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Chania in blue and white: to the magical destination in Crete - from now on a direct flight - voila! tourism


Highlights: Israelis have become accustomed to visiting eastern Crete, but on the western side is Chania, a magical ancient city that fills the heart. In recent years, a number of foreign airlines have flown to Chania in the summer, and this year Israir became the leader of the trend, inaugurating its inaugural flight on the first Friday of June. Isla Brown Chania is the new resort of the Brown chain, which now controls dozens of hotels in Cyprus, Croatia, Greece and Israel.

Israelis have become accustomed to visiting eastern Crete, but on the western side is Chania, a magical ancient city that fills the heart. David Rosenthal joined Israir's inaugural flight. Watch Walla! tourism

Chania (Photo: David Rosenthal | Editor: Ziv Steiner)

There are places where their overuse does them an injustice and erodes their tourist value. Crete, for example, has long been one of the generic holiday destinations. Her name is pasted on the homepage of every Israeli travel agency. It's understandable – it's close, big enough to accommodate a good amount of tourists and mostly cheap – a convenient getaway to check off your family vacation. The problem: the destination "Heraklion" (or as my father calls it - Herculion), already sounds too crowded, and crowds are not fun.

Ancient Chania, located about 150 kilometers west of Heraklion, is brimming with historical heritage and attracts tourists from all over the world. Israelis, who are visiting Greece in general and East Crete in particular, have begun to discover demand on this side of the island as well. It's not that Chania was discovered yesterday, in the past they would just take a car and drive three hours from end to end, but it's not a simple trip and the need for a direct flight has become necessary. In recent years, a number of foreign airlines have flown to Chania in the summer, and this year Israir became the leader of the trend, inaugurating its inaugural flight on the first Friday of June. Israir flights depart on Friday morning and Monday afternoon – perfect for a long weekend.

Stavros Beach, "Zorba Beach". Fort on all the strings (Photo: David Rosenthal)

This is not a destination for bachelor parties and debauchery

On that day, June 2, a sick rabbi prevailed in Israel, power outages evoked a sense of apocalypse. It was a great time to escape. We boarded the plane and less than two hours later landed in Chania, but not before we had time to see the traveling public - a quiet and mature crowd, which sends the first hint that this is not a destination for bachelor parties and debauchery. It is unbelievable that after such a short time of flying we encountered 180 degrees of reverse weather, or to be precise, 17 degrees and pouring rain, like we are in mid-December.

We entered the terminal, as far as you can call it, this warehouse that was injected with steroids and turned into a reception hall for passengers, a place that evokes longing for Eilat's old airport. In order to wait for your suitcase, you first need to guess which conveyor belt it is on, because screens that tell you where to wait simply do not exist. If it wasn't funny it would... Actually, leave, it's totally funny.

The pouring rain stopped and soon the temperature rose by almost ten degrees. As a rule, weather fluctuations are quite common here, although in the height of summer it will matter less - it will range from "very hot" to "very, very hot". We settled in Isla Brown Chania, the new resort of the Brown chain. It is hard to believe that this Israeli chain, which began less than 15 years ago as a small boutique hotel in Tel Aviv, now controls dozens of hotels in Cyprus, Croatia, Greece and Israel.

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Chania at sunset (Photo: David Rosenthal)

Wine tasting at Vinolio Monastery (Photo: David Rosenthal)

After opening the first hotel under the Isla super-brand in Corinthia in the Peloponnese last year, Brown inaugurated the second hotel in this category in Chania. Many Israeli prides turned out to be an empty shell in the past, but happily the first impression is that there is a promise that is meant to be fulfilled - the hotel is meticulous and sets a high standard. When the pilot period ends, it will be even better, but when the pilot period ends, the price will also rise dramatically. The one who understands among you will certainly understand.

The hotel is located in Stavros, a village 15.2 miles from Chania. If you don't have a car, in order to get to the city you can take a shuttle (30 euros) that comes very infrequently or order a taxi (40-<> euros each way, depending on your bargaining power). Another option and my favorite one is to rent a car. As a rule, no matter where in Greece you go, this is a country where you have to feel every step of the way, let alone in this part of Chania. Even if renting a car is not a cheap story, to make the most of the area you are in it is best to be mobile. And yes, you also have the option to give up everything around, live in the center and stay overnight in Chania itself, with all the advantages and disadvantages that this entails.

Got stuck in the nineties, but worth the price. Aqua Creta Limnoupolis Water Park (Photo: David Rosenthal)

The factions of Argopoli (Photo: David Rosenthal)

Kornas Lake (Photo: David Rosenthal)

Enjoy and don't dig about historical monuments

We arrived in the city. Let's talk a little about Chania's history, its ancient synagogue... Stop, Stop. If you want to read about boring things, go to Wikipedia, we are here to have fun and not dig about historical monuments. In general, the central street in Chania resembles a combination between Netanya's promenade and Allenby in Tel Aviv. Not brilliant, but a small turn to the alleys will send you to the Old City, and that's where the real bust comes - narrow, fun and cool streets, full of shops and in a good mood.

