How do I spend 3 days in Chania?

Apr 13th, 2005, 02:00 PM
  #1  
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Join Date: Apr 2005
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How do I spend 3 days in Chania?

I'll be in Crete in mid-May. I have 3 nights and 4 days in Chania, based out of the Casa Delfino Hotel. Any suggestions on how to make the best of Crete in that short period of time? What are the must sees @ Chania? Any restaurants and nightlife that gives the true flavor of the area? Thanks for the input!
gogreek is offline  
Apr 13th, 2005, 02:19 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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My two favorite restaurants in Chania --
ELA- this place is so unique. It looks like a bombed out or burned out ruin of a building. There is no roof. Sounds terrible, but it is so "romantic" and "atmospheric". The food was sensational and we had great service.

Anaplous -- another roofless place, more garden like, but also sort of runis. We drank the family wine which was a "huge red" aged in Oak three years and so good. Both had rabbit dishes. Lots of torches and candles and again very atmospheric.

We loved these places so much more than the row of seafood places along the harbor.

Our best day from Chania was hiking the Samarian Gorge. Casa Delfino organized the bus for us to take to get there, along with a boat ticket from the trafficless town at the end, and a return bus ticket as well. Great hike.

Patrick is offline  
Apr 18th, 2005, 04:48 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Here are some scratchings lifted from my three Cretan trip reports.
We spent the first week in the southwestern town of Paleochora- very userfriendly, lots of families, lots of Germans, no huge shops but good local shopping, high quality tourist craft shops and dozens of very good tavernas. It's well worth a day trip from Chania.

There is a long sandy beach which has the European Blue Flag, and there are a lot of rocky coves and pebble beaches nearby. There is one lovely beach at Koundouras, about 5 miles away, which only the Greeks seemed to know about. Krios, which is as far west as the road goes, is quite pretty, but was overrun by wasps and hornets.

The places we ate in Paleochora, which we liked were- Calypso; Avenis; Gramenos (5 miles outside town);Odysseus (pizzas, but really good); and Coralio. So was Kamares in Souyia.

The area is called Selinos and is famous for frescoed Byzantine churches. We tried to see lots. A mixture of Greek roads, bad maps, worse map reading and locked churches conspired against our best efforts.

A lot of Cretan roads are not paved. If you get a rental company map they simply do not appear on it..and you will think you need a donkey to get there; but if you get a good map (this is a relative term) like Harms Verlag- which you have to organise before you go, for your chances of finding it there are slim- then some but not all of them will appear. That makes counting to find road junctions a bit random. However it may lead you into great adventures…like our trip over the mountains, past lots of churches but not the ones we were looking for, to Elafonisso. This is an absolutely beautiful beach with an offshore island and a lagoon to die for. Until relatively recently it had no road access and you had to walk or get a boat to get there. That is no longer true and it is a bit overpopulated now. You can wade through knee deep warm water to the island, which has very few people on it. Also worth a day trip.


We drove to Souyia (about 2 hours) and then walked up a gorge and over a hill to Lissos, which is an old Minoan site, again with its own pebble beach. There is allegedly a caretaker who can let you into the fenced site and will sell you a drink, but we did not see hide nor hair of him.

The route to Souyia goes through some of the mountains which were the home of the Cretan resistance during the war. We read quite a lot about that period, and were breathtaken at the gallantry of those involved; I was a bit surprised that there were as many German tourists in this area, given that it seems that every few hundred yards there is another memorial for people killed in outrages that make Kosovo seem like the teddy bears’ picnic. I am not (I hope) being rascist or looking from too narrow a perspective but I’ve never been anywhere before where I’ve been so conscious of recent European history.

The highlight of my holiday was the first Sunday when we walked the Samaria Gorge. We got up at 5.30am and caught the local bus to Omalos at the top of the gorge and then walked the 11miles through Europe’s longest, and, surely, most spectacular, ravine to Ayia Roumeli, where we collapsed for a few hours before catching the ferry back.

The weather was unremittingly sunny, although, to our surprise, there was a fairly constant northerly wind, which we now understand to be an August thing in Crete. It was pleasantly cooling when we went walking; but it was not just a breeze, and a couple of times we got seriously sandblasted on the beach.

