Editor’s Picks: My Favorite Places in Chania/Rethymno

The National Herald Archive

The Venetian Harbor, Chania, Crete. Photo by Lapplaender via Wikimedia Commons

To Eat:

Palazzo-al Mare: incredible, unique food with views of the lighthouse in the old Venetian port.

Thalassino Ageri: a beautiful setting to enjoy some of the freshest seafood Chania has to offer.

Patrelantonis: a true mainstay – whether for lunch or dinner – at the Marathi beach in Chania.

Taverna Madares: located in the mountain town of Theriso where the 1905 Cretan revolution began, this traditional taverna is the perfect spot for all the meat lovers out there.

Koukouvagia: for the best desserts (including their famous chocolate ‘Zoumero’ cake) look no further than Koukouvagia. The restaurant also happens to have one of the best views of the city of Chania.

Thraka: quite possibly the best souvlakia/gyros you will find.

Iordanis Bougatsa: don’t let anyone try to convince you that bougatsa from Thessaloniki (with cream) is better than Cretan bougatsa (with mizithra and sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon) – it’s a simply preposterous (and false) statement.*

To Drink:

Το Μοναστήρι του Καρόλου (The Monastery of Karolos/Charles): this café-bar is located in the Old City of Chania. As the name suggests, the bar is a converted Catholic monastery which was built in the 16th century.

Sinagogi Bar: great drinks and an amazing atmosphere at this open-air bar located near the old Synagogue (hence its name) in the old port of Chania.

Pallas: a rooftop bar located on one of the original homes of Ali Pasha (1830) that was renovated and converted into a sophisticated lounge overlooking the sea.

To Visit - Religion:

Agia Triada Tzagaroli Monastery: one of the most magical places you will ever visit.

Gouverneto Monastery: a short drive from Agia Triada is the fortress-like Gouverneto Monastery, founded in 1537. (From there, a footpath leads past Arkoudospilia (Bear Cave), down 140 steps to Katholiko, an abandoned 6th century monastery, built into a cliff face).

Arkadi: technically in Rethymno, this monastery played an active role in the Cretan Resistance of Ottoman rule during the Cretan Revolt of 1866, when 943 Greeks, mostly women and children, sought refuge in the monastery. After three days of battle and under orders from the Abbot of the monastery, the Cretans blew up barrels of gunpowder, choosing to sacrifice themselves rather than surrender.

To Do:

Faraggi tis Samarias: on all the ‘must-do’ lists of Crete – because it is truly worth the hike

Chalkina: listen to live Cretan music – one of the most memorable experiences you will ever have. The Chalkina at the Old Port offers live performances almost every night during the summertime.

To Beach:

Rethymno: Plakias, Preveli

Chania: Agia Roumeli, Loutro/Marmara, Balos, Elafonissi, Sougia, Palaiochora, Fraggokastelo, Georgioupolis

*Disclosure: this is undoubtedly a biased statement.