Top Chania experiences in Spring (part 2)

Photo from www.botanical-park.com
Photo from www.botanical-park.com

Wandering when it’s the perfect time to experience Crete’s allure? Greece’s largest island captivates year-round, but in spring, it truly shines with nature’s blossoming beauty, setting the stage for an unforgettable adventure. The added bonus is that the icons are still mercifully hordes-free – meaning you don’t have to beat the crowds for the perfect Instagram-worthy pic at this time of year!

If you’re in Chania this spring, here are some suggestions to maximise your stay and make the most of this stunning season.

Top Chania experiences in Spring

Explore ancient monuments, heat and tourist-free

Pleasantly warm, but not scorching hot, spring weather in Crete is as if tailor-made for exploring the island’s intriguing history – sans the tourist crowds. Less than a 30-minute scenic car ride away from your base at the Oscar Suites & Village, Aptera offers an immersive glimpse into times bygone. One of antiquity’s largest and most influential city-states, Aptera appears in records from the 14th century BC and is referenced in Linear B writings from Knossos. Atop a rocky hill with sweeping vistas stretching from Souda Bay to the White Mountains and Apokoronas, Aptera enjoyed a strategic geographical advantage – and this facilitated its rise as the paramount commercial and political hub of western Crete, flourishing from Minoan through Hellenistic periods before its eventual decline. Beyond its natural defences, Aptera boasted formidable cyclopean walls in its prime. With two harbours, Minoa (now Marathi) and Kissamos (near Kalami village), Aptera controlled maritime activities in Souda Bay. Archaeological excavations unveil evidence of Aptera’s currency, thriving war industry, and maritime trade routes extending to Italy, Greece, and the East. While Aptera saw a decline during Roman and Byzantine times, it remained inhabited until the 7th century, even maintaining its own bishopric. However, a series of devastating earthquakes and subsequent pirate raids ultimately led to its demise around 820 AD. Today, the meticulously preserved ruins are poignant reminders of Aptera’s illustrious past.

Whether you’re a history buff – or just a romantic soul, count a visit to Aptera among the top Chania experiences in spring.

Get lost in Chania Old Town

Some 10 km away from the Oscar Suites & Village, the iconic old town of Chania – one of the Mediterranean’s most stunning ports, and arguably Crete’s most picturesque city – has something to tempt all. Fusing Venetian mansions, Turkish residences, Byzantine churches, and Ottoman mosques, Chania is like an open-air museum of architecture. Yet, it simultaneously pulsates with life, with a plethora of restaurants, cafes, and bars nestled along the waterfront and within its charming alleyways. Roam around; promenade along the wave-washed stone pier up to the trademark Egyptian lighthouse – one of the world’s oldest; grab local treats like Cretan gruyere, herbs, raki and olives; soak in the city’s vibrant atmosphere. That’s a day to remember!

Visit Chania’s latest gem

The latest addition to Chania’s considerable treasure trove is the stunning Archaeological Museum – make sure to include a visit to the city’s newest gem among your list of not-to-be-missed Chania experiences in spring. Located in the historically affluent neighbourhood of Halepa, this contemporary architectural masterpiece showcases an extensive collection of artefacts spanning the Minoan era through to Roman times.
Coming from excavations in Chania and its surrounding regions, as well as Axos and Lappa in the Rethymno regional unit, the antiquities on display invite you on an enthralling voyage through diverse facets of ancient existence. Explore aspects of commerce, social structures, religious practices, entertainment, and warfare as exhibits unveil intriguing glimpses into the daily routines of past inhabitants. Through snapshots of their occupations, dwellings, tools, hygiene products, traditions, and mindsets, you’ll gain profound insights into the region’s illustrious history. The immersive experience is complemented by specialised representations and digital media bringing history to life. The museum also thoughtfully incorporates tactile exhibits and braille captions for the visually impaired.

Taste Crete’s Wines

The origins of Cretan wines fade into the mists of time, with archaeological evidence tracing their significance back over 3,000 years to the Minoan era. Evolving over millennia, these wines grew in sophistication and were celebrated far beyond the island’s shores through a thriving trade network. However, during Ottoman rule, production dwindled, and many ancient grape varieties slipped into obscurity. Today, a revival of Cretan wines is underway, spearheaded by a new generation of vintners committed to salvaging and reviving ancient grape varieties. The result? A collection of exquisite wines that are making their mark on the global wine scene.

Embark on a journey of discovery through the wineries in Chania, where these burgeoning stars await your palate. Each winery boasts scenic surroundings – even more enchanting during the spring season. And for those with a penchant for beer, a visit to the Cretan Brewery is in order — set amidst olive, orange, and avocado groves, this pioneering microbrewery is where you’ll delve into the intricacies of the brewing process and savour artisanal beers crafted with care and dedication.

Embrace the beauty of nature at the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete

Nature’s bursting blooms craft an unparalleled backdrop for one of the top Chania experiences in spring. Nestled on the foothills of the White Mountains, the Botanical Park & Gardens of Crete unfolds across a sprawling 20-hectare expanse with a rich tapestry of flora and fauna. Born from the ashes of a devastating fire that ravaged an ancient olive grove, this sanctuary was created in 2004 by two visionary brothers determined to breathe new life into the land.

Today, the park showcases over 150 species of plants, including fruit trees, herbs, and pharmaceutical and ornamental flowers — ranging from indigenous to tropical and subtropical varieties. Amidst this verdant haven, butterflies flit about while wild birds chirp, reminding you what earthly paradise looks and feels like. Keep an eye out for native wildlife such as wild goats, hares, badgers, Cretan rock ferrets, weasels, and tree frogs. There is also a picturesque lake, whose tranquil waters are home to ducks and geese; and a Mediterranean-style restaurant with panoramic vistas. The Park is located less than 20 km away from Oscar Suites & Village – and is as uplifting to the spirit as it is pleasing to the eye. Opt for a leisurely, fragrance-filled day here as an alternative to the beach.

Did you like our feature about the top Chania experiences in Spring? Stay tuned to our blog for more local insights and tips on what to see and do on the amazing island of Crete!

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