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Chania is the second city on the Greek Island of Crete, situated at the bay of Chania in between the peninsulas Akrotiri in the east and Spatha in the west. It used to be the capital of the island, until that title was awarded to Heraklion in 1971. Chania consists of two parts; the old town with many remains from the Venetian time and the new town that's bigger and houses some attractions too.
The old Chania was once completely surrounded by a city wall, built by the Venetians. A big part of it was demolished, but on the west and east side parts of the wall remain standing. Furthermore, there is a lighthouse Faros from the fifteenth century in the harbor and you can see the Venetian Arsenals here. The Mosque at the harbor is from later times - the eighteenth century, when the Ottomans ruled over Crete.
Located on the south side of the old town is an indoor market. This Chania Agora is extremely popular with both locals and tourists and for a reason; it's one of the oldest indoor markets in Europe and is very vibrant and colorful.
The very heart of the old town is the square Eleftherios Venizelos, named after the Greek statesman that was born on Crete whilst it was still part of the Ottoman Empire. His house is located in the 'new' part of Chania. Situated west of this square (also referred to as Syntrivani) is the district of Topanas. This is the most picturesque part of Chania: narrow streets and old houses of which the majority has been restored finely. With it's many bars, cafes and restaurants this is also the center of the old town's nightlife. You'll find another nightlife scene just outside the eastern city wall. This used to be the turf of the Bedouins from North-Africa that landed here near the end of the Turkish domination. Now, it houses trendy cafes and bars, in particular right along the beach.
Connecting the old to the 'new' town (Nea Hora) is Halidon street. You have to take 'new' with a grain of salt, because the oldest part of the 'new' town dates back to the start of the eighteenth century. Newer are the churches Agia Magdalini and Evangelistria. Furthermore you'll find the Palace of prince George, who reigned the island when the Ottomans bowed down to pressure from great powers and allowed autonomy.
Located about 65 kilometers southwest of Chania is an old military bridge that crosses over the Aradena Gorge. It's a popular spot for bungee jumping. The bridge is situated no less than 138 meters above the gorge near the village Sfakia. In the summer months you can take a supervised plunge every weekend here. Sfakia is a small, traditional fishers village that is certainly worth a visit too. Further east you'll find another remainder of the Venetians, the Frangokastello. This impressive fort was built in the fourteenth century and is surrounded by mysteries. People say they have seen the spirits of Venetian warriors on the beach near the fort. Those spirits seem to emerge in May especially...
Situated south of Chania lies one of the biggest attractions of Crete, the Samaria Gorge. You can find special flora and fauna in this 17-kilometer-long gorge. Daily excursions to the Samarian gorge are available.
Up high on a hill near the beach of Elafonissi lies the Chrisoskalitissa Monastery. Near this monastery you can find a small museum with Byzantine icons, manuscripts and folkloric items.
About 40 kilometers east of Chania is the only fresh water lake of Crete, the Lake of Kournas. It's situated beautifully in between the mountains and you can rent water cycles at several taverns around the lake.
Around the old town, near the old market and near the harbor are parking lots where you can leave your rental car to go and explore the center. In the new town you can usually find a parking space, but parking lots and garages as well. Off the main roads you need to be aware of the following unexpected situations: sheep or goats on the road, holes in the road surface or a tarmac road that suddenly turns into a dirt road.
The international airport Daskalogiannis is located on a peninsula east of Chania. With a rental car you can easily get to the airport using the Chanion Aerodromiou that connects the airport to Chania. The route is clearly signposted.