As in any tourist center, prices here are not cheap. Maybe not as expensive as in Israel, but real bargains you'll be hard pressed to get here. It's the attitude of local sellers that makes the difference. I don't remember when I came across a saying like, "If you're not at peace with it, don't buy. It's better to buy only something you really want," from people whose job is to bring money into the business. Sometimes I wondered if it wasn't a ruse, because with all this niceness I now have to come out with something. And I did come out with something. Reverse psychology won big.

Joy in the air. The Old City (Photo: David Rosenthal)

Breathtaking. Kalathes Beach (Photo: David Rosenthal)

It's hard to decide when Chania is more beautiful – during the daytime, under the sunlight sunbathing its stunning walls, or at night, when taverns and bars open and joy becomes greater. We've all seen swarms of people in Tel Aviv port, Athens, Krakow and Sofia, but something about Chania feels freer and more correct. Or maybe I'm just a romantic.

And now, to the question: what can you get in the Chania area?

Beaches and Water Activities

The turquoise beaches of Greece have made a name for them and Chania is no different from them. Outside the city there are two that stand out and aroused even a sea-hater like me the desire to take a dip. One isKalathas, a mesmerizing beach full of lagoons. The second isStavros Beach, which was not for nothing given the name "Zorba Beach" - it is the beach from Anthony Quinn's famous dance in Zorba the Greek (classic or not, I once tried to see this boredom, I did not survive). This beach throws into other days, and I personally mentioned the famous picture from the Coen brothers' Barton Pink. I want to say - no matter what happens, as soon as it is revealed before your eyes it will ignite something in you. See and cry, Aye shit yo not.

Intriguing narrow streets. Chania (Photo: David Rosenthal)

Kournas Lake- This famous and wonderful lake is about an hour's drive from Chania, on the border of Rethymno, but it is definitely worth going to (I told you you need a car). The water blends perfectly into the mountain landscape, and this place feels like the bossy fireplace of Hallstatt, the magical Austrian town that adorns your screensaver - maybe a little less spectacular, but much warmer and gives a perfect experience.

Argiopoli- This small village, near Kornas, has nice streams from which you can drink cool and refreshing water straight from nature. TheAthyvolestaverna is considered one of the best in the Chania area and not for nothing - the food is excellent, the seating experience is pleasant and they showcase the slow roasting of the freshly slaughtered pieces of lamb. A less pleasing sight, but that's how it is in the Balkans - for them it's magic. It is definitely recommended, as long as you are not vegetarian.

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In association with the Tourism Board of Greece

High potential for success. Isla Brown Hotel near Chania (Photo: David Rosenthal)

Aqua Creta Limnoupolis Water Park – No water park has yet been invented that doesn't get stuck in the nineties, and Limnopolis' is not really different from the Mimidion or the Water of Spark, with one difference - the price. It costs 23 euros per head, with children up to 5 years old entering for free. In Israel, it is NIS 130-150 and a fee for a child over the age of two. Definitely a nice and economically affordable place, which provides great value for money.

Sailing in Chania – You can board a boat with a transparent floor in the Old City. The price - 15 euros per hour or 25 euros for three and a half hours. Huge affordable.


The Old City is full of avenues of shops, the most prominent of which is the "Shoe Avenue" - the scent of leather wafts from it and in every merchandise store it is hand made along with the seller's oath that "this is my family's store, for several generations." Believe? Don't believe it? Who cares, it looks good and smells high quality. Outside the Old Town, within a radius of a few hundred metres, you will find more modern shops such as Sephora, Benetton, H&M and Zara, along with selected brand stores like Boss or Gant. Prices accordingly.

If you crave olive oil, the shops leading to Lake Cornas have an excellent variety at attractive prices, the best I've seen in the area. What about wine? Vinolio Monastery, a 10-minute drive from Stavros, has a fine shop of Greek wines, including the possibility of a tasting workshop. Recommended for lovers of medieval places, reminiscent of the ancient villages of Tuscany. The average price of wine, by the way, is 13-15 euros per bottle.

And of course - food, and lots (Photo: David Rosenthal)

I haven't had time to visit farmers' markets, but farmers' markets tend to be life itself. The city has several markets, one of which is open only on Monday, the others four days a week. Track, catch up and soak up green.

Get out, get out. There's a lot of joy and fun and greenery here.

The writer was a guest of Israir and the Brown Hotels chain

  • tourism
  • World Travel
  • Europe
  • Greece


  • crete
  • Greece

Source: walla

All life articles on 2023-06-07

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