Chania – a picturesque, but also very touristy city, the second largest in Crete, located on the northern coast of the island. A place you cannot miss when planning a sail to Crete. Or maybe you can? You will find the answer in this post!

History of Chania, Crete

Chania was founded by the Venetians, but already 3400 BC there was a Minoan settlement here called Kydonia. Due to its location, Crete has been a meeting point of various cultures and religions for millennia. In addition to the wonderfully preserved and relatively young Venetian architecture, you will find here mosques from the Ottoman times, a Synagogue, ancient excavations, and modern buildings. Chania is also a great starting point for trips around the island, e.g. to the famous Samaria Gorge, which we will also write about on our blog. However, in this article we will focus on sailing information to make your stay in Chania as nice, easy and pleasant as possible.

Entrance to the harbor

Reaching Chania, you can see colorful Venetian architecture, minarets and the high White Mountains in the background from afar. White, because in winter and in late spring they are covered with snow! The port is protected by a long breakwater to the north, at the end of which is a 16th-century Egyptian lighthouse.



When entering the port, pay attention to the rocks located north-west of the entrance. They are well marked on maps and in popular navigation apps.

With strong north and north-west winds, entering the port is not safe. Waves heap up at the shallows at the entrance reaching up to 4 m.

In these conditions, a good place to wait out the unfavorable weather is the anchorage near the village of Marathi, 16.5 NM from Chania, on the southern side of the Akrotiri peninsula. However, when planning a stopover there, you should check the activity of military zones, but more on that later.

Chania harbor

Chania harbor mooring

If the weather cooperates and you manage to enter the port, the visitors’ berths are located in the inner harbor, just to the right of the entrance to inner basin. The piers further inside are private or reserved for local tour companies.

You need to position yourself stern-to with the anchor at the bow – med mooring. In some places there are mooring lines available that can be attached later. However, due to their questionable quality, harbor master recommends using an anchor first. The anchor holding depends on the exact spot. There are a lot of stones, concrete blocks and old chains at the bottom – there is a high probability of the anchor getting tangled when leaving. Diver cost up to 250€ (2024).



Chania harbor weather conditions

The harbor provides good shelter in most wind directions. However, with strong north, north-west and west winds, the situation becomes unpleasant. The wave enters the port, pushes the yachts against the quay and sprays over the breakwater. If you expect such forecasts, you should make sure that the anchor is well dug in, tie up additional mooring and move further away from the concrete quay.

However, the best advice is to leave in advance, because we really do not recommend this place in such conditions. In case of westerly winds, the marina in Kolymvari is a good solution. It is an unfinished marina, currently used mainly by fishermen, with no infrastructure. However, it provides good shelter in westerly winds. From Kolymvari you can get to Chania by bus, which takes up to 30 minutes, so visiting the city can also be organized this way.

If you expect winds from the north, we recommend the well-sheltered marina in Rethymnon, which is located 32 NM to the east.

Busy Chania port

The stopover in Chania has one more disadvantage – the quay is located at a very busy and touristic promenade. It’s noisy, crowded and not very private. Tourists walk right next to the yacht or sit on benches that are within the distance of serving a beer from the cockpit. You will not find peace and quiet here.

Infrastructure in Chania harbor

Chania provides extensive port infrastructure and all the amenities of a large city. At the end of this paragraph, you can find a map with all the amenities marked.

After mooring, you should go with your documents to the harbor office, which is located in the historic Kucuk Hasan Mosque on the waterfront. We paid 9€ per night for a 12-meter boat, plus 3€ for 1,000 liters of water. The Port Police may also appear on the quay and invite you to their office to check your documents.



The bathrooms, which are considered among sailors to be among the best in Greece, are located here.

Fuel – every morning, from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 a.m., two trucks sell fuel on the quay. You can also make an appointment with them in advance, but always between 7:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m., because the promenade is closed to car traffic later. They can deliver diesel and petrol to your dinghy if requested.

Contacts to two companies:



Gas – gas cylinders can be exchanged at 1866 Square. Location on the map below.

The marine store Malinakis is well equipped. Contact details are below, location on the map.



Laundry can be done at the Citywash self-service laundry. We paid 3€ for 10 kg, 2€ for 20 minutes of drying. The place is new, clean, we recommend it. No WiFi there.



You can also order laundry with collection and delivery from Oscar Wash&Dry clean.

Both contacts below, location pins on the map.



We have prepared a map with all the amenities mentioned in this post with their locations:


Military zones at the Sea of Crete

There are many military zones in the Cretan Sea where, especially nowadays life firing practices are often held.

You can check the activity of these zones on this website.

Unfortunately, Port Police do not have much information about their current activity and we had the feeling that we should not fully rely on them. Often, the information from Port Police has nothing to do with the information on the website.

In summary, if you plan to sail in this area, always check the navigation warnings on relevant website, do not sail in active zones and listen to channel 12 “NAMFI Control”. If any military exercises take place nearby, we learned that the information will be transmitted on this channel.

Grocery shopping in Chania

There are many shops and supermarkets in the city. Lidl is outside the city.

Every Thursday, the Farmers Market on Thursday takes place in Chania. You need to read the reviews carefully, because it seems that the market likes to change its location and it is not always consistent with the pin on Google. Currently it looks like this:

  • From 01/04/2024 to 30/09/2024: On Monis Gonias street, from its intersection with Kissamou street to the intersection with Selinou street.
  • From October 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025: On Patriarchou Gerasimos Street, from its intersection with Piraeus Street to the intersection with Agios Konstantinou Street. And on the section of Agios Konstantinou Street, from its intersection with Patriarchou Gerasimos to the intersection with Patriarchou Ioannikeiou Street.

Restaurants in Chania

Restaurants – as in a tourist city, there are many restaurants, so there is plenty to choose from. However if you prefer local and cheaper places away from the main promenade, as we do, we recommend To Maridaki restaurant. Locals eat here, it’s always full of people, and the check won’t give you a heart attack.

summary

To sum up, the port of Chania is definitely worth a visit. However, you should plan it so as not to enter and stay here during strong north and north-west winds, because a pleasant stay in a charming city may result in a fight against the elements.

The city is charming, full of attractions and is an excellent base for exploring the island. However, we do not recommend leaving the yacht unattended for long periods of time. For this purpose, the marina in Rethymnon will be more suitable! This city is also an amazing base for exploring the island and visiting both Chania and Heraklion, by car or by bus.

We hope that the above information will make your stay in Chania easier. If you have any experiences or tips from here, please share them in the comments section so that everyone can benefit. We also encourage you to read other sailing guides on our website in “Sailing” section.


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