Old Town and New City 

Chania Old Town

The old town of Chania is the beating heart of the city and the prefecture of Chania.

Crowds of people, tourists and residents of the city, people of all ages, come here and get what the charming old town and the enchanting Venetian harbour of Chania has to offer. 

  • Make endless walks on the waterfront of the Venetian harbour and the picturesque alleys of the old town. 
  • Observe the architecture of historical structures, built by various civilizations that lived in Chania over the centuries. 
  • Visit museums, exhibitions and other attractions. 
  • Stare at storefronts. 
  • Take their breakfast or enjoying an afternoon coffee. 
  • Make their night out starting again with a walk to the alleys of the old town of Chania that look differently because of the lights, the hearings and the smells coming out from restaurants, or quite simply... 
  • Enjoy beautiful moments just sitting on a bench at the pier of the old Venetian harbour. 

This is what you'll do when you visit Chania old town! 

Start your walk on the waterfront of the harbour of Chania with its many cafes, restaurants and historical monuments, and continue to the mole that will lead you to the lighthouse.

However, do not just stick to the harbor! 

Find the way that will lead you within the neighborhoods and the districts of the old town, and wander through the labyrinthine winding narrow streets. 

You will cross streets and alleys. You'll climb and descend stairs. You will pass under old arches, by the Byzantine and Venetian fortification walls, out of beautiful courtyards, decorated with colorful flowers and plants. 

Strolling on the streets and alleys of the old town of Chania... 

You'll encounter archaeological excavation sites (map) that brought to light rich findings, even floor plans of whole establishments, showing that the city of Chania is developed on the site of an important ancient city named Kydonia or Cydonia. According to tradition, Kydonia was the third-largest city established by King Minos of Crete between the 3650-3000 BC. 

Since then, Cydonia was inhabited in all subsequent phases of history. It flourished and declined at times, met wars, pillages and conquests. Its name paraphrased to Chania. Destroyed and rebuilt multiple times. 

Today, the old town of Chania preserves deeply the signs since Crete was a colony of the Venetians (1252-1645), with the necessary additions of the subsequent years of Crete's conquest by the Ottoman Turks (1645-1898), as well as the less visible but existing signs of the Egyptian domination (1831-1841) that occurred during the Ottoman rule.

Observe the architecture of the buildings that reflect the diverse culture and religion of various and different civilizations that lived in Chania. 

Many of these buildings were and remain homes, as well, others house shops, stores, bars, cafes and restaurants. Several, mostly Venetian mansions, have been converted into hotels, while other buildings have been converted into museums and venues that host cultural exhibitions. 

All of them are monuments that will lead you, mentally, into the paths of the history of this place. 

Through them, get to know better the old town of Chania, which is consisted by districts, squares and neighborhoods. 

  •   1   Kasteli is the hill where the history of the city of Chania began to be written, and it always was the acropolis or the core of the city.
  •   2   Topanas was the aristocratic district of the city.
  •   3   Ovriaki or Evraiki was the neighborhood settled by the Jews. 
  •   4   Sintrivani or Santrivani was the square frequented by the city's Christians during the Ottoman rule. This also was the central square of the city of Chania in subsequent years.
  •   5   Splantzia was the Turkish quarter, when the Turks settled in Chania. 

During your sightseeing within the old town of Chania...

Visit the Museums

The Archaeological Museum of Chania, in Chalidon Street, housed in a monastery of Francis monks. The Maritime Museum of Crete, housed in a building within the Firkas fortress at the western side of the harbour. The Byzantine and Postbyzantine Collection of Chania, housed in the church of the Francis monastery of San Salvatore which is located at the end of Theotokopoulou street, just behind (west) the Firkas fort.

Visit Cultural Exhibitions

Visit cultural exhibitions taking place in the Municipal Art Gallery of Chania, or others that may be organized in several of the historic buildings of the old town and the Venetian harbour, such as the Grand Arsenal or the other old Venetian shipyards, the Giali Tzamissi, or at the Sabbionara Gate in Koum Kapi, and the church of St. Rocco in the district of Splantzia.

View the locations of museums and other exhibition halls on the map of the old town.

Stare at Storefronts

There is a variety of shops selling anything you can imagine, from Cretan products, of which some will excite your curiosity, to beautiful souvenirs.

Apart from the shops that you will randomly encounter on the streets, another place, where are gathered many shops of all kinds, is the Municipal Market of Chania, housed in a cross-shaped building, at the limits of the old town of Chania and the new city, in Chatzimichali Giannari street (map). 

Moreover, one of the most popular shopping streets in Chania, is the Skridlof street (map), the so-called Stivanadika. This is the main place of the prefecture of Chania, where is being manufactured the handmade leather boots of the traditional Cretan male costume, called Stivania (in Greek). Today, apart from the boots, you'll find great varieties in leather goods. 

Finally, in Sifakas street (map), you'll find the so-called Macheradika. Macheradika is the place where manufactured the handmade knives (Knives: in Greek means Macheria), an inseparable companion of every Cretan in the old times. Today's, these knives having engraved the incentive poetic rhymed Cretan couplets or quatrains, the so-called Mantinades in Crete and Greece, are sold as souvenirs.

Relax on a Cafe, Bar or Restaurant

Whenever you want to relax from your walks in the old town of Chania, choose among the numerous cafes, restaurants and bars of the old town or at the waterfront, and enjoy the spectacular views to the sea and the opposite captivating lighthouse. 

Other Things to Do in Chania

Chania: Old Town & New City

View beautiful footage of the old town of Chania and the city of Chania, which extends much further of the walls of the old town. 

Watch even more videos of this series:

The City of Chania

The modern city of Chania has to show you several other attractions.


  • Take a stroll in the municipal garden and the adjacent park of "Peace & Friendship"   1  .
  • Visit the museums of the city that are very close to the old town, such as the War Museum of Chania   2   and the Historical Archive of Crete   3  .
  • Take your car and drive to the district of Chalepa with the magnificent mansions, and visit the Museum-House of Eleftherios Venizelos   4  
  • Then continue up to the hill of Prophet Elias, in the northeastern part of the city, where lie the Venizelos Graves   5  , and enjoy the magnificent panoramic views to the city of Chania and to the surrounding area.

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