SUBURBS & VILLAGES
The villages in the municipality of Chania are a piece of Crete totally different from the ones you will discover in the city and the beach resorts of the area. It is here, in the smaller or bigger villages, that the authentic heart of Crete still beats to a rhythm that hasn’t changed much through the centuries, and where traditional values are still respected by most people. The architecture of the village houses is also different, more spacious and characterized by the wide use of stone as the main building material. In general, the villages around Chania city belong to two different types: the ones who are on hills and mountains, and the ones who are close to Chania city.
The mountain villages are located on the foothills of the White Mountains of Crete (called “Lefka Ori” in Greek), the imposing mountain range that dominates the landscape to the south of Chania city. These villages represent the centuries-old traditional culture of the Cretan mountainous countryside that is preserved to this day. The mountain villages around Chania city include Theriso, a historic village which sits on top of the impressive Theriso Gorge, Aptera, which was inhabited since the Minoan era, Malaxa, a village with a splendid view to Souda Bay, and Keramia or Keramies, a village that largely retains its traditional character. All of these villages are in a relatively short distance from Chania city, making the winding road, in some parts of the route, less of a problem.
The villages close to Chania city have a totally different atmosphere. In the last decades they have essentially become suburbs of the city, with many of their residents daily commuting to Chania city for work. These villages perfectly combine the life on the outskirts of a magnificent city, with a slower pace of life that only a Cretan village can offer. Among these villages are Kounoupidiana, a popular village to the south of the Akrotiri peninsula with a healthy climate, Mournies, a distinctive village with centuries-old mansions, and Souda, the coastal village that sits next to the port of Souda, the biggest port in West Crete.
During your visit to Chania city, after exploring the magnificent Chania Old Town and Chania Venetian Harbor, it is a really good idea to explore the countryside and the picturesque villages of the municipality of Chania, as well. Getting there, you will discover the other side of Crete where time seems to stand still, and where you can experience the wonderful, rugged nature of the mountainous parts of the region. A visit to the villages in the municipality of Chania is essential, if you want to better understand the real character of the land and its people.