Things to do in Chania

About Chania

Visitors to Chaniá should not miss the historic Venetian Harbor with its iconic lighthouse, the bustling Agora Market, the Maritime Museum of Crete, and the scenic Samariá Gorge. The old town's charming alleys and the stunning Balos Lagoon are also must-see attractions.
For families, the Limnoupolis Water Park is a splashy delight, the Chaniá Aquarium presents mesmerizing marine life, and the wide, sandy beaches offer ample space for building sandcastles and enjoying water sports.
Outdoor enthusiasts can hike the trails of Samariá Gorge, relax on pristine beaches like Elafonissi Beach, or enjoy boat excursions departing from the old harbor. Paragliding and snorkeling are also popular outdoor activities in Chaniá.
Indoor pursuits include exploring the Archaeological Museum of Chaniá, visiting the Folklore Museum of Chaniá for a glimpse into Cretan life, and enjoying the culinary workshops at local cooking schools.
The best Chaniá tours include walking tours of the old town and Venetian Harbor, culinary and wine-tasting tours, and guided museum tours – each offering a unique perspective of the city's heritage.
Popular museums in Chaniá include the Nautical Museum of Crete, the Archaeological Museum, and the House-Museum of Eleftherios Venizelos, dedicated to one of Greece’s most significant statesmen.
For rainy days in Chaniá, engaging museum tours, cultural exhibits, and gallery visits provide an immersive experience without the need for umbrellas, such as the Byzantine and Post-Byzantine Collection of Chaniá.
Short tours in Chaniá that last an hour or less include fast-track visits to the Archaeological Museum or a quick, guided stroll around the old Venetian Harbor. These brief tours are ideal for those with limited time but a keen interest in culture and history.

Best Things to Do In Chaniá

Explore the vibrant heart of Crete with our guide to the top things to do in Chaniá, ensuring a memorable cultural getaway.

Chaniá: Samariá Gorge National Park

What is it?
A breathtaking natural wonder and a majestic hiking destination in Crete.
Why you should go?
Venture into the wild beauty of the Samariá Gorge, recognized as one of the longest canyons in Europe. This natural park draws adventurers and nature lovers into its rugged realm. A trek through this UNESCO Biosphere Reserve is one of the best things to do in Chaniá, featuring stunning vistas, rare flora and fauna, and the serene sounds of the mountain streams - an experience that embodies the heart of Crete’s natural grandeur.

Chaniá: Nautical Museum of Crete

What is it?
A portal into Crete's maritime saga, set in a historical building.
Why you should go?
The Nautical Museum of Crete, positioned by the old Venetian harbor, captivates visitors with its compelling maritime and naval collections. Including model ships, nautical devices, and detailed exhibits about Crete’s naval battles, this museum offers a deep dive into the island's connection with the sea. It's a Chaniá tour that sails across time, offering an educational anchor for any cultural vacation.

Chaniá: The Firka Fortress

What is it?
A storied fortress offering a window into Chaniá's Venetian military history.
Why you should go?
Standing watch over the entrance to the old harbor, the Firka Fortress is a testament to Chaniá's past as a Venetian stronghold. Nowadays, its bastions and prison cells are open to the public, making it a must among places to visit in Chaniá for its panoramic views and historical exhibits. Visiting the roof offers an incredible photo opportunity with the lighthouse and bay as the backdrop - a favorite Chaniá activity for photographers and history enthusiasts alike.

Chaniá: Chrysoskalitissa Monastery

What is it?
An awe-inspiring monastery perched atop a rocky hill with views of the Libyan Sea.
Why you should go?
The Chrysoskalitissa Monastery, known for its golden step and myths of hidden treasures, allows visitors to immerse themselves in spiritual serenity and Cretan history. Its whitewashed walls and pristine chapel make it not just a place of worship but also a cultural landmark. Marvel at the breathtaking landscapes surrounding this historic site, making it an essential stop on any list of best Chaniá tours.

