Chania has been voted as one of the prettiest towns in Greece, and given our limited exploration of the country, we whole heartedly agree.
It has also been one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. Prehistoric settlement started almost 130,000 years ago in the Paleolithic Age. The Minoans arrived here around 4000 years ago (~2700 BC), and seeded the beginnings of pre-Greek and Greek cultures, which traveled northwards towards Mycenae and into Athens, was picked up by the Romans and spread around the western world.
The transition from Minoan, to Greek, to Roman, to Byzantine, a brief Venetian occupation, and then through the Ottoman rule to modern day Greece means that you find traces of every culture and architecture around every street corner as you walk through Chania’s pleasant alleys. Whether it’s the Venetian Harbor and the sea-wall that the Venetians built to defend themselves against Mediterranean storms, or the fascinating Mosque of the Janissaries that the Ottomans built the moment they occupied the town in 1645, Chania is a must visit on any trip to Greece.
And as you stroll or sit on the benches along the Venetian harbor, waiting for that perfect sunset on the crystal clear waters of the Sea of Crete, don’t forget to book the restaurants that line the harbor quite early in the evening, as tables vanish starting at sunset to late in the night. Our best meal from the entire trip was at Salis, whose history is as varied and representative as the town itself.