The beautiful city of Chania or Hania managed to preserve its original colors and historical character, despite the fast-growing tourist industry. It is considered as one of the most beautiful cities of Greece and the most picturesque city of Crete.
The city of Chania is also characterized by a rich cultural life. A plethora of cultural events are organized every year (exhibitions, festivals, theatrical and musical performances, ect.)
Rethymno combines rarely united features: the old town’s charm and history, with proximity to a long sandy beach.
Although it is the third largest town in Crete, Rethimnon never feels like a city as Chania and Heraklion do.Instead, it has a provincial air; it’s a place that moves slowly and the most important preserves much of its Venetian and Turkish appearance.
Following the northwest coastline, and turning south before Rethymnon, we reach the Monastery of Arkadi, a supreme symbol for Cretans: Freedom or Death. Due to its isolated situation it has been used throughout history as a centre for resistance movements. But it is most well known for its ultimate resistance against the Turks, when a sizeable group of Cretans, mostly women and children, were asked to surrender and they refused. Due to the overwhelming numbers of Turks, the fall of the monastery became imminent, and the Abbot himself gave the command to ignite the powder killing hundreds of Cretans and Turks.
Continuing west we arrive in Chania, the former capital of Crete. The town is divided into the old town, within the Venetian city walls, which is an attractive maze of narrow streets, old mansions and arcades, with mosques and minarets bearing witness to the Turkish influence and the carefully laid out new town which is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns of Crete. Lunch can be enjoyed in one of the many waterfront tavernas, which overlook the old Venetian harbor, where the film “Zorba the Greek” was filmed. You will have free time to visit the famous “Agora” (market) with the leather goods.
On the way back we stop at the town of Rethymnon, a colorful mixture of Venetian and Turkish architecture, the current center of Arts & Letters of Crete. You may visit the Turkish minarets or enjoy a coffee at the attractive harbor which is dominated by the Venetian fortress.