Chaniá: The Municipal Market of Chaniá

What is it?
A bustling epicenter of local life, offering a vast selection of Cretan goods and delicacies.
Why you should go?
Located in the heart of the city, the Municipal Market of Chaniá pulses with the rhythm of local commerce and social exchange. This iconic cross-shaped market, dating back to 1913, stands as a monument to everyday Cretan life. Visitors can explore the myriad of stalls selling cheese, olive oil, herbs, and more, solidifying it as one of the quintessential things to do in Chaniá for experiencing the true spirit of the island.

Chaniá: The Maritime Museum of Crete

What is it?
A comprehensive collection dedicated to Crete's nautical heritage and maritime history.
Why you should go?
Moored within the venerable walls of the Venetian Fortress, the Maritime Museum of Crete charts the island’s seafaring legacy. Exhibitions showcase detailed ship models, maritime instruments, and poignant wartime relics. Engaging multimedia displays and reenactments are the best Chaniá tours for vivid insights into the Aegean's naval culture and the valiant tales of sailors past.

Chaniá: The Archaeological Museum of Chaniá

What is it?
A treasure trove of artifacts spanning various periods in Crete's rich history.
Why you should go?
Housing its extensive collection within the stunning confines of a former Venetian church, the Archaeological Museum is a must-visit for history buffs. Among the places to visit in Chaniá, this museum is exceptional, featuring Minoan pottery, Roman mosaics, and findings from ancient Kydonia, intimately connecting visitors with the island's millennia of stories.

Chaniá: The Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete

What is it?
An enchanting blend of nature and Cretan botanical diversity on display.
Why you should go?
For a truly refreshing Chaniá excursion, the Botanical Park & Gardens unfurls a lush tapestry of Mediterranean flora, fruit trees, and aromatic herbs. It is a sanctuary for relaxation and education on sustainable agriculture, allowing for a serene escape from the bustling city streets. Seasonal events and gastronomic experiences make it one of the fun things to do in Chaniá.

Chaniá: The Venetian Lighthouse

What is it?
An iconic 16th-century lighthouse, standing guard over Chaniá's old harbor.
Why you should go?
As a quintessential symbol of the city, the Venetian Lighthouse offers more than just stunning views; it's a historical beacon that has withstood time, war, and natural elements. Visitors can experience one of the most picturesque Chaniá tours while strolling along the breakwater to reach this emblematic structure, revealing a panoramic vista of the Cretan Sea and beyond.

Chaniá: Agora Marketplace

What is it?
A bustling, historic market hall brimming with local produce and Cretan specialties.
Why you should go?
Chaniá activities are incomplete without a sensory wander through the Agora Marketplace. Here, a feast of colors, scents, and flavors awaits, with vendors offering everything from fresh seafood to artisanal cheeses and spices. It is an ideal spot for visitors to mingle with locals and taste the culinary delights that make Chania renowned, epitomizing what to do in Chaniá for an authentic experience.

TOP-5 tours in Chaniá for first time visitors

  • Discover the rich history and what to see in Chaniá through the Old Town & Harbor Audio Tour, unraveling centuries-old tales around every corner.
  • Embark on the Venetian Fortifications Audio Tour to explore things to see in Chaniá, detailing the city’s defense against historical sieges.
  • Indulge in culinary delights with the Chaniá Food & Culture Audio Tour, one of the most fun things to do in Chaniá for epicureans.
  • Engage with Chaniá activities via the Art & Museums Audio Tour, highlighting the best of local creativity and historical artifacts.
  • Experience serene nature on the Botanical Gardens & Parks Audio Tour, perfect for visitors seeking what to do in Chaniá for relaxation.

Fun things to do in Chaniá with kids

Chaniá is a family-friendly destination where little explorers can embark on adventures and create lasting memories. One of the highlights is the Limnoupolis Water Park, a splash-filled paradise with a variety of pools and slides offering a refreshing escape under the Cretan sun. Interactive fun continues at the Chaniá Aquarium, where children can come face-to-face with marine life from the Mediterranean and beyond. As they wander through the underwater tunnel, the colorful world of the sea unfolds in an educational yet thrilling experience. Additionally, the city's old harbor presents an enchanting atmosphere with its Venetian lighthouse and bustling esplanade. Here, families can enjoy leisurely boat tours, discover the maritime history, or simply savor a gelato while watching the street performers. These attractions cater to all ages, ensuring that Chaniá remains at the top of the list for places to visit with family in tow.

