We adore Crete, but our first taste of the island was in Chania, so it will always hold a special place in our hearts.
The city is charming, showing off its Venetian and Ottoman heritage in its architecture and its Cretan culture in its delicious food and wine. The city is simply beautiful, but there are some spots we love more than others.
Here are our picks for the most Instagrammable places in Chania and the best Chania photography spots.
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The Most Instagrammable Places in Chania
From its lighthouse to its cliffside beaches to its hidden alleys, here are the most Instagrammable places in Crete.
Old Venetian Harbor
Strolling around the harbor, the beautiful architecture unfolds in front of you. Yes, there are many important points of interest on the harbor (listed below), but when you get here don’t only get caught up in the landmarks.
Enjoy the colorful architecture of the harbor front buildings, stroll along the path, and relax on one of the benches. The photos you get really change depending on where you’re standing, so explore all the angles you can!
Location: Agiou Markou 8, Chania 731 32, Greece
Who doesn’t love lighthouses? Just as Rethymnon’s lighthouse is one of its most Instagrammable places, it would be crazy to come to Chania and not get a pic of this beautiful and historic landmark.
Built originally in the sixteenth century by the Venetians, it was rebuilt by the Egyptians during the nineteenth century, hence it is referred to as both the Egyptian and Venetian lighthouse.
Location: Chania 731 32, Greece
Mosque of the Janissaries
This beautiful Ottoman Mosque is located right on the water and is one of the most famous landmarks in the city.
Today it’s been turned into a place for art exhibitions, but almost everyone who comes to Chania snaps a pic of it from across the water.
Location: Chania 731 32, Greece
The Well of the Turk
This popular Chania spot is famous both for its fantastic food and for its picturesque setting.
While many restaurants in Chania have beautiful table set ups, gorgeous flower archways, and colorful walls, there’s something special about how the Well of the Turk mixes traditional Chania decor with an eye for the photogenic.
Location: Sarpaki 1, Chania 731 00, Greece
While most come here for the absurdly beautiful views from the terrace, don’t miss taking a peek inside.
PALLAS is famous for its window that perfectly frames the lighthouse, but I think the lush decor deserves to be photographed in its own right.
Location: Akti Tompazi, Chania 731 00, Greece
The fifteenth-century fortress of Revellino del Porto protected Chania for hundreds of years, but tourists today come mainly to explore the history and beauty of the place.
From here, you can get great pics of the lighthouse framed by fortress windows, but I also love pictures of the aging fortress itself.
Location: Chania 731 31, Greece
This new Chania restaurant has quickly become known as one of Chania’s best brunch spots, but it’s also got great design inside and a lovely courtyard outside.
Wherever you sit, you can relax and enjoy your delicious meal (after getting that perfect dinner plate or wine glass shot, obvi).
Can’t you just see yourself relaxing in this courtyard with a friend and a fabulous bottle of Cretan wine?
Location: Chalidon 26, Chania 731 32, Greece
Chania Old Town
If you’re an avid photographer, you can do wonders exploring Chania’s Old Town if you give yourself enough time to really get lost.
There are so many different colors, textures, and secret spots to enjoy, from the main streets to the back alleys.
Just keep your eyes open and your camera in your hands, and you’ll come away with some stunning pics.
Location: Theotokopoulou 57, Chania 731 31, Greece
Seitan Limania Beach
Our favorite beach in Crete, Seitan Limania is the perfect day trip from Chania for beach lovers and photographers alike.
In fact, we love it so much that Allison wrote up a full guide to visiting Seitan Limania from Chania.
Location: Seitan limania, Greece
An iconic bar and cafe in Chania’s Ol Town, ABABA has an artistic vibe and is a great place to relax over a beer or raki.
Just bring your camera, because no one can resist snapping the gorgeous colors of this place.
Location: Isodion 12, Chania 731 00, Greece
Agia Triada Monastery
Agia Triada, or Holy Trinity Monastery, is about thirty minutes outside of the city by car.
