Things to do in
Chania Regional Unit

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Our most recommended things to do in Chania Regional Unit

From Kissamos Port: Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa

1. From Kissamos Port: Boat Cruise to Balos Lagoon & Gramvousa

The boat departs from Kissamos Port and sails for about an hour in the bay. Youll first approach the island of Gramvousa and then the lagoon of Balos or vice versa, depending on the itinerary route. Cruise against a stunning backdrop of steep cliffs and rocks, incredible secluded beaches, and the infinite blue. Have the chance to see a large cave, which is thought to be an ancient shipyard.  At the end of the bay, the boat will sail between Gramvousa Island and Cape Vouxa. The landscape is breathtaking against the backdrop of Valenti, Pontikonisi, Balos Lagoon and Imeri Gramvousa. The boat shall arrive at the small port of Gramvousa, where you shall stay for about 2 hours. The location of Gramvousa, the Cretan nature, the legends, and the turbulent history of the area exude a magical aura.  The landscape is spectacular and the beach is adorned by a lonely shipwreck. The highest point on the island, atop a steep rock, at an altitude of 137 meters, is dominated by the famous castle of Gramvousa. You may also swim in the area next to the Church of Agioi Apostoloi, stay on the ship to relax, or have some fun on the water slide. After a 2-hour stop on Gramvousa, the boat will depart for the Balos Lagoon, which will be reached after approximately 20 minutes. Balos is listed as one of the best beaches in the world. This exotic beach lagoon and rare natural monument are situated between the Gramvousa Peninsula and Cape Tigani. You can swim in the lukewarm, turquoise blue waters, relax on the pink sandy beach or admire the natural beauty, the rocks, and the cliffs rising above you. You will have the chance to stay in this paradise for about 3 hours. 

From Chania: Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion

2. From Chania: Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion

Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, is located 4,000 feet above sea level. Enjoy a trek in the gorge on a 12-hour excursion that begins with a pick-up in Chania and a drive to Omalos, in the White Mountains. Trek over rocks and stones, through a forest of thousand-year-old trees, along a river and by freshwater springs. Take in spectacular views of Crete’s most beautiful mountain range and see mountain goats roaming in the wild. At the end of the trek, visit the village of Agia Roumeli that boasts numerous taverns and shops. Late in the afternoon, board a boat for the trip from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia, where a bus will be waiting to transfer you back to the starting point.

From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Kissamos, Balos & Gramvousa

3. From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Kissamos, Balos & Gramvousa

Set off on a day trip by bus and boat to the magnificent Balos Lagoon and the Gramvousa island, on the northwestern coast of Crete. Travel by air-conditioned bus to the port of Kissamos and board the boat for a cruise with swim stops and a visit to a castle. After an early morning pickup near your hotel, sit back and relax as you pass through beautiful scenery to get to the Port of Kissamos. There, you'll pay for the cruise and board the boat which will take you in the sea for about an hour till you reach Gramvousa island. Once at Gramvousa, you'll have 1.5 hours of free time to explore the Venetian Fortress which offers breathtaking views from the top. Otherwise, you can stay on the boat to take advantage of the bar restaurant or you can relax at the beachside. Afterward, the boat will continue for about 20 minutes to reach the Balos Lagoon. There, you'll have 2.5 hours of free time on the beach. Swim, snorkel, sunbathe and explore the dunes in the background. In the afternoon, the boat will begin the cruise back to Kissamos and from there you will be driven back to your Hotel area in Rethymno.

Samaria Gorge Trek: Full-Day Excursion from Rethymno

4. Samaria Gorge Trek: Full-Day Excursion from Rethymno

Samaria Gorge, the longest and likely the best-known gorge in Europe, lies 4,000 feet above sea level. Your full-day excursion to Samaria Gorge begins with a pick-up in Rethymno and a drive to Omalos, in the heart of the White Mountains, where you can enjoy breakfast before you start the hike. The trek will take you over rocks and stones, through a forest of thousand-year-old trees and along a river and by fresh-water springs. Along the way, you’ll have spectacular views of Crete’s most beautiful mountain range and you are likely to see mountain goats roaming in the wild. You will be accompanied by a professional mountain escort who speaks English, German and Greek.  Your escort will be there to explain all the necessary information about your hike and provide you with the tickets for the entrance and ferry boat. These fees have to be paid to the guide upon arrival. After your breakfast you enter the Samaria Gorge. Walk at your own pace as your guide will be at the end of the group to help out if you need them. At the end of the trek you’ll visit the village of Agia Roumeli, where you’ll find a number of taverns, bars and shops. Enjoy some free time to take a swim or have some lunch. A meeting point will be arranged so you can collect your ferry tickets from your guide. Late in the afternoon you’ll board a boat that will take you from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia, where the bus will be waiting to transfer you back to the starting point.

From Chania: Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour

5. From Chania: Gramvousa Island and Balos Bay Full-Day Tour

Your day starts with a pickup from your hotel or at a specific pick-up point with the bus. Drive towards the west side of Crete in order to reach the port of Kissamos Kasteli. After receiving all the necessary information about the cruise from your escort, arrive at the port where the Gramvousa ferry awaits you to start the cruise. Your escort will collect the money for the boat tickets from you so you can skip the lines at the ticket offices. At about 10:20 AM set off for the island of Gramvousa which takes approximately 45 minutes. Help yourself to the ferry kitchen with self-service dishes, meals or snacks. You can sit back on a deck chair or in the lounge. During your cruise, see the elevation of the land along the cliff edges of Crete. This elevation has happened over 2000 years. The history of the island is explained through microphones in different languages. Once you arrive at the island of Gramvousa you can either swim or take a hike to the top of the island to the Venetian fortress. There you have 2.5 hours before you continue to the lagoon of Balos which is 20 minutes away. Enjoy 3 hours at the lagoon. You may go back to the boat for food at any time or hire umbrellas if the heat is too intense. After a swim and relaxation at the lagoon, the boat will take you straight back to the port of Kissamos. This is a great photo opportunity as the sun will be behind you as you look out to the scenery of the island. At 6:00 PM the ferry arrives at the port and the journey comes to an end. Return time to Chania is approximately 7.00 PM.

