The region of Chania (Haniá), on the western side of the island, is dominated by the impressive White Mountains (in Greek: Lefká Óri) and its famous National Park, which occupy the largest part of the region. The Prefecture of Chania provides tourist services and activities of all kinds, satisfying all the choices. The beautiful town of Chania has managed to keep its local and authentic colours from the time of the Venetian Rule., despite the growing tourism. Chania is the main town in the west of Crete, with the second largest population after Heraklion.
With its sawtooth walls and square crenellated towers at each corner, the well-preserved Venetian castle of Frangokastello is straight from the pages of a medieval fairytale. The Venetians built the castle fort in the 1370s, when their empire ruled the seas and the island of Crete. You can still make out the carving of the winged lion of the Venetian Republic, above the entrance to the castle. The imposing structure lies on the coastal plain, strategically positioned to ward off pirates and protect the Venetian nobles who called the island home. It was originally called the Castle of St. Nikitas, but eventually took on the name given to it by unhappy locals: Castle of the Franks (as in foreigners). The battlements and buildings within the wall date from the island’s Ottoman occupation.
This gorge is becoming more popular, not just for walkers, as it is much easier than Samaria but still ends at the Libyan sea. Being only 7 Km long it is also more attractive perhaps to the less hardy among us.
With its shimmering azure waters framed by the rocky peaks of the surrounding White Mountains, Kournas Lake is the island’s only freshwater lake and the centerpiece of one of Crete’s most picturesque landscapes. A tranquil retreat for both locals and visitors, Kournas Lake is at its best in the summer months, when the receding water levels reveal vast white sand beaches and popular pastimes include swimming, sailing, canoeing and hiking around the lakeside. Kournas Lake is also a Natura 2000 preservation area and renowned for its bird and marine life, with a huge variety of species including water snakes, herons, cormorants and the rare Diamondback Terrapin.