CHANIA FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Chania is located 93 miles west of Heraklion. Olympic Airways offers at least three flights daily to and from Athens in high season with a flight time of about 50 minutes. Flights to Chania from other points in Greece go through Athens. The airport is 10 miles out of town on the Akrotiri. Public buses meet all flights except the last one at night, however most people take a taxi for about 20€.

How do I get from the port to my hotel?

One ship makes the 10 hour trip daily between Athens-Piraeus and Chania, usually leaving early in the evening. During high season Hellenic Seaways runs a once-daily high-speed catamaran between Athens-Piraeus and Chania that cuts the trip down to about 5 hours. All ships arrive at and depart from Soudha, a 20 minute bus ride from the stop outside the municipal market.

When do the hydrofoils operate between the islands?

Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Timetables change according to seasonal demand and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. That being said, ferries/hydrofoils for the Greek Islands only operate between May and September due to annual weather changes including rough seas and high winds. For travel beyond these months, your itinerary will include transportation by flight between the islands.

Note: The Athens airport authority advises you to allow a minimum of 45 minutes to make a flight connection; which should be adequate if you arrive and depart from the main terminal and do not have to clear Customs. Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes if you have to clear Customs or if you arrive or depart from the satellite terminal. At present, many charter flights use the satellite terminal.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

There are several options for getting around Crete, including public buses, taxis, rental cars and mopeds. Depending on the season, buses run hourly (almost) from early in the morning until about 10:30pm, connecting Chania to Rethymnon and Heraklion. (Round trip fare to Heraklion is approximately 25€.) There are less frequent, and often inconveniently timed, buses between destinations in western Crete. The main bus station to points all over Crete is at 25 Kidonias (tel.28210/93-306).

Please Note: Get to the bus station plenty early as it can be a madhouse in high season!

Where can I rent a motorcycle in Chania?

One of the most popular means of getting around the island is by moped or motorcycle. Unfortunately, the quality of paved roads is not always good as road surfaces are affected by a number of factors including floods and rock falls in winter and extreme heat in summer. Pot holes and loose gravel surfaces are very common as a result. This makes some roads particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. It's a good idea to check the brakes and steering before you ride off. Greek law now requires wearing a helmet, but not all agents supply one. Also, be sure to get full insurance and get a phone number, in case of breakdown.

Warning: Beware of the heat (sunstroke) and take plenty of water with you!

How do I call/hail a taxi?

You can walk to most tourist destinations in Chania, although taxis are available. The taxi drivers of Chania have an agreement to observe the posting of standard fares to some of the most frequented destinations in and around the city's center such as the airport or points on the Akrotiri. These posting should be visible at major taxi pickup points, and although the actual charge cannot always be held to the exact penny due to traffic conditions or long waits, these posted costs should be useful in an appeal to the Tourist Police if you feel you have been grossly overcharged. Don't forget that taxi drivers are allowed a number of surcharges including late night and extra luggage.

Should I rent a car on Crete?

The best way to get around Crete is by car as it will provide the most freedom and comfort for travel. Driving in Greece, and driving in Crete, in particular, might seem a daunting prospect at first, but provided you take appropriate care your trips will be safe and result in enormous pleasure. The island is 162 by 38 miles, so it is a large island. If you plan to do a lot of exploring, keep in mind that narrow winding roads can often mean that journey times are longer than might be expected from distances calculated from a map. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid spending excessive amounts of time behind the wheel. You can rent a car in any major city as well as at the Heraklion International Airport and the Chania International Airport.

Please Note: If you park in a no-parking area, the police will remove your license plates, and you, not the car rental office, will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back!

Warning: Drive with caution, especially at night, when you will undoubtedly be sharing the roads with motorists returning from an evening of drinking.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Greece is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Banks in the new city have ATMs. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Greece by clicking here.

I don't speak Greek. Will many people speak English?

English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. Greeks do have great regard for those that try to speak Greek so it is a good idea to learn a few phrases. We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is Greek food like? What is the standard for tipping?

Greek food comes in many shapes, forms and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied! Crete has its own culinary specilaties and eating customs. Learn all about food in Crete so you know what to eat and what to drink when dining out; and don't be afraid to sample the best each area has to offer.

A service charge of 15 percent is usually included in the bill, but if service is good, then it is customary to leave 10 percent.

Where can I buy necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Most villages have small markets where you can buy water and food and other household items. Greek pharmacies are usually excellent with a qualified doctor or medic on staff (who usually speaks some English), but medicines can be more expensive than at home.

What are the best beaches in Chania?

Crete is the largest island of Greece and its 650 miles of coastline provide hundreds of beautiful beaches that are famous for their crystal blue waters and relaxing atmosphere. Crete is very popular in the summer due to its mild climate, gorgeous beaches and the traditional lifestyle of the locals. No matter which region of the island you are visiting, you will certainly find the best beach for your holiday - small or large, organized or secluded - all of Crete's beaches have something special to offer and are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Please visit our dedicated page on Chania's beaches for more information.

Please note: It is common for women to go topless on beaches. And while public nudity is illegal in Greece, every island has at least one beach where nudity is allowed.

