Hania: One of Crete’s Most Beautiful and Historic Towns

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178559602Hania is a former Venetian port town located in Western Crete. It’s one of Crete’s most beautiful and historic towns and has plenty of boutique hotels, galleries, shopping options and eateries for tourists to enjoy. It is known for its pretty Venetian quarter and magnificent harbor views. Zambeliou, a main thoroughfare, is lined with craft shops, small hotels, and tavernas.

The top sights to see include the Archaeological Museum, the Naval Museum, and the Venetian Fortifications. The Archaeological Museum includes a collection of statues, vases, jewelry, and floor mosaics from Western Crete that spans from the Neolithic to the Roman era. It also features painted sarcophagi from a late-Minoan cemetery. It’s located in the 16th century Venetian Church of San Francisco. The Naval Museum is housed within a former Turkish prison and features a collection of model ships from the Bronze Age and naval instruments, paintings, photographs, and memorabilia from the Battle of Crete. The Venetian Fortifications are part of a defense system that dates back to 1538. The western wall is the best preserved and runs from the Firkas Fortress to the Siavo Bastion. It offers views of Hania.

Planning to bring kids to Hania? There are a few options to keep them amused as well during your visit. A public garden between Tzanakaki and Dimokratias has a playground and a café. Just south of town is Limnoupolis, a giant water park that has numerous slides and rides and is accessible by bus.

The Samaria Gorge, one of Greece’s top places to experience, is located in the Hania area. The Samaria Gorge is Europe’s longest gorge. It begins just below the Omalos Plateau and runs down through an ancient riverbed that flows between the peaks of the Avlimanakou and Volakias mountains to the Libyan Sea. There are numerous canyons in Crete, but the Samaria Gorge is the most hiked. The hike can take anywhere from four to six hours, depending on your speed.

Hania features many sleeping options for overnight guests including boutique hotels, studios, apartments, and a camp ground that is 3km west of town on the beach. At the campsite you can find a large pool, restaurant, bar, minimarket, and places to do laundry nearby. Many hotels close during the low season so be sure to check availability depending on when you plan to visit.

Hania is accessible by air, boat, and bus. The airport is 14km east of town on the Akrotiri Peninsula. Ferry service runs to Piraeus. The bus station is on Kydonias.

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