The New Kydonia is run by an Anglo-Greek family who have the benefit of extensive local knowledge and are fluent in both Greek and English. They are delighted to help you plan your stay whether you wish to find your own way around or take advantage of the many excursions that are available. Personal car hire is also a great way to explore the fascinating countryside and excursion advice and local knoweldge is always on hand from the staff at New Kydonia.
Chania (Hania) is an old historic port with an attractive mixture of Venetian and Turkish style buildings which is believed to stand on the site of the Minoan city of Kydonia which was founded in prehistoric times and ruled by King Kydon, the first king of Kydonia. The name Kydonia remained throughout the period of Roman rule but disappeared under Byzantine rule as the once thriving township disintegrated through piracy, pillage, slavery, high taxation and earthquakes.The next rulers, the Arabs, renamed it as Rabdh-el-Djobh, the town of cheeses, so named because of its considerable cheese production and export. Chania (Hania, Chanea, Xania, Canea) was accepted as the official name when the Venetians appropriated the Kingdom of Crete in 1212.
Without doubt, Chania's most outstanding feature is the Venetian Harbour; surrounded by shops, cafes, restaurants and tavernas, it has to be one of Crete's most memorable images, even more enchanting at sunset and in the evenings when it is at its most bustling and lively. Venetian lighthouse and palaces, Ottoman mosques and minarets, stone built shipping arsenals and other such historic buildings are today housing museums, art galleries, local handicraft shops and quaint restaurants, etc.
Nearby Agia Lake is a haven for nature lovers: brilliant blue kingfishers dart between bamboo flanked banks: you may be lucky enough to glimpse a rare Ruppell's warbler; Marsh harriers are a common sight; there are turtles too and with Crete being one of the main flypast routes for migratory birds on their way to and from Africa (over 330 species of birds have been reported in Crete), the lake is a birdwatchers paradise.
Akrotiri is the peninsular to the east of Chania and boasts spectacular views of Chania, the Gulf of Chania and Souda Bay - the land locked harbour which is a naval base for Greece and its NATO allies as well as the destination for the overnight ferry from Piraeus (Athens). Three orthodox monasteries, caves once inhabited by Christian hermits and the British War Cemetery for British and Commonwealth soldiers killed in Crete during the second world war, make this an important destination on the itinerary of history lovers. The local airport is also here and the university/polythechnic and Cretan botanical wild flower institute which houses some of the rarest species of orchids endemic to Crete.
The Samaria Gorge (Faragi Samarias) offers hardy hikers the chance to experience this unique piece of Cretan countryside as it approaches the Libyan Sea. With the imposing rock wall of Mount Gingilos towering to your right, the 18km descent takes you past the chapel of Agios Nikolaos, the church of Ossia Maria and the Sideroportes (iron gates) before the gorge opens up as it approaches the sea. More casual walkers can take a boat from Chora Sfakion or Sougia to the bottom of the gorge at Agia Roumeli and explore just the lower part.
Imbros Gorge/Frangokastello/Chora Sfakion - after a spectacular drive through the mountains, the 11km Imbros Gorge offers walkers an alternative to the Samaria Gorge and has a gentler descent. Nearby Frangokastello has a fine sandy beach overlooked by a massive 14th century Venetian fortress. Chora Sfakion, 15km further west, has a pretty little harbour surrounded by seafood restaurants.
The beaches of Western Crete are some of the finest on the island: Stavros on the Akrotiri peninsular; Paleochora on the south coast; Falassarna on the west coast; Elafonissi on the south west tip with its fabulous coral-pink sand.
Limnoupolis Water Park covers a huge area and has something for everyone in the family, young and old. At the nearby Pista track you can experience a variety of different exciting rides including go karts, mini moto, ATV and moto cross.
The world's oldest olive tree
Estimated to be 3000 years old and just a sapling when the court of King Minos was in its heyday at Knossos, stands in the village of Kolymbari. The tree, with its massive, gnarled trunk, was used to provide olive wreathes (or kotinos) to the victors at the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens.
Tholos tomb, Maleme
A large Minoan tholos tomb of the Postpalatial Period (1380 to 1100BC) can be found near to the German war cemetery. A small sign points towards the tomb which has an unusually long path leading to the burial chamber which is square in plan, and the dromos leading to the entrance is 2m wide and 13.3m long. The tomb was excavated in 1966 and was found looted but excavations in 1966 revealed two seals.