Cruise Port Atlas | Chania Souda (Crete), Greece Day Trips | Attractions

Chania Souda (Crete), Greece Day Trips | Attractions

With limited time in port, planning is the best way to make the most of your time. Should you strike out on your own? Should you hire a local guide? Or should you book a shore excursion offered by the cruise line or an international tour company? Below we have listed the attractions and activities that many other cruisers have enjoyed. This information should help you plan.

The advantage to cruise line tours is that they are timed for your visit and give you flexibility to change your mind after your trip begins. The advantage of using a large international firm is that tours are often less expensive than cruise sponsored tours. The advantage to using a local tour company or guide is that prices can be significantly lower or you may be able to get a customized trip just to see the attractions that interest you most.

Cruise lines that visit Chania-Souda: Voyages of Discovery, Windstar, Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal, Seabourn, Silversea, Celebrity, Royal Caribbean

Key Attractions: Venetian Fortress, Chania Archaeological Museum, Nearby beaches, Agia Triada Monastery, Kournas Lake, Samaria Gorge, Askeordalos Botanical Garden, Sfentoni Cave Rethymnon, Arkadi Monastery Palace at Knossos

Chania Attractions

Port to Chania & Venetian Port - 7 KM, 11 minutes
Port to Agios Triada Monastery - 15 KM, 25 minutes

The small port city of Chania has roots in the Minoan era, but only artifacts remain of that period. The old town you will see is from the Venetian era after crusading Christians retook the island from the Muslims. The scenic waterfront areas feature tavernas and shops in colorful Venetian buildings, especially near the Venetian port. Leading off the waterfront are rustic alleyways that funnel into the central part of the old city with lovely squares. In a former Franciscan Monastery you will find the impressive Archaeological Museum with a collection of Minoan, Greek and Roman artifacts in a lovely setting. (The museum is moving to a modern facility soon.) The most striking attraction in the immediate vicinity of Souda is the Agia Triada Monastery on the Akrotiri peninsula. The Monastery is a 17th century Venetian construction built with a Byzantine form but with western exterior decorations.

        

   

Photo of Venetian Port by tango7174

Chania Beaches

Port to Agiai Apostoli - 11 KM, 15 minutes
Port to Agia Marina and Platanias - 17 KM, 21 minutes

The northwestern coast of Crete is dotted with a large variety of lovely beaches and several are within a short distance of Chania. The closest is Agioi Apostoli, protected from winds and with shallow waters, making it a good choice for families with small children. A little farther away are Agia Marina and Platanias beaches with lots of bars and tavernas, a choice of watersports, and high energy crowds. Platanias is the largest beach, but in windy weather may not be a good choice.

     

   

Photo of Agia Marina by Anna Frodersiak

Rethymnon and Arkadi Monastery

Port to Rethymnon - 54 KM, 60 minutes
Port to Arkadi Monastery - 76 KM, 1 hour 20 minutes

Rethymnon is another Venetian port on the northern coast of Crete. Quieter than Chania, it is a great place to connect with the local culture and relax in the old Cretan atmosphere enjoying local food and drink. To the southeast of town is one of Crete's iconic locations. During the 1866 revolt against Ottoman rule, a group of Cretans including many women and children took refuge at the 16th century monastery. After 3 days of battle against the Ottomans, the locals chose to blow themselves up with gunpowder rather than surrender. This historic event has become emblematic of Cretan courage and independence and inspired continued resistance. Visiting the Monastery, you will not only see the impressive Renaissance buildings but also momentos of the events of 1866.

           

   

Photo of Arkadi Monastery Church by Gerard Janot

Natural Wonders of Western Crete

Port to Kournas Lake - 38 KM, 50 minutes
Port to Samaria Gorge - 55 KM, 65 minutes
Port to Sfentoni Cave (Zoniana) - 99 KM, 1 hour 45 minutes
Port to Askordalos Botanical Garden - 24 KM, 30 minutes

The rugged terrain of Crete make the island a great place to explore unique geography and ecosystems. The Chania Botanical Park in Askordalos features 150 varieties of fruit trees, medicinal herbs, and ornamentals and is a favorite spot for many water birds of the area. Perhaps the most impressive natural wonder of the area is the Samaria Gorge, which is 13 KM long and narrows to only 4 meters width and 1100 meters depth at one point. This is one of very few places where you can see the Cretan goat, a protected endemic species. For a more relaxing commune with nature go to Lake Kournas where during the summer the waters recede creating lakeside beaches and a path around the scenic lake. The island has many caves. The largest, Sfentoni Cave, is near Zoniana and features impressive stalactites.

           

   

Photo of Samaria Gorge

Palace at Knossos

Port to Palace - 136 KM, 2 hours 25 minutes

The most impressive monument of the Minoan civilization, the Palace at Knossos was the site of an important cultural center from the 19th to 16th centuries BCE. This is one of the most popular ruin sites in Europe and has undergone significant restoration for over the last century. What is most striking about the Palace is the uniqueness of the structure and the art. Though we call the building a palace, it is not clear that it was a royal residence. It contains a massive and complex building with over 1000 connected rooms. The art of Knossos, primarily frescoes in striking colors, portrays a ceremonial culture with a love of leisure and beauty. There is clear Egyptian influence, but the style is uniquely Minoan. The archaeological record of Crete indicates that the Minoans were not involved in significant wars during their golden era. Sometime around 1400 BCE the culture collapsed, most likely as a result of massive earthquakes and the aftermath of the eruption of the Thiran (Santorini) volcano. What is left is the first significant advanced civilization in the Mediterranean.

        

   

Photo of Palace at Knossos by Lapplaender

Interests Key:

Art Architecture Beach Children Wild Animals Local Cuisine Flora Gardens-Parks Geology

Diving UNESCO Views Wine Dance Music Shopping History Hiking

Walking & Wheelchair Accessibility:

No Walking Easy Walking Normal Walking Difficult Walking Accessible Limited Not Accessible