Chania (Hania ou La Canée) - Crète
Crete de l'ouest
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.
BEACHES - GETTING
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