The second week we moved up to near Chania. It, like Rethymnon, is an old Venetian town, with a lovely harbour, and lots of rambling alleys with crafty shops. It’s also got a terrific old market which has got lots of traditional stalls with meat and fruit and veg as well as fancy stalls with spices and olive oil and raki and things. There are a couple of museums -one archaeological and one folklore. Lots of tavernas (though none that we tried were as good as those in Paleochora) and lots of tourist shops. Huge selection of different types of accommodation.

We stayed in a village called Tersanas,which is tiny, about 20 minutes drive out, on the Akrotiri, - one basic taverna, a beach bar, a lovely little cove with its own beach and right off the beaten track.

Our serious bit of culture was the run down to Phaistos and Ayia Triada on the south coast. These are Minoan palaces which are still being excavated. Crete is full of Minoan relics. These were the guys who built the Labyrinth and feared the Minotaur. Last time we were there we went to Knossos, which is the best known of the palaces and which was excavated by Arthur Evans early this century. My husband thinks that what you see is mostly the product of his imagination because he “restored” so much. That hasn’t happened at Phaistos and as a consequence I liked the site much better. The last time we also went the museum in Iraklion which has a superb collection of Minoan remnants and which shows the decline of civilsation from their peak to the mere muddle of the hellenistic period.

We came home from Phaistos, firstly past Kamares, which is the village with the cave where the Kamares Minoan ceramics were found, then through the Amari valley, which apart from being very beautiful was the route by which the English smuggled General Kreipe out of Crete after they kidnapped him in 1944. The Germans burned out every village along the route in retribution. The memorials are very moving. We found and got into the church of Ayia Anna, which has the oldest frescoes in Crete.

We visited Aptera, which is an old Turkish fort on top of Roman remains, on top of Minoan remains. Very important site; very badly interpreted, then drove through some of the hill villages, which are just beautiful.

Our next medium sized walk was from the monastery of Ayia Triada (not the same one as above) on the Akrotiri, to its neighbour, Gouverneto, then down into the gorge some 3 kms below where a ruined monastery- Katholiko- can be visited. We didn’t actually “do” the monasteries, which we visited last time, but they whole trip is well worth it for the sights.

We used The Rough Guide to Crete, which is a very good general guide; the Blue Guide to Crete, which will tell you more about Byzantine frescoes than you ever wanted to know; and Sunflower’s “Landscapes of Western Crete”- which gives great advice on both motoring and walking tours.
The following year, good mealsin Paleochora were eaten at Corali, Caravello (probably the best in town), Dionysius, Christos and Pandolis(also very good-watch out for wolves on the rooftops when the moon is full!).

Took a dolphin watching trip- no dolphins, a bit choppy, and the smoke from the stack blew back on the outward leg of the trip, all of which condemned me to sitting in the scuppers trying not to couk. My husband enjoyed the cruise tho’.

The following year we went to Chania at Easter. We went round the market (remember this was Easter Saturday) and every butcher’s stall was laden with lambs. They don’t cut the head off here.

We met up with Howard and Alexis, a couple of Fodorites, and had a drinkie or two, and lunch round the corner. Perfectly fine. Stopped for a raki on the way back.

We then met up with Rick and Paige for drinks at Tamam, one of the restaurants in Chania in a building blown apart in the war. Excellent meal at €15 per head. Then we went to Church.

The main church in Chania is in a road which leads straight up from the harbourside, and even when we got there it was apparent it would be standing room only. We stayed outside in the square with about 400 other people. There was a guard of honour with representatives from all the services, and over the 45 minutes from 11pm till 11.45pm people kept pulling up in fancy cars and being saluted in varying degrees by the Guards. It was really weird. It was quite clear that the extent of the salute depended on the status of the salluttee; and that the more important you were the less of the service you had to sit through.

So, just before midnight it gets all dark, then the priest appears at an upper window with a lit candle and declaims “this is the light of the world”. Everyone is carrying candles with little plastic carriers so the wax doesn’t burn their hands and each candle is lit by the priest. These are traditionally kept alight all year in the Orthodox home, till the next Easter. Our only bad minute was walking back when a bunch of drunk Brit tourists deliberately banged into us and blew out the candles. Very upsetting.

