The exterior walls of the ottoman fortress in Crete
One of ancient Crete's most important city-states, Aptera sits on a hill just south of the bay, with two seaports at the entrance to Souda Bay. Check out this active archaeological site to learn about new discoveries that shed light on the most powerful city of western Crete during Minoan times.
The ruins of the Katholiko Monastery in Crete
Stroll the sandy beach at Stavros Bay, where Anthony Quinn danced in 1964's 'Zorba the Greek'. Explore the three monasteries – Agias Triada, Gouverneto and Katholika – set on this rocky peninsula. Discover Bear Cave on the footpath leading to Katholiko built into the cliff.
At 18 kilometres, Samaria is the longest of the many deep gorges that cut into Crete's mountains. The entrance is 42 kilometres south of Chania, and you can hike independently or with a guide. On the way, you might run into some kri kri, the wild goats found only on Crete. The gorge opens out to the black-sand beach at Ayia Roumeli.
Restaurants with fresh seafood abound at the Chania waterfront. Local signatures of savoury lamb, mini cheese pies and fresh vegetables also bring something special to the plate. And don't miss the dacos, a traditional Cretan bread served with tomato, mizithra cheese and rivers of virgin Cretan olive oil.
Chania's Old Town is packed with unique shops selling handmade ceramic kitchenware and decorations with classic geometric designs, one-of-a-kind jewellery made from pearl and coral – and of course, the local extra virgin olive oil, which is typically cold-pressed and retains distinctive flavours of green apple and freshly cut grass. Take the time to explore the narrow, less-travelled streets to find both bargains and unique items during your Crete cruise.
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