Mt Profítis Ilías
Eight km/5mi east of Khaniá, on Mt Profítis Ilías, are a statue of Liberty and the graves of Sofokles and Eleftherios Venizélos, two Cretan politicians.
Six km/4mi east of Mt Profítis Ilías, at Maráthi, are the remains of ancient Minoa.
17km/10.5 mi northeast of Khaniá, on the Akrotíri peninsula, is the monastery of Ayía Triáda (1631), and 4 km/2.5 mi north of this the monastery of Gouvernéto (1548). Gouvernéto, like Ayía Triáda, has a Renaissance façade showing Venetian influence. An icon in the porch depicts the legend of St John of Gouvernéto, who, fleeing from the Near East, landed on the shore here and, with 98 companions, lived in a cave until a hunter accidentally shot him. The cave can still be seen.From Gouvernéto a broad rocky path (to the right) goes down to some ruined buildings in front of a spacious cave, called the Bear's Cave from the form of a stalagmite in it. The cave is thought to have been a cult site in Minoan times, and in the classical period was dedicated to the cult of Artemis.At the entrance to the cave is the little chapel of the Panayía Arkoudiótissa (Mother of God of the Bear's Cave). From here a narrow path winds its way down to the abandoned monastery of Katholikó, with the cave of St John of Gouvernéto (to the left, shortly before the monastery doorway). The rock-cut church has a Venetian front wall.
Our Lady of the Angels Monastery
Near Agia Triada, the Monastery of Our Lady of the Angels (Gouvernetou), founded in 1548, has a Renaissance-style church whose impressive facade is decorated with Venetian sculptures.
Aptera was a prominent city in during the 7th Century B.C. Some of the ancient city can still be seen here, including the old fortifications, a temple, and theatre.
From Kolymbári the Rhodópou peninsula extends northward. Only 6km/4mi wide, it rises to a height of 750m/2460ft above sea level. At its northeast end, in Meniés Bay near Cape Scala, can be seen the sanctuary of the nymph Dictynna, excavated by German archeologists during the World War II.
Eight km/5mi west of Máleme a road goes off on the right to the village of Kolymbári, with the fortress-like monastery of Goniás and the Oecumenical Academy of the autocephalous (autonomous) Church of Crete.
Sanctuary of Dictynna
Near Cape Scala, can be seen the sanctuary of the nymph Dictynna, excavated by German archeologists during the World War II.Dictynna was identical with the Cretan mountain goddess Britomartis and was later equated with Artemis. According to another tradition she was the patroness of fishermen and their nets (diktyon = "net").The best way to reach the site is by boat from Khaniá. From the landing-place a path ascends a small valley with the ruins of an abandoned village and up the southern slope of the hill (to left) to the excavation site. There are the remains of a temple built in the A.D. second century on the site of an earlier temple of the seventh century B.C., together with the altar, cisterns and other buildings.
Kasteli Kisamou, Greece
21km/13mi west of Cape Scala, on the south side of the Gulf of Kísamos, is the little town of Kastéli Kisámou. From here there are rewarding excursions to the ancient port of Kisamos (2km/1.25mi northwest); the island of Gramvoúsa (20km/12.5mi) off the Gramvoúsa peninsula, at the northwestern tip of Crete, with a 17th century Venetian fort, situated at a height of 135m/445ft above a sheer cliff on the west coast; the ancient port town of Phalasarna (9km/6mi west), with remains of buildings and harbor installations, tombs and rock carvings; and the remains of the Dorian town of Polyrrhenia (6km/4 mi south).
60km/37mi southwest of Khaniá lies the village of Kándanos, the inhabitants of which were shot by German forces during the World War II in reprisal for the activities of the Greek Resistance.
South of Kándanos, on a promontory, is Palaiokhóra, with a Venetian castle. West of the village extends a long sandy beach.
