Chania: Live the adventure
Chania is the capital city of West Crete and one of the oldest in the island with a rich and tremendous history. The city has preserved its traditional architecture and most of its monuments from the Venetian and Turkish period. Archaeological sites, temples, squares and beautiful buildings compose the picture. The Venetian, Turkish, traditional and modern architecture co-exist in harmony, creating an attractive scenery for the visitors. The amazing Venetian harbour with its famous Lighthouse and the old town in the centre, welcome thousands of visitors each year. The modern part of the city is developing quite fast.
The prefecture of Chania consists of 5 provinces: Kydonia which includes the city of Chania and extends to the south, all the way to the White Mountains. Its coastal part is the main touristic area of West Crete. Further to the West, the region of Kissamos includes the two peninsulas of Rodopou and Gramvoussa. East of Chania, the region of Apokoronas is one of the greenest regions in Crete with hundreds of olive trees between the sea and the northern slopes of the White Mountains. In the South, the region of Selino stretches from the south-west on Crete to just beyond Sougia on the south coast. Sfakia is by far the largest of all the regions, preserving the strongest traditions. The White Mountains (or Lefka Ori) are located in the centre part of the prefecture of Chania.
Chania Prefecture is the greenest part of Crete. The landscape showcases wonderful beaches with golden sand and crystal-clear water, beautiful, imposing mountains and many impressive deep gorges.
The White Mountains (Lefka Ori)
The imposing Mountain is the main feature of Chania region as it covers a large part of the centre of West Crete. Its name is attributed to the snow that covers the Mountains until the spring time. The Mountain is made of limestone and during the summer, the sun that is reflected on the summits makes them appear white as well. The highest summit is Pachnes (2.453m), while more than 30 summits are higher than 2000m. There are numerous caves, precipices, sinkholes and canyons. Besides the famous Samaria gorge, in the White Mountains National Reserve, you will see Aradena, Tripiti, Klados, Agia Irini, Imbros and Kallikratis, Vrissi, Therisso, Cyclamen, Boriano, Dittany, Kidoni and some more gorges. The most well-known plateaus include Omalos, Anopolis, Askyfou, Tavri and Niato. Lefka Ori have two caves, the Gourgouthakas and the Cave of the Lion that are the deeper in Greece (depth greater than 1km). It should be noticed that hiking in the White Mountains requires fitness, experience and a good sense of orientation.
The Gorge of Samaria
It is the biggest, most imposing and beautiful gorge not only in Chania prefecture, but also in Europe. This is the reason why more than 300.000 visitors from all over the world, cross it each year, from the beginning of May until the end of October. The biotope is unique with rare geo-morphological formations. You will have the opportunity to see a great number of well-known flora species as well as a rich fauna. Most popular is the world-famous Cretan Chamois (wild goat), a dashing animal that lives freely in the gorge of Samaria. The length of the passage to the limits of the park is 12,8km and the distance to the coast of Agia Roumeli is another 3,2km. Regularly, you will need about 5 hours to cross the gorge, but it is preferable not to walk less than 6 hours in order to enjoy its beauties. There are a lot of spots where you can walk over the river of the gorge on small wooden bridges. Keep in mind that the gorge has a lot of narrow passes. When you reach the idyllic beach of Agia Roumeli, you may rest and enjoy swimming in the clean waters of the Libyan Sea.
The Gorge of Therisso (Eleutherios Venizelos)
It is the only gorge that visitors can enjoy its beauty by car or other transport, and also the nearest to the city of Chania. In a route of 6km length, there are imposing rocky slopes and wonderful flora species, forming an amazing landscape. The beauty of Therisso village, built at the foothills of the White Mountains at an altitude of 580m is remarkable. The village hosts two museums: Historical and Folklore Museum of Therisos.
One of the most significant city-states in the island, located above Souda Bay, around 15km away from Chania city. Its history begins in the Minoan Period (3500- 1070 BC), however, the most visible archaeological traces come from the Geometric Period (1000-685 BC), the Hellenistic Period (323-67 BC) and the Roman Empire (67 BC-324 AD). Some of the most important findings that visitors admire, include the Fortification, the aqueducts, the public baths and the graves. The most impressive of the preserved ancient buildings are the groups of Roman reservoirs. The view of Souda Bay is astonishing.
The largest natural lake with fresh water in Crete is located at Kournas, 4 km away from Georgioupoli town. The beautiful landscape “unfolds” in a valley among the hills. The lake, relatively small is about 1.087m long. Lake Kournas is home of ducks, eels, water snakes and of rare species of bicoloured terrapin with a patterned shell. Visitors have the opportunity to observe the birds of the area from the local watch tower.