Whether you're a first-time traveller to Greece, or a seasoned pro, spending a single day in Chania can be a rewarding experience. You can visit the island's ancient temples, take in the local culture, or just relax by the beach. If you have time, try a few of the city's many outdoor activities, such as water sports or scuba diving.
Ancient palace of Knossos
Located along the northern coast of Crete, Knossos is a massive settlement. This large settlement is believed to have been inhabited for thousands of years. It was probably the center of the Minoan civilization.
The first palace at Knossos was surrounded by a rectangular court. The interior was filled with storage space and workshops. This palace lasted until the early 1200's. The palace suffered several disasters. The palace was burned down in about 1300 B.C. Afterward, it was rebuilt. This second palace was lighter than the first.
In addition to the palace, the excavations at Knossos revealed important storage areas and royal quarters. The excavations were led by British archeologist Arthur Evans. The excavations lasted for 35 years. They found pottery from EM IIB-MM IA.
In addition to the pottery, the protopalatial Knossos revealed evidence of gold working and weaving. The pottery was elegant and was associated with mainland Greece. The burials at the site also feature valuable metal vessels.
Another site of interest at Knossos is the "queen's megaron," which features a toilet and possibly a bath. The megaron was built to resemble a wood-paneled palace.
The throne room of the palace at Knossos is a unique Minoan structure. It is located west of the central court. It features a stone throne that is supposed to be ancient. The throne room is one of the few parts of the palace that is accessible. The room is also decorated with a mural of griffins. The throne room is accessed by four steps.
During one day in Chania, you can visit the Minoan World, an ancient world full of historical sites, museums, and beautiful monasteries. You will learn about the rise and fall of the Minoans, a civilization that contributed to the development of the ancient Greek culture.
There are several places to visit in Chania, and you can choose which ones to visit based on your preferences and interests. You can also choose to stay in Chania, as there are a number of hotels to choose from. You can rent a car or take a bus to other destinations.
The Minoan civilization had its earliest origins around 3500 BC. It was a Bronze Age Aegean civilisation that benefited from trade with other parts of the Mediterranean. The Minoan palatial centres stood out for their distinctive monumental architecture and their role as religious and economic centers for a wider geographical area. The palaces were the centre of a variety of activities, including the priesthood, rulers, and the various religious events.
The city's archaeological museum covers the history of Chania from prehistoric times to present. It features local plants and artifacts from the Bronze Age. The museum also has a 3D tour, and a 9D movie that tells the story of the Minoans. The movie is available in English, French, Spanish, and Italian. The experience lasts for an hour, and you can opt to watch the film in the theater.
Visiting Chania is a good idea for a one-day trip. There are a number of interesting things to do, as well as some great local food to try.
Bougatsa is a traditional dish made with phyllo dough and filled with local goat cheese. It is topped with cinnamon and is usually eaten with Greek coffee.
The best place to get a taste of this delicious dish is at Iordanis. This local pastry shop is located in the city centre, and is open every day. It's owned by the fourth generation of Iordanis descendants.
Iordanis is also a great place to sample some of Chania's local produce, including local honey, snails, and extra virgin olive oil. It's located just a short walk from the Central Bus Station.
Iordanis is a family business that's been in the business for a total of 99 years. It is also a member of the European Historic Cafes Association. It's located in the Public Gardens near the Municipal Market, and has a small zoo and an open-air cinema.
Iordanis's special delicacy is a sweeter custard version of bougatsa. It is made with original Cretan olive oil. This makes it a perfect match with a cup of Greek coffee.
Another popular place to have a bougatsa is at the Agora of Chania, which is a local marketplace. This is where you can sample a variety of local dishes, including grilled meat and cheese pies.
Whether you are just beginning to learn how to dive or are looking for a fun and relaxing way to spend one day in Chania, Greece, you should consider a scuba diving tour. Here, you will be introduced to the basics of diving under the supervision of a PADI certified professional.
After an assessment of your levels, you will be given a briefing on what you can expect from the tour. Once you are comfortable, you can schedule the day's activities. For example, you can choose to do a boat tour to explore the scuba sites in the north of Crete. You can also opt for a snorkeling tour.
A popular scuba diving site in Chania is the Elephant Cave. The entrance is 9 meters deep, but the main part of the cave is 40 m beneath. There are striking formations, a huge old anchor, seagrass, and nudibranchs.
A more advanced diving experience can be had at the Kalathas cave area. This dive site features a rocky reef with big schools of fish, a small wall dive, and a spectacular exit through a rock chimney.
The largest passenger shipwreck in the world, HMHS Britannic, lies at 122 meters depth. It is protected by the Hellenic Coast Guard, and has claimed two veteran divers in the past twelve years.
Aside from the wrecks, there are several other dive sites to visit in the Chania area. These include a shipwreck, airplane wreck, and underwater caves.
Mosque of the Janissaries
Located in Chania's old port, the Mosque of the Janissaries is one of Crete's oldest Muslim sites. It was built in 1645 when the Turks captured Chania. After the Turks left, it was used as a cafe and exhibition space. Now it's a museum.
Its original minaret was destroyed during World War II bombings. It was later restored. The building was also renovated to accommodate exhibitions. It still has a few semi-spherical domes. These were part of the original construction.
The Old Market of Chania is full of authentic souvenir shops. It is also home to a variety of cafes and restaurants. It is a great place to stop for a coffee or cappuccino. It's also a great place to buy local foods. It's worth visiting the Old Market if you are in Chania for a couple of days.
The Maritime Museum of Crete is also located in the Old Town. It's open daily except Mondays. It contains historical artifacts from the Minoan and Roman periods. It costs around 4 euros to visit. It's also possible to book a guided tour in advance.
The Archaeological Museum of Chania is located across from the Cathedral and has exhibits from the Minoan and Roman periods. The museum is open daily until 3 pm. It is housed in a former Venetian monastery. It contains coins, jewelry and other historical artifacts.
Located on the south coast of Crete, Elafonissi Beach is a popular tourist destination for many visitors. In 2014, it made it into TripAdvisor's list of the 25 best beaches in the world. In addition to its famous pink sands, it offers beautiful views, shallow water, and plenty of amenities.
Elafonissi is a small island that is protected as a nature reserve. It's home to rare plants and animals, including loggerhead sea turtles.
Public transport to Elafonissi Beach is relatively easy. There are several tour companies that offer day trips. A bus will take you from Chania's Central Bus Station to the beach. Tickets are around EUR9 one way. You should buy your ticket in advance so you don't have to wait. You can also book a bus online.
The bus leaves daily at 9 am from the city of Chania and arrives at Elafonissi at around 4 pm. If you're planning on taking the bus, try to arrive early so you won't have to sit through traffic congestion. If you're driving, be prepared to make a couple of stops along the way. You'll also have the option of visiting the Chrisoskalitissa monastery.
You can also visit the Agia Sofia cave, which features a chapel. If you're an adventurer, you can walk across the lagoon with a backpack.
There are also some beach hotels in Elafonissi. You can stay overnight if you'd like to see the sunrise or sunset.