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Crete is among Europe's most popular destinations, and Chania is arguably its most favoured town. From serene beaches to captivating landscape and find dining and restaurants, Chania has it all. Trips around the rest of the island to unique Mediterranean villages, vast parks and historical sites are also possible at any time of year with car hire.
Who to Book With
The majority of car rental companies are found in the town centre or at the airport, which is located to the east of Chania. In town, options include Budget, Europrent, Avis and Caravel. Caravel also has a presence at the airport and competes for custom with Anna Cars and Rent-a-Car Chania. These companies, especially the internationally-recognised ones, accept online bookings, which are often cheaper than making reservations in person.
Best time to go
Chania is best visited during the summer from June to late August. However, the popularity of Crete as a whole, especially tourists that hail from the UK and Germany, means that accommodation and hire vehicles can be hard to come by during this time if not booked in advance. Some opt to head to the area in winter instead when the town is less busy but still enjoys a pleasant climate.
Need to Know Essentials
When collecting a rental car, the following must be shown:
- An International Driving Permit or British driving license
- A secondary form of ID
- A valid booking credit card
- A print out of rental confirmation
Dealing with traffic and parking in the centre of Chania can be a stressful experience, which is why many opt to navigate the immediate area on foot and leave their vehicles on the premises of their hotel or resort. Any other trips definitely require a hire vehicle, however. Drivers should exercise caution on rural roads, as many are particularly winding and laden with potholes.
Due to it being such an old town, Chania has a limited public transport network and is really best navigated on foot or with car rental. There are no trains around the centre, but buses and taxis can be relied upon for journeys around town and to other destination nearby.
There is no rail transport around Chania itself, and the network is incredibly limited in and out of the town as well. Many parties rely on the Little Fun Train, which is mainly aimed at tourists and travels between Platanias, Chania and Crete.
As a tourist haven, Chania is packed with entrepreneurs that offer taxi transportation in their own vehicles with fares agreed upon before starting a trip. Tourists must be prepared to haggle drivers down from the sometimes astronomical starting prices. Chania Airport Transfers offer transport around the city centre on occasion.
Chania City Bus, connecting various points of interest around Chania, is reliable and fairly cheap. KTEL is used for travel between Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion, but also runs to some villages in southwestern Crete.
Sightseeing in Chania mainly revolves around the stunning architecture that remains here from the rule of the Venetians. The Fortress of Firkas, which has been around since the 16th century, is perhaps the main highlight, while the old town is popular for its Venetian Harbour and the more modern Naval Museum. Splatzia is a neighbourhood famous for its churches, while the central area has municipal gardens alongside a central market. Once Chania is fully explored, the rest of the region offers plenty of daytip opportunities.
Katafigio - A pleasant drive up the northeast coast of Chania's own corner of Crete leads tourists to Katafigio and its vast park and forest, where various outdoor activities can be pursued. Along the way, it is possible to stop off at quaint villages, such as Kalathas, Chorafakia and Kounoupidiana.
Prostateftiko - Heading south out of Chania town centre and past Chorafiana leads tourists to Prostateftiko. This is Crete's largest state park, offering hiking along some of its mountainous terrain that results in the best views of the island.
Heraklion - This can be reached by heading east along the 90 road and past some stunning coastline. Once arrived, tourists can enjoy landmarks such as the Venetian Walls and Venetian Palace, in addition to the Archaeological Museum.