And getting around
Chania is Crete’s most evocative city, with its pretty Venetian quarter, criss-crossed by narrow lanes, culminating at a magnificent harbour. Remnants of Venetian and Turkish architecture abound, with old town houses now restored, transformed into atmospheric restaurants and boutique hotels. Although all this beauty means the old town is deluged with tourists in summer, it’s still a great place to unwind. Excellent local handicrafts mean there’s good shopping, too, with the most authentic found in the Splantzia quarter. Along Zambeliou, Theotokopoulou and Angelou streets, roofless Venetian buildings have been turned into outdoor restaurants. Pockmarked with galleries and museums, the Venetian harbour is a good place for a stroll. Crete’s second-biggest city, Hania is also the major transit point for hikers walking Samaria Gorge, and is the main transport hub for all western destinations.www.lonelyplanet.com
The city is served by Chania International Airport (IATA code: CHQ) on the Akrotiri Peninsula a bit north-east of the city. Only 20 min ride from Villa Dilia
Ferry services daily or twice a day during high season from Athens (Piraeus port) to Chania anchor at the nearby port of Souda.
Chania is connected with the rest of Crete by regular bus lines. The coaches are modern, comfortable and air-conditioned. Fare is reasonable.
Highway E75 (A90) goes along the North coast of Crete from Sitia to Kissamos, it goes by the southern outskirts of the town.
If you are on Crete to see the 'real Crete' , as opposed to the night clubs for tourists, then visiting the villages of the island is a must. All Cretan culture can be seen, heard and tasted in the villages. The Cretans at work or at leisure will always welcome visitors and show you how to do things the correct way. All villages have a central kafenion (coffee shop) which is where all people eventually end up. The kafenion, apart from being a place to meet friends for a coffee, raki or a game of tavli (backgammon), is used as the main information center of the village. Be aware, however, that the kafenion is still very much a male dominion and women are generally not found inside (as opposed to a kafeteria or regular cafe), though the local custom of philoxenia(hospitality) usually ensures that Western couples and mixed groups are accepted. Most villages have war memorials and the locals will willingly fill in any missing information.
Chania and the long row of
Villa Dilia is a superb base to explore Crete. A car rental is highly recommended.