Things to do in Chaniá with family

Chaniá's charm extends to families seeking both culture and amusement. For an educational journey, the olive farms in the region offer tours that provide fascinating insights into the olive oil production process, an activity that combines learning with the pleasure of tasting. Besides, the beaches around Chaniá, such as Agii Apostoli, are perfect for a family day out, featuring shallow waters and golden sands along with amenities like cafes and playgrounds for the little ones. To add a bit of excitement, families can venture to the Dinosauria Park, a prehistoric-themed park that breathes life into the fascinating world of dinosaurs with realistic models and engaging activities sure to capture the imagination of children and adults alike. These top attractions provide a balanced mix of interactive, educational, and relaxing experiences, marking Chaniá as a delightful destination for family vacations.

Free things to do in Chaniá

Drenched in culture and scenic beauty, Chaniá is replete with experiences that require no admission fee. Strolling through the old town, with its maze of cobbled streets and a blend of Venetian, Ottoman, and Greek architecture, is an enchanting walk through history. Visitors can soak in the ambience and perhaps catch a glimpse of the locally celebrated street art. Another must-visit is the iconic Venetian Harbor, where one can admire the ancient lighthouse, enjoy people-watching, and luxuriate in the picturesque sunset views. For nature enthusiasts, the trek to Seitan Limania from the Akrotiri peninsula rewards with stunning vistas and the chance to explore surreal natural beaches, each providing unique photographic opportunities and outdoor enjoyment. These attractions, rich in cultural and natural splendor, make Chaniá a versatile destination without the necessity of a hefty budget.

Cheap things to do in Chaniá

Chaniá, a city brimming with affordable attractions, suits the budget-conscious traveler without compromising on the richness of experience. The Public Garden of Chaniá, known locally as Kipos, offers a lush, serene environment perfect for a family picnic or a leisurely walk among peacocks and ducks, with a quaint café providing refreshments at friendly prices. Exploring the historic ANENDYK Ferries is a cost-effective way to marvel at the city's beautiful coastline and Venetian infrastructure from the sea. For a small fee, you'll experience memorable views and a fresh sea breeze. Lastly, the Agora Market presents an opportunity to delve into the local culture by browsing and sampling Cretan products without any cost unless you choose to take home a slice of Chaniá with budget-friendly souvenirs or treats. Each of these activities showcases Chaniá's diverse offerings that are accessible to all.

Things to do in Chaniá for couples

The romantic allure of Chaniá, with its enthralling blend of history and natural beauty, offers couples a trove of unforgettable experiences. A sunset walk along the Venetian Harbor, hand in hand, while the warm glow of the fading light bathes the old lighthouse, creates a picture-perfect moment. This timeless setting has witnessed countless tales of romance, making it a cherished spot for those in love. For the adventurous duo, a day trip to Balos Lagoon with its turquoise waters and exotic landscape serves as the quintessential romantic escape, inviting couples to relax on the white sandy beach or swim in the crystalline sea. Culinary enthusiasts can indulge in a wine and olive oil tasting tour, savoring the flavors of local Cretan vineyards and olive groves. This gastronomic adventure allows couples to explore the rural charm of the region while enjoying the fruits of the island's rich terroir. Each activity is a celebration of love, framed by the enchanting backdrop of Chaniá.

Things to do in Chaniá at night

As dusk falls, Chaniá reveals a vibrant nocturnal charm that captivates its visitors. The city's nightlife begins with a leisurely stroll along the old Venetian Harbor, where the evening light plays off the water and the historic facades. Subsequently, the allure of the city's tavernas and their live Cretan music becomes irresistible, offering a cultural feast of food and performance, where local musicians and dancers often invite participation in traditional dances. For those seeking a more relaxed evening, the rooftop bars and cafes provide a stylish setting to savor innovative cocktails and local wines, often paired with a panoramic view of the illuminated cityscape. These nocturnal delights create a tapestry of experiences, making nighttime another ideal time to explore the rich offerings of Chaniá.