What are the most popular clubs in Chania? Where are they located?

Crete offers a little bit of something for everyone in terms of its nightlife. In Chania, which must rank as one of the most beautiful towns in all of Greece, you can join the locals in their early evening 'volta' (a stroll with no particular aim or destination in mind) before relaxing over a sunset or taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage down at the harbor. Most bars and discos here are gathered around the inner harbor and scattered throughout the old quarter. The town has a thriving gay scene and from July to September there's an arts festival with various events including classical music concerts, jazz and traditional music and dancing. Open air film screenings (often in English) are often held in the public gardens. In Chania town you will find plenty of bars and clubs, some well hidden in the picturesque alleys of the old town and others lining the water front with a gorgeous view to the night sky.

What else is there to do in Chania?

There is more to Chania than its nightlife and beaches! With Crete's rich history and Chania's quaint villages, museums and other attractions, there is plenty to keep you busy! You will also find a wide variety of other activities like walking trails, winery tours, scuba diving, boat tours and ferry excursions.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities on Crete! The best shopping experiences are found in the island's lively markets where you can haggle for Greek specialties as well as local handicrafts. Jewelry, leather goods and souvenirs can be purchased everywhere, but it can be difficult to find that special item that's distinctively Cretan. For a more sophisticated selection of Greek handicrafts in Chania try Mitos at 44 Halidon, opposite the Orthodox Cathedral (tel. 28210/88-862). Castello Vechio, at the corner of Episkopi Chrysanthos, has an unusual selection of ceramics and woodwork or visit the Local Artistic Handicrafts Association (tel. 28210/41-885), located where the new harbor turns the corner into the old harbor. You can also try Carmela, at 7 Anghelou, the narrow street across from the Naval Museum's entrance (tel. 28210/90-487), which has elegant ceramics and jewelry inspired by ancient works of art and even employing some of the old techniques. Or step into Roka Carpets, 61 Zambeliou (tel. 28210/74-736), where you can watch a traditional weaver at work. The carpets come in patterns, colors, and sizes to suit every taste; prices start at 20€. These are not artsy textiles, but traditional Cretan weaving.

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CHANIA FAQ'S

How do I get from the airport to my hotel?

Chania is located 93 miles west of Heraklion. Olympic Airways offers at least three flights daily to and from Athens in high season with a flight time of about 50 minutes. Flights to Chania from other points in Greece go through Athens. The airport is 10 miles out of town on the Akrotiri. Public buses meet all flights except the last one at night, however most people take a taxi for about 20€.

How do I get from the port to my hotel?

One ship makes the 10 hour trip daily between Athens-Piraeus and Chania, usually leaving early in the evening. During high season Hellenic Seaways runs a once-daily high-speed catamaran between Athens-Piraeus and Chania that cuts the trip down to about 5 hours. All ships arrive at and depart from Soudha, a 20 minute bus ride from the stop outside the municipal market.

When do the hydrofoils operate between the islands?

Boat travel in Greece is common and relatively inexpensive. Timetables change according to seasonal demand and boats may be delayed by weather conditions, so your plans should be flexible. That being said, ferries/hydrofoils for the Greek Islands only operate between May and September due to annual weather changes including rough seas and high winds. For travel beyond these months, your itinerary will include transportation by flight between the islands.

Note: The Athens airport authority advises you to allow a minimum of 45 minutes to make a flight connection; which should be adequate if you arrive and depart from the main terminal and do not have to clear Customs. Allow at least 60 to 90 minutes if you have to clear Customs or if you arrive or depart from the satellite terminal. At present, many charter flights use the satellite terminal.

How do I get around the city using public transportation?

There are several options for getting around Crete, including public buses, taxis, rental cars and mopeds. Depending on the season, buses run hourly (almost) from early in the morning until about 10:30pm, connecting Chania to Rethymnon and Heraklion. (Round trip fare to Heraklion is approximately 25€.) There are less frequent, and often inconveniently timed, buses between destinations in western Crete. The main bus station to points all over Crete is at 25 Kidonias (tel.28210/93-306).

Please Note: Get to the bus station plenty early as it can be a madhouse in high season!

Where can I rent a motorcycle in Chania?

One of the most popular means of getting around the island is by moped or motorcycle. Unfortunately, the quality of paved roads is not always good as road surfaces are affected by a number of factors including floods and rock falls in winter and extreme heat in summer. Pot holes and loose gravel surfaces are very common as a result. This makes some roads particularly hazardous for motorcyclists. It's a good idea to check the brakes and steering before you ride off. Greek law now requires wearing a helmet, but not all agents supply one. Also, be sure to get full insurance and get a phone number, in case of breakdown.

Warning: Beware of the heat (sunstroke) and take plenty of water with you!

How do I call/hail a taxi?

You can walk to most tourist destinations in Chania, although taxis are available. The taxi drivers of Chania have an agreement to observe the posting of standard fares to some of the most frequented destinations in and around the city's center such as the airport or points on the Akrotiri. These posting should be visible at major taxi pickup points, and although the actual charge cannot always be held to the exact penny due to traffic conditions or long waits, these posted costs should be useful in an appeal to the Tourist Police if you feel you have been grossly overcharged. Don't forget that taxi drivers are allowed a number of surcharges including late night and extra luggage.