Day Trip to Elafonisi Island from Chania

6. Day Trip to Elafonisi Island from Chania

Travel to the southwest corner of Crete on this full-day trip from Chania. Spend a relaxing day on the pink sand beaches on the small island of Elafonisi. Take in the lush green landscape en route to the island as you travel through the impressive Topolia Gorge and pass many traditional villages. Stop to purchase coffee and breakfast in the village of Elos, known for its chestnut trees. After arriving on Elafonisi, enjoy 4 hours of relaxing on the beach and swimming in the crystal-clear waters. Afterwards, you'll enjoy lunch at a local tavern (not included). Situated just off the island of Crete, Elafonisi is easily reached by walking through the water. Both the beach and island are protected wildlife areas of rare beauty.

The Samariá Gorge Hike from Chania or Rethymno

7. The Samariá Gorge Hike from Chania or Rethymno

Samariá Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe. An area of stunning natural beauty, it is rich with many flowers and herbs and the crystal-clear spring waters that flow from the mountains. Following an early morning pick-up (between 05:30 and 06:30) from the nearest point to your accommodation in Rethymno or Chania, travel through the mountains passing the plateau of Omalos. You will arrive at some wooden stairs at the start of Samariá Gorge. You can opt to start the walk straight away or get some breakfast at the taverna before you begin. Hike for approximately 6-7 hours and experience the magnificent landscape on a 16-kilometer walk. Once you have finished the hike, there will be ample time for a swim and lunch at a taverna in Agia Roumeli. Indicative Timetable: 5:20 AM ‐ 6:10 AM: Pickup 7:30 AM: First stop at Omalos Plateau 8:00 AM: Begin the Xyloskalo hike 2:00 PM: End the hike at Agia Roumeli Village Please note that this timetable depends on how fast you walk and how much free time you take to eat.

From Georgioupolis: Half-Day Quad ATV Safari

8. From Georgioupolis: Half-Day Quad ATV Safari

Discover the Mountains of Crete and experience driving a 450cc ATV quad bike in the morning or the evening. Feel the fresh air on your face as you cross shallow rivers and explore hidden hills and small gorges that are only known to the local shepherds. Feel enchanted by the changing landscape of Crete and have guaranteed fun driving on the dirt roads. You will be accompanied by an experienced guide who will introduce you to wonderful Cretan landscapes and will entertain you with fascinating local tales and Cretan culture. This perfect holiday will give both you and your family a treasure chest of memories to share and look back on.

Chania: Boat Trip with Guided Snorkeling & Stand-Up Paddling

9. Chania: Boat Trip with Guided Snorkeling & Stand-Up Paddling

Discover what lies below the surface of the water on an amazing 3-hour boat trip off the northwest coast of Crete. Benefit from pick-up at your hotel in Chania, and then journey by air-conditioned minivan to the resort town of Almyrida. Avail of the services of experienced instructors who will give you a short theory lesson on arrival. Then, sail to secluded beaches that can only be reached by boat and swim with your provided snorkeling equipment. Learn the names of all the fish with the help of a book as the crew takes photos and videos of your experience to send by email as a souvenir. Relax and enjoy the good company in the warm sun, and get fantastic views of the coastline.

From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay

10. From Rethymno: Full-Day Trip to Gramvousa Island & Balos Bay

Depart Rethymno at approximately 07:45 and travel by bus along the new national road towards the westernmost tip of Crete. Pass the bay of Souda and the former Cretan capital of Chania before your arrival in Kissamos. Upon arrival, climb aboard a boat and cross to Balos Bay at the northernmost tip of the peninsula. Relax on the 1-hour boat trip, and get 2.5 hours at Balos Bay to enjoy the soft white sands and unique blue and green waters of the lagoon. Next, take a 20-minute boat ride to Gramvousa Island for plenty of time to enjoy an unforgettable swim in the crystal clear waters. If you are feeling energetic, take an optional 137-meter climb up to the 16th-century Venetian Fortress for an incomparable view of the surrounding surroundings. Enjoy approximately 1.5 hours at peace on Gramvousa Island, and then take a 1-hour boat ride back to Kissamos. Upon arrival, continue to Rethymno by bus at the end of the laid-back tour.

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What people are saying about Chania Regional Unit

Overall rating

4.5 / 5

based on 6,672 reviews

Such a pleasure to have Andreas as the guide. Knowledgeable Sommelier who really has a passion for his country. Plenty of great varieties of wine and advice on how to identify the flavours and notes. Plenty of nibbles to enjoy with the wine. Offered a white, red and rose to sample. The olive oil tour was great as well! Opportunity to buy some quality wine and olive oil at each site. Outstanding start to a wonderful trip, thank-you Andreas!

Brilliant experience of the ancient seat of Minoan power and the shockingly advanced technology of the period.

Very well organized, with a knowledgeable guide who let us hike at our own speed.

Best way to get to, hike and back to your hotel from the Samaria Gorge!

Everything was perfect very helpful staff and beautiful locations