Chania is a beautiful northern port town on the west coast of Crete and its atmosphere, reflecting its Venetian and Turkish past, makes it Crete’s spiritual capital. Arguably it is also the island’s most attractive city, with white-capped mountains and deep gorges, and crisscrossed Venetian alleys that lead to a stunning harbor. HAPPYCAR is here to help you find the best car hire Chania has to offer so you can take full advantage of this evocative city. Through our online comparison portal, we check the prices of international and local providers so that you don’t have to check each website and offer you with the best deals to make your money go further on a rental car that is specific to your car hire needs.
Chania is one of the oldest cities in Crete, originally inhabited by the Minoans 5,000 years ago. It has been continuously inhabited since then, creating a rich and tumultuous history that is a delight to explore. The Venetian and Florencian atmosphere, something which has since been ravaged by war and time in most other parts of the island, remains strong here, with crumbling Venetian palaces, minarets, Turkish baths and Ottoman mansions with overhanging wooden balconies. There is a wealth of sights in and around the city, but a car hire in Chania is essential to properly explore, from mountain villages to archaeological sites to the famous Samaria Gorge.
The harbor is a beautiful place to take a stroll or relax by the waterfront and you can end up at the iconic Venetian Lighthouse, built in 1595 and considered to be one of the oldest standing lighthouses. From there you can walk up to the Venetian fortifications, built around the same time, to get some great views of the Old Town. If you visit in the winter, Chania’s usually crowded pot market turns into a local food paradise. For a slightly different picture of Chanian life, make sure to visit the villages inland.
The Naval Museum, a former Turkish prison, features a lovely collection of model ships and provides an insight into Crete’s considerable maritime history. Museum lovers should also pay a visit to the 16th century Church of St. Francis. The church houses the Archaeological Museum of Chania, where visitors can glimpse into the lives of the island’s earlier inhabitants. Around the port you can find the Chania Municipal Agora – built in 1913 as a vegetable market, the architect designed the market with the Venetian walls in mind. Today there is a variety of local trinkets on offer and makes for an enjoyable stroll.
Chania covers the entire spectrum of Greek food, from lamb and cream pies to sheep’s cheese and popping fried snails. Chanian food is similarly designed to fit the overall Cretan profile, aromatic herbs and edible weeds, virgin olive oil, pulses, fish, honey and fennel, but they have the luxury of being able to source most ingredients very locally. For an authentic taverna, try Karnayio with its excellent service and delicious Cretan pie. For something a little more special, try Akroyiali, Chania’s top seafood restaurant.
A Chania car rental provides many stunning destinations in the area, from the many surrounding monasteries to nearby villages with local life and friendly conversation. A popular day trip is the Samaria Gorge, the deepest and narrowest gorge on the continent and a stunning spectacle that will no doubt override the exhaustion. Also an hour away by car is Rethymno, Crete's other Venetian town and a fascinating place with views of a skyline of Ottoman minarets and Venetian mansions. With a care hire from HAPPYCAR you can take advantage of the whole island and make your road trip through Greece a dream come true.