General tips before your arrival in Crete

Chania in Crete invites travelers with its lovely Venetian harbor, beautiful beaches, and fascinating history. Here are some important tips to make your visit smooth and enjoyable!
By following these General tips before your arrival in Crete Island, visitors can enjoy their time in Chania, Crete, exploring the island’s culture, history, and stunning views. Whether strolling in the old town or driving along the coast, every moment offers a memorable experience.

Choosing the Right Area to Stay
Selecting the perfect area to stay in Chania greatly impacts your experience. The old town offers historic charm, narrow streets, and proximity to the Venetian harbor.

  • Old Town vs. Beach Areas: The old town of Chania offers historical charm, proximity to attractions, and a vibrant atmosphere. However, if you prioritize beach access and a more relaxed environment, consider staying in areas outside of the city centre but also close enough to city.
    For example, nea chora (coastline neighbor 10 min walking to the city Centre), Agia Marina or Platanias (coastline hotel area 15-20 min driving to the city Centre), or airport area / Akrotiri peninsula (Stavros, Chorafakia, Marathi, Tersanas) (coastline and countryside area 15-20 min driving to the city Centre).
  • Booking in Advance: Especially during the peak season (June to August), it’s advisable to book accommodations well in advance to secure your preferred location and avoid last-minute hassle.

Driving Tips

Renting a car lets you freely explore Crete, but driving there needs careful thought. The roads can be narrow, twisty, and hilly, especially in the less populated spots.

  • Drive with Caution: Roads in Crete can be winding and narrow, especially in mountainous regions. Exercise caution, especially on sharp turns and unmarked roads.
    *Unfortunately, most of the roads in Crete do not have lighting during the night.
  • International Driving Permit: Ensure you have an international driving permit alongside your home country’s license, as it’s often required for car rentals in Greece.

Parking and Transportation
Parking in Chania can be a challenge, especially in the old town where streets are narrow. Look for accommodations offering parking facilities if you plan to rent a car. Additionally, public parking lots or street parking might be available, but be prepared for limited spaces, especially during peak seasons. It’s wise to explore public transportation options to avoid parking hassles.

  • Accommodations with Parking: If renting a car, opt for accommodations offering parking facilities. Some hotels in the old town provide parking space or valet services, making it easier to navigate the narrow streets.
    *Note driving not allowed inside the old Town of Chania.
  • Public Transport and Taxis: Utilize public transportation options like buses to explore the city. Taxis are also readily available but might be more expensive, especially for longer distances.
    *Buses are the only form of public transport in Crete. Click for more info about timetables

Accessing the Old Venetian Harbor

Navigating the old Venetian harbor in Chania is a highlight of any visit. To best explore this area, plan to arrive early or later in the day to avoid the crowds. Stroll along the waterfront promenade, visit the lighthouse, and lose yourself in the labyrinthine alleys of the old town (that’s the best way to explore the the small narrow street of the old town) . Enjoy alfresco dining at tavernas lining the harbor and soak in the historical charm.
*Do not get confused from the map applications, driving not allowed inside the old Town of Chania

Embracing the Local Culture

  • Eating and Dining Habits: Embrace the leisurely pace of dining. Greeks often enjoy long meals and dinner is typically eaten late in the evening. Adjust your schedule to experience the local dining culture.
  • Respect Local Customs: Respect local customs and traditions, such as dress codes when visiting religious sites or showing appreciation for Cretan traditions and customs.

beyond Chania Exploration

  • Day Trips and Excursions: Consider day trips to explore neighboring areas like Palaiochora or the stunning Elafonissi Beach, known for its pink sand and crystal-clear waters.
  • Nature and Hiking: If you enjoy hiking, venture into the Samaria Gorge for a breathtaking trek through stunning landscapes and natural beauty or alternative and smaller gorge its Imbros gorge.

Safety Precautions

  • Sun Protection: Crete enjoys plenty of sunshine. Carry sunscreen, hats, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun while exploring outdoor attractions.
  • Water Safety: Always swim in designated areas and pay attention to warning flags at beaches, especially during windy days when sea currents might be stronger.

Other useful links

  1. General tips before your arrival in Crete
  2. Best food in Crete island
  3. Top 10 best restaurants in Chania
  4. Top 5 best seafood restaurants in Chania
  5. Top 5 beaches in Chania
  6. Top 5 beaches in Crete
  7. Best family beaches in Chania
  8. Top 5 must things to do in Chania
  9. Top 5 hiking trail in Crete
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  14. Top family friendly tours in Chania
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  20. One day in Chania for cruise ship visitors