The partying went on late with lots of fireworks so we woke late next day. All round the harbour the tavernas which were open had stalls on the water side piled high with painted eggs and bread and cake, and, for once, as one went walking, the taverna hawkers plied us with things to eat and drink rather than bullying us into going to eat inside. Everyone had a barbecue with a roasting lamb and they were exquisitely decorated.

We’d arranged to have lunch in Ambrosia, which was associated with the tour rep. It was fine. Not good value but they were very nice and took us along with the traditions. We had to have eggs to crack- like conkers- and far too much to eat.

We met up with Rick and Paige again for brandy and coffee on the waterfront.

We’d hired a jeep on the Monday and drove round to Elafonissi on the inland route, then came home via the beach at Flassarna and Kastelli. Supper In Mouyntaki.

Tuesday we went down to Tersana and Stavros, and visited Moni Gouverneto and Agia Triada Monasteries, then had lunch at the beach at Marathi surrounded by Greek families and cats.

We went all round Souda Bay in the afternoon, including a visit to the War cemetery, which was, as always, very moving. We ate in a restaurant behind the Venetian Arsenals and it was top.

Next day we headed out to Knossos. Getting HB to move in the morning is a challenge so it was late and hot by the time we got there. We took one of the English language tours, which was a mixed blessing then headed into the town center to visit the museum.

Hope this helps.

If you have specific queries come back to me.
sheila is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 02:16 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 111
Wow!! Thanks for the input Patrick and Sheila. I too will be staying in Chania (Casa Delfino) in July. The restaurants Patrick described sound wonderful. I'll definately check them out.

Shelia great detail on your trip. I have printed out your report and look at a map and detail where you went. We have 5 days in Crete and a car (so will travel).

I too am planning on hiking the Samaria Gorge - just hope it isn't too hot, but we will be taking a lot of water and dress appropriately. We do hike in Palm Springs in late spring so I believe that the conditions may be similar to PS.

Now I am wondering if we should have Casa Delfino arrange for a bus or if we should drive to the Gorge? Any thoughts.

I hope Gogreek writes a trip report upon return. Love to hear how you enjoyed your trip.

Thanks again all.
debby_fish is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 03:59 PM
  #5  
 
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Don't drive to the Gorge. You can't, except with difficulty, get back to the start. You can easily do it on te service bus (we did), take a tour- every second shop in Chania will be selling them- or get your hotel to organise.
sheila is offline  
Apr 21st, 2005, 10:19 PM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
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Fabulous information! I have been reading your notes since we will be going with 2 kids age 13 and 9 and will be staying on Crete 7 days . Sheila, any experience with Lefka Studios in Chania? We wanted a place with a pool for the kids but didn't want the cost to be too expensive.
VentursomeVs is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 07:56 AM
  #7  
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Thanks again for the advise Sheila. We won't bother driving to the Gorge.

I noticed you visited in August. You mentioned the breeze that cooled you, but what was the approx. temperature. I'm sure there are not many places to hide from the sun. Is that correct. Can we expect to be walking in full sun for the entire hike?
debby_fish is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 09:20 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
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When we honeymooned in Greece 10 years ago the staff at Casa Delfino made several excellent restaurant recommendations, although I can't remember any of the names now - you can't go wrong with their able assistance. Have you considered a sailing trip? I'm not sure if they still do this, but the owner of Casa Delfino arranged a 3-night trip for us on a beatiful 40' boat, provided a captain, fully stocked kitchen, bar, etc - handled all of the details. We spent the days sailing the coast alongside schools of dolphin, anchoring at some uninhabited islands to explore ruins, snorkeling, sunbathing, watching incredible sunsets, etc. It was definitely the hightlight of our trip!
RSSmith is offline  
Apr 22nd, 2005, 12:26 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
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The buses which run to Omalos, and teh service buses, will aim to have you there by 7 or 7.30am. If you're at all fit, you can count on being down by noon or theeby. there's lots of shade until the last bit, and then you ARE pretty exposed, and it will be hot. We did Samaria in September, and it was about 80.

The oddest thing was a girl we saw who had slathered herself in sun block----on the front. You could have fried eggs on the backs of her les by the time she gor to Agia Roumeli.

Don't carry water in quantity; just a good bottle. There are water points all the way down.
sheila is offline  

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