Western Crete (see map
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stigmes, Crete's magasine