The Ancient City, a Mix between East and West
The Imposing Venetian Walls of Rethymno
The Renaissance Agia Triada Monastery

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The Ancient Capital of Crete

The second largest city on the island of Crete, Hania, or Chania, is a jewel overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. On an MSC Cruise, you will have the chance to get a close-up view of this picturesque town whose history is lost in Minoan civilization, then passing under Venetian and later Ottoman domination.

Its historic center, which can be visited on an excursion, is housed between the imposing walls and the port, both built by the Venetians. Along Kanevaro street, a display of houses and buildings can be found recognizable for their Italian character ‒ the gates still contain the coats of arms of La Serenissima (Republic of Venice) ‒ to which are added the typical features of Turkish architecture. In the old city, you can visit the Jewish quarter with the synagogue, and Kastelli, where the foundations of the Minoan houses can be found. The Church of San Nicola is also not to be missed. Built in 1320 by the Dominicans, it was later converted into a mosque and in 1918, was transformed into an Orthodox church. Returning to the port, in front of the dock, it is impossible to miss the Kioutsouk Hasan Mosque, known as the Janissaries Mosque, the oldest in Crete.
Leaving Chania, you can head to Rethymno or Rethimno: this charming town also preserves traces of the Venetian and Ottoman passages. At the time of the Doges, Rethymno was known for being a cultural center where intellectuals and artists of the period passed by frequently. Of note are the great fortress, built on a promontory by the Venetians in 1646 to protect the inhabitants from Turkish invasions, and the Tis Nerantzes Mosque, which was once the church of St. Mary; in Gothic style, the minaret was added in 1890.
It is also possible to visit the Agia Triada Monastery on an excursion. Elegant and magnificent, this sacred place was built in the 17th century according to Renaissance architectural dictates and is home to hundreds of monks.

Must see places in Chania

Discover excursions in Chania


    Under the protective wing of the gods
    Under the protective wing of the gods

    It would take a lifetime of island-hopping to fully appreciate the 227 inhabited Greek islands scattered across the Mediterranean Sea.
    With sapphire water lapping at rocky coastlines sprinkled with secret coves and sandy beaches, they are the stuff of dreamy travel posters, the very definition of the eulogized Greek summer of sun, sea and sand.

    For anyone with a cultural bone in their body a cruise to the Greek islands cannot fail to inspire. Every culture has left its mark, and almost every town or village has a link to the past, whether it’s a delicately crumbling temple to Aphrodite, a forbidding Venetian fort or a dusty Byzantine monastery decorated with exquisite frescoes. 

    But the call to cultural duty will never be too overwhelming on a Greek islands holiday. The hedonistic pleasures of languor and warmth – swimming in balmy seas at dusk, talking and drinking under the stars – are just as appealing.
    Sprawling, globalized Athens is an obligatory, almost unavoidable introduction to Greece: aside from the show-stopping Acropolis it offers a truly metropolitan range of cultural diversions, from museums to concerts; well-stocked shops; gourmet restaurants and stimulating clubs.