Nikolaos Akrotiri Almirida Anogia Aradena Archanes Arkadi Argiroupoli Balos Bali Chania Chora Sfakion Chersonissos Chrissoskalitissa Cnossos Elafonissi Elounda Falassarna Festos Fodele Frangokastello Gortyna Gramvoussa Hania Heraklion Hersonissos Hora Sfakion Ierapetra Kalyves Kandanos Kastelli Kissamos Knossos Kritsa Lato Lassithi plateau Lendas Loutro Malia Matala Mochlos Omalos Paleokastro Plakias Preveli Rethymnon Rethimno Rodopos Samaria Sitia Sougia Sfakia Spili Vai Vamos Zakros

 

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