Tourist guide to the Prefecture of Chania in Crete

The beautiful Prefecture of Chania

The beautiful Prefecture of Chania ©Olly M Pus/Flick

The prefecture of Chania covers the western part of the island and is often called “Western Crete”. Chania is surrounded by the Cretan Sea in the north and the Mediterranean Sea in the west and south. In the east the prefecture of Chania  borders Rethymno.

The Prefecture of Chania in Crete is divided into five provinces: Apokoronas, Kissamos, Kydonia, Selino and Sfakia. The Prefecture of Chania has a population of 156,371 inhabitants (2005) and an area of ​​2376 km ². Chania is the most mountainous region of Crete, the highest peak being 2453 m (top Pachnes).

The prefectural capital of Chania

The prefectural capital is the city of Chania, the second largest city in Crete, with a population of 55,838 inhabitants (2001). Chania is located on the northern coast of the island, in the eastern part of the Gulf of Chania, at about a distance of 70 km west of Rethymno and 145 km west of Heraklion.

Chania was built on the ruins of the ancient city of Kydonia and has been inhabited since the Neolithic times. The town began to develop in the Minoan era, when it became one of the most important economic centers of ancient Greece. Today Chania is “cultural capital” of Crete, and a major commercial and administrative center. In Chania tourists can find many accommodation offers for every budget, both in downtown and near beaches. Chania has many restaurants and cafes, most of them in the old city.

The port of Chania

The port of Chania ©Identity Photogr@phy/Flick

The harbor and airport of Chania

Souda Bay is the port of the Prefecture of Chania, where ships have daily connections with the Greek mainland.

The Chania Airport is smaller than the one in Heraklion and is located on the Akrotiri peninsula, near Souda Bay, at a distance of about 14 km from Chania. The official name of the airport is “Ioannis Daskalogiannis” after a Cretan, who rebelled against the Ottoman occupation in the eighteenth century.

The beautiful Prefecture of Chania

The beautiful Prefecture of Chania ©Olly M Pus/Flick

Towns and villages in Chania

The most important towns and villages in the Prefecture of Chania are Ayia Roumeli, Elafonissi, Georgioupolis, Falassarna, Kissamos, Kolimbari, Kournas, Paleochora, Vamos, Sfakia, Chora Sfakion, Souda, Sougia and Vrisses.

The beaches of the Prefecture of Chania

Tourists have access to many popular and crowded beaches on the north coast, or tiny and isolated beaches on the southwest coast, many of them being awarded with the Blue Flag. The most popular beaches are Nea Chora Chania, Kalathas, Tersanas, Stavros, Marathi, Loutraki, Kyani Akti, Kalives, Almirida, Plaka, Ombrosgialos, Kalivaki, Georgioupolis, Perastikos (beaches located in the north-east of the Chania Prefecture, following the route from the city of Chania to east) Agii Apostles Kalamaki Agia Marina, Platanias, Gerani, Maleme, Tavronitis, Kolymbari, Afrata, Menies or Ravdoucha, Kissamos or Kastelli, the beach at Balos lagoon, Long Beach and Pachia Ammos, Falassarna, Sfinari Afratolakkoi (beaches located in the north-east of Chania Prefecture, following the east – west route), the beach at the laguna of Elafonissos, Krios, Koundouros, Grammeno, Plakaki, Pachia Ammos, Paleochora, Anidri, Sandy, Liss, Sougia Agia Roumeli Agios Pavlos (beaches located in the south-west of the Chania Prefecture, following the route west – east), Marmara (Dialiskari), Lykos, Phoenix, Loutro, Glyka Nera Ilingas, Sfakia, Vritomartis, Fylaki, Frangokastello , Orth Ammos, Lakki, Agia Marina (beaches located in the south-east of the Chania Prefecture, following the route west – east).

Beach in Chania

Beach in Chania ©Carwai Seto/Flick

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