Crete is a known destination for walkers, especially during spring and autumn! Everybody knows the famous gorge of Samaria which attracts every year thousands of people. Also, the beautiful long distance trail E4 that runs through Crete is a famous walker's attraction! But what about the cities of Crete? Most people that visit the city of Chania, Rethymno and Heraklion in Crete see the same known parts and streets and miss a lot of other interesting parts of the city. Nowadays, with google maps, all kinds of apps and many guidebooks you can find many things by yourself. It's also nice just to wander around through a town without a real plan! But, in this article we give you some tips and ideas to discover some special corners of the interesting town of Chania. Which parts of the town or walks you can do, individually or even with a local city guide.
City walking in Chania
The capital city of Western Crete is Chania, the most beautiful city of the island and, as many say, perhaps of whole Greece! Although Chania is not a big city, there is so much to discover and you can do that perfectly on foot! The most known part to walk around is the old part of the town with its Venetian harbour and beautiful Venetian and Turkish mansions. This attracts every year thousands of visitors. But even in de old town there are many places that are not that known yet to many tourists, like for example "Splanzia”, the old Muslim neighbourhood with many small alleys, resembling a labyrinth.
Outside the old town there are also very interesting parts to walk around, like Nea Chora (west of the old town) or the Halepa district, in the eastern part of the town. On the south of the old centre there is the public park and a bit further the square of Eleftherias. High above the city with great views, there are Venizelos Graves which are definitely worth a visit!
Interesting areas in Chania
Splanzia: In this old Muslim neighbourhood it is like you walk through a labyrinth, with very small streets and alleys and beautiful old buildings. The church of Agios Nikolaos, Platia 1821, Chatzimichali Daliani Street and the church of San Rocco are some of the sights in this area. Especially the last years this area became popular and you find many small trendy restaurants, bars and shops. Located in the eastern part of the old town, it is an absolutely must visit when you are in Chania!
Nea Chora: From the centre walk towards the old harbour and then further along the coast westwards. In about 1,5 km you arrive at the small fishing harbour and beach of Nea Chora. The boulevard is recently beautifully updated and you find there many good fish taverns. Also this area gets more and more loved and discovered!
Halepa: In the beautiful area of Halepa(east of the city centre) you find many old luxurious houses and villas, often built in Neoclassical style. Many wealthy people used to live here because of the healthy climate and the excellent view to Chania city. Another interesting area at the seafront to walk around is Tampakaria where you still find some active tanneries (see below!). Further there are many more interesting things to see in this area like the Venizelos House, the little park of Maria Magdalena and the Koum Kapi area with its trendy cafes.
The tanneries of Tampakaria
The first tanneries in the Tampakaria district (the coastal area of Halepa) were established during the Egyptian period (1831-1841). The area was ideal for the establishment of tanneries: it was near the city to attract customers but also far enough, in a location with abundant underground brackish waters, next to the sea (which was very useful for the first stage of the leather manufacturing). The first facilities were built along the seaside of “Vivilaki” Street and later (after 1920) they expanded to the east (“Agia Kyriaki” Street). The tanneries flourished between the 1st and 2nd World War and were closed during the German occupation. Later, mechanical equipment replaced the old methods and brought innovations in the leather industry that increased the profits. An important amount of profits came from leather exportations. The decadence of Tampakaria started in the 70s and today only a few tanneries are still in business. The buildings of the tanneries are adjusted to the natural landscape, having a ground floor by the front street entrance and two or three floors by the seaside. They are stone-built and have a tiled roof. The remains of the old tanneries are monuments of industrial archaeology.
Individual walking in Chania
To explore Chania on foot by yourselves, the walking booklet Discover Chania... on foot is a real help to discover the hidden places of this beautiful city! The book has 7 city walks accompanied by lots of (historical) information, useful tips, photos and clear maps! You can explore the historical centre but also the areas of Halepa, Nea Chora, Eleftheria's Square and the Venizelos Graves. This booklet is also available in German.
The booklet is also in town available at Mediterraneo bookstore (old harbour), Mikro Karavi (in Splanzia) and Pelekanakis (Chalidon Street)
Guided walks in Chania
A stroll around Chania? Why not booking a guided walk through Chania, discovering local activities!! You will be guided around the city, learn for example where to buy local products, to order a coffee in Greek you'll be able to speak a few words in Greek after your walk!
These walks do not take large groups to archaeological sites or museums and are not about history, politics or mythology. This is respectfully reserved for official guides.
They are more focused on the personal experience and highlight daily life, customs, current events, music, nature, gastronomy and language. There is a maximum group size of 7 persons.
Chania Private Tours. Allow a local guide to walk you through the rich history of Chania, from the Byzantine and Arab Era, the Venetian Era, all the way through to the Ottoman and modern times. Your private Chania tour will uncover layers upon layers of history, in one of Crete's most charming settings.
There are many tourist offices that organize city tours. You can always inform there if you are interested! Do you have more ideas and tips for city walks in Chania? Please leave a comment below!