Chania is a fascinating tapestry of splendid beaches, historical treasures, and landscapes encompassing vibrant sea-side resorts and picturesque villages, where locals share their culture, delightful cuisine and generous spirit of hospitality.
Chania with is charming villages is one of the most popular places for a summer escape in Crete. The most northern point of Crete, the large island is surrounded by stunning blue waters and no end of gorgeous beaches. However, what people sometimes forget is that Chania has just as much to offer travelers inland.
Chania is home to some of the most beautiful villages and sites in Crete, with cultural history, dramatic landscapes and a plethora of charming towns and villages scattered all over the island.
Some of Chania’s locations are well known, such as the stunning beaches of Agia Marina, Platanias, and the charming villages of Apokoronas. However, this area holds plenty of hidden gems, quiet communities that are perfect for experiencing the authentic Crete.
There is a unique culture in Chania that sets it apart from anywhere else in Crete. From the cuisine to how they spend their time with family and their hospitality. There are many ways to discover this way of life, but exploring the lesser-travelled but equally stunning locations on the island is one of the best!
Here at ARENCORES, we’ve listed just some of our favourite small towns and villages in Chania that provide the perfect day trip full of things to see and do, to help you have the holiday of a lifetime or identify a property that could be your home in Crete.
Mournies is a small village located approximately 4 km south of Chania, near to a vast area of lush green and plane tree forests forming a spectacular scenery. The name of the settlement Mournies, means berries and originates from the mulberry trees.
In the Cretan local dialect, the berries are called mourna and because of the large number of this kind of trees scattered around the area, the residences gave this name to their village.
Aside from the spectacular natural beauty which surrounds the village, Mournies itself is notable for striking buildings, charming souks and remarkable villas and mansions built by the noble families in 17th century.
An indicative and magnificent architecture paradigm of this period is the three-storey villa Koukounara located on the south-east side of the village. Later emperors, kings, princes and queens made use of the villa.
The villa in Mournies is lined with beautiful blooms, tall trees and elegant sculptures and fountains and nowadays is partially used by the Greek Navy.
Mournies is also the birthplace of the Greek politician Eleftherios Venizelos, who organized and led the revolution of Crete and became prime minister of the newly built Greek State in 1913.
Venizelos was an eminent Greek leader of the Greek national liberation movement and a charismatic statesman of the early 20th century remembered for his promotion of liberal-democratic policies. In Mournies there is a lovely building where he spent his holidays as a child.
Nowadays, his family home has been turned into a museum displaying a nice collection of his personal belongings and an interesting exhibition of historical photographs. The museum differs from the “Venizelos Residence”, which is located in Chalepa of Chania and was the town house of the family.
In the village of Mournies, you will find several picturesque monasteries and lovely churches. Do not miss to visit The Holy Patriarchal and Stavropegic Monastery of Chrysopigi which lies a short distance from Mournies. The monastery was founded during the last phase of the Venetian rule in Crete, by the end of the 16th century.
On Easter Day of 1821, on the outbreak of the Greek Revolution, the Turks entered the monastery and killed all the monks and since then the monastery was destroyed and abandoned. In the years following 1848, however, the Monastery was renovated and rejuvenated with the advent of new monks.
Apart from the central church and the monks’ cells, the monastery today hosts a small museum with various pictures and icons, blessing crosses, books, and woodwork.
In Mournies, there are many shops, clothing stores, cafes, restaurants and various accommodation choices. The strategic position of the village, on a hill between mountains and the sea overlooking the Souda Bay, offers the ability to the visitor to get at both, as well as the West and the East site of the island of Crete. No matter your age or your interests, at Mournies you will have the chance to get unique experiences during the whole year.
Furthermore, because of its strategic position, visitors can easily visit nearby beaches, caves, gorges, other traditional villages and archaeological sites.
With its world famous cuisine, fabulous history that dates back to the Minoan times, and unbeatable charm shared between the dramatic mountain peaks of the White Mountains, magnificent gorges, and miles of stunning coastline, Chania could easily be considered one of the most attractive, yet of exceptionally beauty regions in the world.
A stroll in the Old City with its pretty Venetian quarter and criss-crossed by narrow lanes is a like book on the history of architecture. Romans, Saracen Arabs, Byzantines, Venetians, Ottomans and Egyptians ruled and influenced the area from the 13th until the 19th century.
One of the best ways to soak up the essence of this beautiful corner in the Mediterranean Sea is to explore the charming, historic villages scattered along its coast or inside its enchanting, unspoilt countryside. Trek through Europe’s longest gorge, cycle among orchards on Apokoronas peninsula or enjoy swimming to exceptional Blue Flag beaches.
Chania is certainly the most picturesque seaside town in Crete. With its exceptionally well preserved historic and architectural features, making the city unique and attractive for all visitors all year around.
However, step into the “inner Crete” – is a fascinating way to discover Crete’s authenticity, cultural traditions and the natural beauty of this magnificent location.
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