Three Spots In Chania Off The Beaten Path
One of the greatest things about slow travel is the discovery of spots you’d never run into, were you visiting for just a day or two. After having spent some time familiarizing ourselves with Chania, we discovered a few spots that are off the beaten path. Please keep in mind, a couple of these are technically closed off to visitors, but nobody seems to pay any attention to that. Still, I wouldn’t suggest going after dark, and only visit at your own risk. If someone yells at you (which seems unlikely in laid-back Greece), don’t tell them For 91 Days sent you!
#1 West Venetian Walls
These fortifications are from the 13th century, when Chania was occupied by Venice. The city’s new masters ordered the construction of a wall to fortify the older Byzantine barriers. There’s an official entrance to reach the top of the Western walls, which you can find here. There, you’ll find a little park, and a path on top of the wall, leading north.
Soon, you’ll reach a gate, which is the entrance to the upper San Salvatore Bastion. It’s been blocked, but parts of the wire mesh fence have been forced open, and it’s easy to get through. Watch your step as you climb the walls, atop which you’ll have an excellent view over the old Jewish neighborhood, some of the port, and the lighthouse. From the looks of things, the San Salvatore Bastion was open to the public in the recent past, because there are still informative signs present.
#2 Bastion of Schiavo
Close by the entrance to the West Venetian Walls, you’ll find the Bastion of Schiavo. Nowadays, it looks like a lumpy hill, and not at all like the mighty fortification it must have once been. On the backside, you’ll find a path leading up the hill. Like the San Salvatore Bastion, it’s been fenced-off, and there are signs which prohibit visitors, but this is clearly a rule which doesn’t impress anyone. Just waltz on through, and you’ll probably not be alone. But once again: although we might classify the risk as “minor”, it’s one you’ll have to decide upon yourself.
At the top, you can enjoy views over the neighborhood of Evraiki, and see some of Chania’s remaining minarets off toward the east.
#3 Byzantine Terrace
Within the quiet district of Kastelli, there’s a surprisingly difficult-to-find terrace which overlooks the Venetian Harbor. From below, we had jealously watched people up there enjoying the view, but were having problems reaching it ourselves. After a couple aborted attempts, we finally figured it out, and can now share the way to our favorite sunset spot in Chania. Bring a couple beers and a snack, then choose a spot to sit along the wall… the view is unmatched.
After the sun has set, spend some time exploring Kastelli. If we ever return to Chania, we’d focus our apartment hunt on this utterly charming neighborhood. It’s literally a couple minutes away from the Old Town, but somehow none of the tourists which clog the streets below find their way up here. There’s a very local vibe, and you really get a taste of Greek life.
Have you been to Chania, or elsewhere on Crete? If you know of any spots which are off the beaten path, or a tavern which only the locals haunt, please share them with us! We promise not to spoil them, by writing internet posts which alert hordes of tourists to their existence. (And no, we are not hiding crossed fingers behind our backs!)
(Okay, yes we are.)
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