Crete is the largest of the Greek Islands and Chania, where I visited, is its second largest city. Chania has an old town full of traditional streets with interesting shops, tavernas, a stunning marina and lighthouse. Here are a few ideas of how to spend a day in Crete…
Facts about Crete
- Chania is pronounced ‘Hania’
- Currency is Euro
- Crete is the largest Island in Greece
Note: It is recommended you book TUI’s excursions early to avoid disappointment as some of them are extremely popular.
Disembarking the ship
On disembarking the ship, there were a number of excursions you could choose to be part of depending on how you wish to spend a day in Crete. The tours are varied and great for solo travellers. You will have the option to explore on your own or be part of a guided tour…
Exploring on your own
I like to explore on my own whenever I can so I can do things at my own pace. Crete is a wonderful place to explore. There are lots of interesting shops to look at that specialise in olive wood, honey, jewellery and leather.
In the Old Town and around the Port, there are a number of cafes and restaurants with outdoor seating areas where you can sit and watch the world go by. Some of the staff can be a bit pushy trying to get you inside their restaurant but, keep walking and check them out before you go into the first one that you see.
There are many tempting restaurants as you walk around the marina but the one I can recommend which was fantastic is Monastiri Taverna. The food was amazing and the waiter, Euripidis, was an absolute delight. He took photographs, posed for one himself and brought out a complimentary dessert and dessert wine. I would love to return here some day.
The salads and cheese dishes are particularly fantastic served with sesame seed and honey toasts.
The Folklore Museum
This is a small museum which will give you an idea of how the way of life was in the 18th and 19th Century in Crete.
Explore Firkas Fortress, the Venetian Fortress which protects the harbour.
An historic lighthouse stands proud in the Marina. It dates back to the late 16th Century and was built by the Venetians who occupied Crete at the time. Between 1824-32 it was rebuilt at the time Egyptian troops occupied Crete. Therefore the base is still the original Venetian one, but the rest of it is more Egyptian in style.
There were several boats around the harbour offering different types of trips such as snorkelling or glass bottom boat rides. Some were for an hour, others longer. The “Thia Maro” with Chania Cruises was excellent. The trip offered good value for money costing Euros 10 per person and is an hour long round trip. This includes 20 minutes snorkelling time in the clear blue water. Snorkelling equipment is provided. You are then given slices of apple with a sprinkling of cinnamon and a shot of raki, a local drink. You will love it or hate it! This was a well run trip with lovely staff. This is a highly recommended activity when spending a day in Crete.
Excursions organised by TUI include…
Visit the plateau which is in the middle of the White Mountains and was once a hide out when the Turkish occupied Crete. It also includes a stop off at a traditional taverna in the rural village of Omalos and a chance to browse the shops.
Monastery of Asia Triada & Chania
Visit the 17th Century monastery followed by a guided tour of Chania with free time for shopping and eating.
Arcadi Monastery & Rethymnon Town
Visit Monastery Arkadi which is now a national sanctuary. You will then continue the guided tour to a harbour town, Rethymnon, which dates back to the 16th Century.
Chania Town & Maritime Museum
First you can enjoy a guided tour around the old town, learning about its history as well as a visit to a market with local products. Next you will head to the Maritime Museum by the port for a guided tour before having some free time in Chania.
Fun at the Waterpark
Limnoupolis Waterpark is full of water based activities and rides and has a traditional Greek restaurant and fast food stalls if you fancy a bite to eat!
Agia Marina Beach Break
A visit to a white sandy beach with crystal clear blue waters in the town of Asia Marina.
A chance to explore the Greek landscape by Landrover. The route takes you from Souda port through Mournies, Perivolia and Therisso Gorge. Next you will experience an off road drive to Drakona and various other small Greek villages.
Here is the link to TUI’s website for further information about the recommended Marella Celebration Cruise along with suggested further reading about cruising and day trips…