Spending the festive season on the island of Crete is not an obvious choice – but if you decide to bypass the cliches, you are in for a delightful surprise!
What springs to mind when thinking about Crete? Most would say exotic pink sand beaches, charming coastal villages, and sun-kissed summer weather. Yet, Crete is an exceptional option for a winter escape, and celebrating Christmas on the island can be a memorable, if somewhat off-the-beaten-path experience!
Christmas holidays in Chania – traditions new and old
The most picturesque town in Crete becomes even more enchanting during the festive season. Everywhere you look, there are twinkling lights and Christmas decorations on the streets, the houses and the shop windows. The Old Venetian Port transforms into something out of a fairytale with its colourful buildings adorned with hundreds of lights. Directly opposite the Egyptian Lighthouse next to the Mosque of the Janissaries, the city hall erects a grand Christmas tree. The Western-inspired tradition of the Christmas tree is thriving here – and Agia Marina boasts one of the finest examples. But we also pay homage to our great maritime heritage and the seafarers in every family by decorating sailing boats, adhering to the longstanding Greek Christmas custom.
Christmas holidays in Chania – joy is in the air
Similarly, the sweet, enticing aromas of diples, kourabiedes, and melomakarona waft through every corner of the city. Homemakers and bakeries are diligently preparing the traditional seasonal treats, filling the air with the festive scents of the holiday season.
A sense of elation and joy is omnipresent, as in the days leading up to Christmas, locals will gather at the various port bars and restaurants – whether for big festive dinners or just a casual coffee, these establishments provide a welcoming space for exchanging Christmas and New Year’s wishes with family and friends. It’s a time when the community comes together to share warmth, good cheer, and the excitement of the holiday season.
Christmas holidays in Chania – time to party
Throughout the town and municipality of Chania several festive activities unfold, including theatrical performances, concerts, workshops, shows, markets, and bazaars. A beloved staple is the Christmas train – with a live Santa, animated singing, and presents for children; it never fails to delight locals and visitors alike.
But the town’s perhaps most iconic event is the annual Chania Santa Run. This vibrant affair sees numerous people dressed as Santa Claus, traversing the streets of the old town, receiving treats from stores, and dancing to tunes curated by DJs. The charity event promises to culminate in a grand party, drawing participants and spectators up for a good time.
Christmas holidays in Chania – experience the transcendental
Chania at Christmas offers abundant opportunities for joyous celebrations, whether at home with friends and family or in the festively adorned bars and venues of the old town. Amidst the revelry, a sense of spirituality and devotion also pervades the air. Those attending Christmas Eve Mass at the cave of St. John the Hermit are in for a mystical experience. The Divine liturgy blends with a traditional portrayal of the nativity, complete with real animals brought specially by local farmers. Bonfires illuminate the scene, bells ring joyfully, and a big star shines from the cave’s summit. This magical spectacle, drawing thousands each year, exemplifies the profound spirit of Christmas in Chania.
Season’s greetings from the Oscar Suites & Village team!
As we prepare to enjoy the festive charm of Chania this Christmas, we would like to take a moment to express our warmest wishes for a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to all our valued guests and friends. In our language, we say, “Kala Hristougena kai Haroumeni Protohronia!” Here’s to all of you that made 2023 so special! Welcoming you to the Oscar Suites & Village Hotel in Platanias Chania has been our pleasure, and we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible next year. Expect nothing less than another fantastic season with abundant indulgence and delightful surprises! Meanwhile, stay connected to our blog for wanderlust inspiration, with tips, insights, and stories showcasing the authentic side of Crete.