Should I rent a car on Crete?

The best way to get around Crete is by car as it will provide the most freedom and comfort for travel. Driving in Greece, and driving in Crete, in particular, might seem a daunting prospect at first, but provided you take appropriate care your trips will be safe and result in enormous pleasure. The island is 162 by 38 miles, so it is a large island. If you plan to do a lot of exploring, keep in mind that narrow winding roads can often mean that journey times are longer than might be expected from distances calculated from a map. Plan your itinerary in advance to avoid spending excessive amounts of time behind the wheel. You can rent a car in any major city as well as at the Heraklion International Airport and the Chania International Airport.

Please Note: If you park in a no-parking area, the police will remove your license plates, and you, not the car rental office, will have to pay a hefty fine to get them back!

Warning: Drive with caution, especially at night, when you will undoubtedly be sharing the roads with motorists returning from an evening of drinking.

Can I pay/tip in US dollars?

The currency of Greece is the Euro. US dollars are not accepted. Please be sure to have the correct currency on hand or be prepared to exchange your dollars for euros upon arrival. Banks in the new city have ATMs. For more detailed information, consult our guide to tipping in Greece by clicking here.

I don't speak Greek. Will many people speak English?

English may be spoken at your hotel and in the tourist areas, but not everywhere. Greeks do have great regard for those that try to speak Greek so it is a good idea to learn a few phrases. We suggest you get a good English-Greek guidebook and familiarize yourself with common phrases such as hello, goodbye, excuse me and numbers 1-10.

What is Greek food like? What is the standard for tipping?

Greek food comes in many shapes, forms and varieties to keep even the most demanding traveler satisfied! Crete has its own culinary specilaties and eating customs. Learn all about food in Crete so you know what to eat and what to drink when dining out; and don't be afraid to sample the best each area has to offer.

A service charge of 15 percent is usually included in the bill, but if service is good, then it is customary to leave 10 percent.

Where can I buy necessities like bottled water and toiletries?

Most villages have small markets where you can buy water and food and other household items. Greek pharmacies are usually excellent with a qualified doctor or medic on staff (who usually speaks some English), but medicines can be more expensive than at home.

What are the best beaches in Chania?

Crete is the largest island of Greece and its 650 miles of coastline provide hundreds of beautiful beaches that are famous for their crystal blue waters and relaxing atmosphere. Crete is very popular in the summer due to its mild climate, gorgeous beaches and the traditional lifestyle of the locals. No matter which region of the island you are visiting, you will certainly find the best beach for your holiday - small or large, organized or secluded - all of Crete's beaches have something special to offer and are wonderful places to spend a long day under the sun. Please visit our dedicated page on Chania's beaches for more information.

Please note: It is common for women to go topless on beaches. And while public nudity is illegal in Greece, every island has at least one beach where nudity is allowed.

What are the most popular clubs in Chania? Where are they located?

Crete offers a little bit of something for everyone in terms of its nightlife. In Chania, which must rank as one of the most beautiful towns in all of Greece, you can join the locals in their early evening 'volta' (a stroll with no particular aim or destination in mind) before relaxing over a sunset or taking a ride in a horse-drawn carriage down at the harbor. Most bars and discos here are gathered around the inner harbor and scattered throughout the old quarter. The town has a thriving gay scene and from July to September there's an arts festival with various events including classical music concerts, jazz and traditional music and dancing. Open air film screenings (often in English) are often held in the public gardens. In Chania town you will find plenty of bars and clubs, some well hidden in the picturesque alleys of the old town and others lining the water front with a gorgeous view to the night sky.

What else is there to do in Chania?

There is more to Chania than its nightlife and beaches! With Crete's rich history and Chania's quaint villages, museums and other attractions, there is plenty to keep you busy! You will also find a wide variety of other activities like walking trails, winery tours, scuba diving, boat tours and ferry excursions.

What are the best areas for shopping?

There is no shortage of shopping opportunities on Crete! The best shopping experiences are found in the island's lively markets where you can haggle for Greek specialties as well as local handicrafts. Jewelry, leather goods and souvenirs can be purchased everywhere, but it can be difficult to find that special item that's distinctively Cretan. For a more sophisticated selection of Greek handicrafts in Chania try Mitos at 44 Halidon, opposite the Orthodox Cathedral (tel. 28210/88-862). Castello Vechio, at the corner of Episkopi Chrysanthos, has an unusual selection of ceramics and woodwork or visit the Local Artistic Handicrafts Association (tel. 28210/41-885), located where the new harbor turns the corner into the old harbor. You can also try Carmela, at 7 Anghelou, the narrow street across from the Naval Museum's entrance (tel. 28210/90-487), which has elegant ceramics and jewelry inspired by ancient works of art and even employing some of the old techniques. Or step into Roka Carpets, 61 Zambeliou (tel. 28210/74-736), where you can watch a traditional weaver at work. The carpets come in patterns, colors, and sizes to suit every taste; prices start at 20€. These are not artsy textiles, but traditional Cretan weaving.