Shortly before Palaiokhóra a road branches off on the left and runs east by way of Rodováni to the bay of Soúyia (ancient Syia). From here a path leads over the hill to the west into the neighboring bay of Áyios Kyàrikos (more easily reached by boat from Palaiokhóra). This was the site of ancient Lisos. The custodian takes visitors to see the temple in the sanctuary of Asklepios, which preserves the walls of the naos, mosaic pavements, the base of the cult image and (to the left of this) a box for offerings. The water of the sacred spring flows under the temple to a fountain. There are also remains of Roman houses and, on the western slope, Hellenistic and Roman tombs.On the shore is the chapel of Áyios Kyàrikos, and to the west of the temple a chapel dedicated to the Panayía, both built over the remains of early Christian basilicas.
42km/26mi south of Khaniá lies the village of Omalós, on the edge of the fertile Omalós plain. This is the starting-point of the walk (seven hours) through the Samariá Gorge (Farángi tis Samariás), 18km/11mi long, up to 600m/2,000ft deep and no more than 3-4m/10-14ft wide at its narrowest point, the "Iron Gates" (Síderoportes). The Cretan wild goat (kri kri) still survives in this area. To undertake the walk through the gorge you need to be fit, to have stout footwear and carry sufficient food and particularly water. At the south end of the gorge is the village of Ayía Rouméli, from which it is 10km/6mi east (by boat or on foot) to Khóra Sfakíon, with the Venetian fort of Frangokástello or Castelfranco. From there the return to Khaniá (75km/47mi) is by bus.
Opening hours: May 1 to Oct 14: 6am-4pm
Samaria Gorge National Park
The Samaria Gorge National Park was established in 1962 in Khaniá, Crete. It is 4,850 hectares/11,980 acres. Special features include capra aegagrus (wild goat).The Samaria Gorge National Park was granted the Council of Europe's Europa Diploma (Category A) in 1979.
Gavalokhori (Gavalohori), Greece
Gavalokhóri, southeast of Khaniá, is an old town with a history dating back to the 11th Century. Visitors can learn more about the traditions and history at the town's local museum.
Gavalokhóri Historical and Folkloric Museum
The Gavalokhóri Historical and Folk Art Museum explores the local history and traditions with displays of furniture, textiles, art, weapons, and coins. The building itself, built in typical local style, is also worth seeing.
The ruined walls and acropolis of Polyrrhenia lie 49km west of Khaniá, near Selli or Paleokastro. At Kria Vrissi, near Kissamos, are the remains of a Roman aqueduct.Polyrrhenia, an important ancient western Cretan city, was founded with the help of the Achaeans, who succeeded the Minoans as overlords of the island.
At Ágria Gramvoussa, a remote islet in the northwest part of the district of Khania, are the remains of a Venetian fort.Getting to the islet is difficult, and can only be done by caique from Kissamos, weather permitting, departing early in the morning during the summer.
Phalassarna (Koutri) sits at the northwest tip of the peninsula. Of interest in the town are a number of ruins including tombs, fortifications, building foundations, and sculptures.
At the village of Sougia, on the south coast of the district of Khaniá, are some exquisite mosaics from an early Christian sixth century basilica preserved in the village's modern church.
The Therisso Gorge is a beautiful area, six km long running between Khaniá and the village of Therisso at the foothills of the White Mountains, 16km south of Khaniá.
Villa Rotonda, Greece
Southwest of Kissamos, 43km west of Khania, near the village of Kalathenes, is the Villa Rotonda, most probably the country estate of some Venetian feudal lord, dating to the 16th or 17th century.
St George Church, Alikianos, Greece
At the village of Alikianos, 13km southwest of Khania, is the Byzantine church of St George, with frescoes dating from 1430.
The Ghonia Monastery, dating to the 17th Century, is located west of Khania. From the monastery there are some beautiful views of the surrounding area.
Rotunda of the Archangel Michael, Kato Episkopi, Greece
The Rotunda of the Archangel Michael is known for its mosaic floors and Byzantine frescoes.
Khora Sphakion, Greece
74km south of Khaniá is an unusual village built in a rocky, barren area, difficult to reach whether by sea or overland. To get there one crosses the Askyphos mountains and the Nimbros gorge.
Map of Khania Attractions