The city has been occupied by Arabs, Byzantines, Venetians and Turks and they all left some sort of trademark, giving Chania a unique blend of elements brimming with bygone heritage. The Old quarter is built near the Venetian-cum-medieval Port. The terracotta rooftops and their maze of red-ish tiles create a sublime skyline.
There is a chic swath of resorts but the atmosphere here remains unpretentious. Meander up the streets leading to small quarters like Arsenali, Kastelli or Castello Vechio as the Venetians used to call it and Chalepa quarter oozing nobility as it was once the place where Ambassadors lived.
If you are up for laying on the romance then Chania will do the trick. A dainty city divided in Old and New, with lavish medieval architecture, elegant mansions, sculptured fountains and a wonderful Venetian port of postcard perfection.
Creatans love leather and so should you. The Stivanadika quarter, named after stivania, the infamous black Cretan boots is the place to shop like a local. Now if footwear is not your cup of tea, opt for an engraved Cretan knife but beware of the replicas. You have to splurge a little for the real thing.
What are the locals talking about? Chances are it is mantinades a.k.a Cretan rhyming couplets. Locals use it in everyday life, but when accompanied by Cretan lyra and laouto instruments, they sound much better. Go ahead figure out a few rhymes of your own. We bet your special someone will feel even more special.
Longing to laze away the day and get some sand between your toes? Head to Falassarna and Balos beaches.
If it's hard to pick, use the shade of the sand as a criterion. The former is shimmering golden and the latter rosy! No hyperbole. Except you are in the mood for some alpine air and jaw-dropping views from atop. Then the answer would be Samaria gorge with its high altitude and captivating slopes that are home for more than 450 plant and animal species. Regardless of your physical strength levels, it is definitely worth a try.
Time to refuel? Cretan cuisine is heavy on fresh fish, traditionally raised goat called kri-kri and loads of tsikoudia.
Local etiquette tip: the offering of tsikoudia is sacred for Cretans. They tend to get offended is you turn it down. We know it's strong, but to hell with it you are on vacation!
Local Liatiko and Vidiano wine varieties are exquisite. Authentic Cretan villages are scattered around the region offering gastronomic plesures - the Creatan way. Herbs of all kinds make lots of appearances and local delicacies include rosemary flavored snails, gamopilafo cooked in staka butter, boureki from Chania, kalitsounia and ntakos. Dig in. Finger-licking guaranteed.
Oh What a fascinating city!