One of the most important Orthodox sites on the island, make sure to be respectful as you take your pictures and dress appropriately for the site – this is not the place for your backless maxi dress!
Location: Moni Agias Triados ton Tzagkarolon 731 00, Greece
Inspired by tropical motifs and European design, Ginger Concepts boasts a lush-meets-linear design and pizza (or risotto) that make the trip worth it.
Of course, my knees go weak at the sight of a perfect charcuterie board, so this is basically my idea of heaven.
Location: Sarpaki 36, Chania 731 32, Greece
Delizia Gelato Italiano
If you love to get a dreamy dessert pic, come to Delizia.
Located on the harbor, it’s one of the city’s most famous dessert spots and boats an amazing location.
Location: Chalidon 13, Chania 731 32, Greece
Love photography? Check out this Chania photography tour!
If you want to take unusual pictures of Chania with a completely different vibe, check this photographic walk of the abandoned neighborhood of the tanneries at sunset. Discover the magic atmosphere of the old times, and end with a glass of local beer by the beach. Book your photo tour today!
The Most Instagrammable Hotels in Chania
While accommodations in Chania are affordable compared to many resort towns in Greece, prices can vary greatly between the high season and off-season.
We’ve broken down where to stay in Chania according to a few different budget ranges. Here is a general range of what we mean by each budget category:
- Budget: A room in a hostel, usually $15-25 USD per night for a dorm bed or under $50 for a double.
- Mid-range: Around $60-$90
- Luxury: Around $100 per night or more
Budget: For a hostel budget that still has a bit of old-world Chania charm, book a stay at the Chania Hostel. Boasting a great location just ten minutes from the center of the old part of the city, it has definitely got that rustic Cretan look that we love about the island.
Mid-Range: Royal Sun offers resort luxury and style at mid-range prices. With views above Chania all the way out to the Mediterranean, it’s impossible to forget that you’re on vacation. The hotel’s whitewashed terraces and pool both make for great vacation pic spots, but also, we kind of just want to lay by the pood here forever and forget social media even exists. I’m sure you get it.
Luxury: For a relaxing and exclusive experience in Chania, stay at the Monastery Estate Venetian Harbor, which has beautiful Ottoman architecture. The pool, located in the former Turkish bath, is one of the most charming hotel pools we’ve ever seen.
We love boutique hotels, and Chania has a few great ones to pick from, so we couldn’t settle on just one! Another great option is the Alcanea Boutique Hotel which has beautiful terraces and patios in one of the best locations in all of Crete – right on the Venetian harbor!
We also love how the rooms are both cozy and modern at the same time, while the building itself is the perfect representation of historic Chania architecture in the old town. It’s a perfect place to stay while exploring the city.
Pro Tip: the best Chania hotels and hostels sell out early, so don’t leave this step until the last minute!
Crete Travel Resources
Headed to Crete? We have some great travel resources to help you with your trip. First read our guide to planning a trip to Greece, which covers visas, budgets, vaccines, and much more. We also have a Balkan currency guide which explains how money works in Greece and local tipping customs.
If this will be one of your first trip to the Greek islands, check out our massive Greek Island hopping guide as well as our recommendations for where to go in Greece and when is the best time to visit.
We publish new content about the Balkans almost every day! For more information about traveling to Greece and the Balkans, bookmark our Greece and Balkan travel pages so you can find out what’s new before your trip.
Finally, Make Sure You Come to Crete with Travel Insurance
I’m sure you’re aware that travel insurance is essential for traveling in Greece, the Balkans, or anywhere in the world! Allison and I have both been paying customers of World Nomads for the last three years. We love the peace of mind it gives us in case of emergencies, accidents, illnesses, theft, or trip cancellation or disruption.
While Crete is perfectly safe to travel around, there’s always a risk inherent in everyday travel, so it’s better to play it safe. The saying goes “if you can’t afford travel insurance, you can’t afford to travel” is true!
Stephanie has been living in and traveling around the Balkans for the past three years. She’s written for National Geographic Online, appeared on CNN Arabic and in the New York Times, and ridden more Balkan buses than is good for a person.