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Activities in Chania

Water sports

Chania is certainly well known for its beautiful coastline, its beaches and its archaeological sites. But it is even more interesting to approach the island by sailing boat. At the Venetian harbour in Chania, you can hire a sailing boat with an experienced captain and enjoy the amazing experience of sailing in the Cretan Sea. Many northern and southern beaches can be approached by kayak, including otherwise inaccessible coves, and sea kayaking offers the opportunity to enjoy swimming there, as well as a chance to get some good exercise. The morphology of the underwater sea bed and the relative shallowness of the sea around the coast of the Prefecture of Chania also offers ideal conditions for a unique scuba diving or snorkeling experience.

Mountaineering paths

The best way for anyone to get to know the world is on foot. The island of Crete is a perfect example; since the roads do not reach many of the isolated beaches, the beautiful forests, the bare peaks of its mountains, the ancient settlements, or the "mitata" and the "koumous" (stone built shelters in the mountains used by shepherds for cheese making and as refuges). In the land of gorges ancient trails lead our footsteps into the heart of a virgin natural landscape which offers an abundance of stunning views and scents of the countryside to the traveler. The Madara (a word also meaning summer pastureland), as the local people call the mountain range, is a true observation deck with incredible views over the Cretan and Libyan Seas.

The famous caves of Chania number more than a thousand, containing unique remains from ancient times and beautiful chambers with stalactites and stalagmites. The Cretan wild goat makes its home in the cave strewn mountains. Rare birds of prey, such as the golden eagle and the bearded vulture, can be seen soaring above these peaks. Here is where the Cretan herb dittany (Origanum dictamnus) grows. It is unique to the island and has been known for its medicinal properties since ancient times.

Mountain shelters

To refer to the Prefecture of Chania is almost inevitably to refer to its mountain range. The Lefka Ori (White Mountains), or Madara, are a source of life for Crete and the Cretan people. The diverse natural environment has, through the ages, provided food, water, protection and inspiration to the inhabitants of the region. The pure soul of Crete lies here. Exploration will take you along ancient footpaths; past stone built shelters, small country churches, temples and ancient towns, water troughs and sheep enclosures. The only way to see and experience all of this is on foot.

Cycling routes

The broader region of the plain of Chania is ideal for cycling trips due to its relatively flat terrain and small variations in altitude. Particularly in spring, the scent of the orange trees in flower and the flowers in the courtyards and gardens are wonderful companions for cyclists.

By car or motorbike

The Chania prefecture has an inexhaustible number of routes to explore by car or motorbike. The changes of the scenery from alpine to semi tropical are so rapid that unsuspecting visitors will be left speechless. Beautiful villages set in a stunning green landscape, untouched by time, are only a few minutes away from the cosmopolitan beaches of the north coast.

Villages near the sea still retain the special atmosphere of the picturesque fishing village. There are old churches and archeological sites everywhere. In the countryside of Chania you will also find beautiful wineries, cheese making workshops, bakeries, small traditional coffee houses and tavernas under the relaxing shade of plane and mulberry trees.

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