West Chania Resorts
West Chania area and resorts
West of Chania is a wonderful place for a Crete holiday. Conveniently close to Chania international airport, the area is less developed and more peaceful than the coast around Heraklion (Iraklio). There is plenty to do and see though and long stretches of uncrowded beach from which to swim in the sparkling clear waters of the Mediterranean.
Chania itself is a charming place with its old town of narrow streets and markets, especially known for leather goods. The picturesque Venetian harbour is lined with tavernas where you can while away the heat of the day or watch the sun go down over a glass of raki.
Chania sits in the eastern corner of a broad glistening bay bounded by the Akrotiri Peninsula in the east and the resort of Kolimbara and the Rodopou Peninsula to the west. Once you get away from Chania and past the hive of activity that is Platanias, there is a series of peaceful little resorts with uncrowded beaches – perfect places for a relaxed holiday away from it all.
This small modern resort lies within reach of the buzz and nightlife of Platanias but is itself quieter and less crowded. There is still plenty to do here and no shortage of the facilities you need for a relaxing holiday. Several large hotels are complemented by smaller family-run establishments and self-catering apartments, and there is no shortage of eateries to suit all tastes.
The long uncrowded sand and pebble beach is well supplied with sunbeds and umbrellas where you can laze to your heart’s content and soak up the hot Cretan sun. For the more energetic amongst you, watersports are on offer or you could always join in a game of beach volleyball.
1km inland is the original village of Gerani which retains its traditional Cretan charm. Venture further inland and you will find more picturesque villages, citrus groves, little whitewashed churches and historic monasteries.
On a wonderfully uncrowded stretch of beach between Gerani and Tavronitis, Maleme has a couple of sizeable hotels and a few blocks of apartments along the waterfront. The sand and pebble beach is never too busy so there is always plenty of space to spread yourself out, soak up the rays and dip in the inviting waters of the Gulf of Chania.
A Maleme holiday centres on the beach and is ideal for families and couples seeking calm rather than the bright lights – though these can be found just a few kilometres away in the nearby resort of Platanias. Some stretches of Maleme beach have sunbeds and umbrellas, others are as nature intended.
Maleme’s main claim to fame is as the place where the Germans landed on Crete in 1941. A fierce battle followed and you can now visit the thought-provoking German cemetery in a peaceful spot in the hills above Maleme.
The traditional Cretan countryside in this area is well worth exploring, particularly in spring when it is not too hot for walking and the green hills, olive and citrus groves are sprinkled with wild flowers.
A quiet little seaside village backed by green hills and olive groves, Tavronitis is less even developed than its neighbours Maleme and Kolimbari. A Tavronitis holiday is for families and couples looking for peace and calm.
Tavronitis is small and tourists and locals mix happily in its butchers, bakers, bank and mini-markets. You will never have to fight for space on the beach here. Just hire your sunbed from one of the handful of laid back beach tavernas and settle down to soak up the sun before cooling off deliciously in the glimmering blue waters.
Ready for some shade? No problem, there is plenty at the back of the beach beneath the tamarisk trees.
As evening falls why not sip a drink watching the sun sink into the sea, before getting a good night’s sleep undisturbed by revellers. They are all in Platanias – easily accessible if you do fancy some party action.
At the base of the Rodopou Peninsula lies Kolimbari, a fishing village turned small resort, known for its fish tavernas and olive oil. This is the place for a peaceful sun and sea summer holiday or a spring getaway exploring the surrounding countryside.
The long sand and pebble beach stretches away to the east connecting with Tavronitis and then Meleme. Sun beds can be hired as can watersports equipment. The beach gets windy at times and there may be currents - especially after bad weather - so take advice if you are swimming with young children.
Outside the heat of summer days, the area around Kolimbari is a lovely place to explore. The seventeenth century monastery of Moni Gonias is within easy walking distance and has an unusual collection of 17th- and 18th-century Cretan icons.
The Rodipou peninsula stretching north from Kolimbari has a few attractive villages at its base and a secluded pebbly beach and café at Afrata. Beyond this point there is no habitation - nor facilities of any kind - and you will need to walk, motorcycle or use a 4x4 to get to the tip of the peninsula where you will find the remains of an important 2nd-century temple to the Cretan goddess Diktynna.