The Aethrion Boutique Homes is located in Chrissi Akti (Golden Coast) area, just 300m away from the popular beach which is part of the greater green complex of Aghie Apostolie, less than 4km west from the city centre of Chania.
Chryssi Akti has not been named by accident as it is the main in a collection of four wonderful sandy beaches which unfold as a local Riviera. Beaches alternate on the coast with dunes and groves of pine trees, offering a unique variety of natural scenery.
Here you can enjoy swimming, sea water sports, walking and jogging, as well as sand sports such as beach volleyball and beach tennis, together with beach bar, café and restaurant services. You may reach the cosmopolitan atmosphere of Chania city and the Venetian harbour in just a few minutes. Chryssi Akti combines the nature and the close proximity to the city, constituting the ideal location for your stay in Chania throughout the year.
Close to Aethrion Boutique Homes our residents may find a variety of beach bars (300-500m), a number of main supermarkets (INKA 900m, Lidl 900m, AB 1900m), many mini markets, cafés, restaurants and shops, a Bowling Alley with playground, as well as water sport facilities. Chrissi Akti and Aghie Apostolie greater area are serviced by both urban and suburban bus routes to Chania and Kissamos (Kasteli), as well as local taxi.
Chania. This is the capital city of the prefecture of Chania in west Crete, the second largest in Crete after Herakleion. Its central urban part covers an area of about 11km2 with population 55,000, but greater Chania city well exceeds 100,000 inhabitants. Chania is one of the most popular destinations in the Mediterranean, with continuously expanding direct connections to international airports. The city itself is on the northern coastline, surrounded by an attractive green landscape of olive trees and orangeries and the immense blue of the Cretan Sea, bejewelled by bays and peninsulas. A generous coastline blends the long sandy beaches with a plethora of large and small bays offering both cosmopolitan and private moments. In the south, observe the imposing Madares mountains ( also known as Lefka Ori, which means White Mountains) standing as vigilant guards in the escape of summer north winds to the south, seeking to cool the hot beaches with Mediterranean breeze. In the west, the visitor will meet an unexpected plethora of sandy beaches, all at the top of international charts. The inland itself is a magnificent blend of valleys, gorges, mountain peaks and plateaus, all blessed with unique variety of flora ranging from pharmaceutical herbs, olive and citrus trees, to subtropical flora. Chania is fairly considered to be one of the most photographed places, where the history of the past remains alive through its unique monuments and its inhabitants’ culture. The area’s history goes through Neolithic civilization and Greek antiquity, the Byzantine Era, the Venetian and Ottoman occupation and the autonomous Cretan State at the beginning of the 20th century. A city bursting with life day and night, ready to initiate its visitors to art, history, music, dance, gastronomy and Cretan festivities. Chania has a mild Mediterranean climate, which ensures the ideal temperature for swimming in its marvelous, crystal clear beaches all year round. At the same time, Chania offers the opportunity for trekking at the highlands, the gorges and the villages of the White Mountains, standing there untouched by time. It possesses a genuine, unique culture that is praised by the global community and remains virtually intact to date. Chania fosters a travel experience of authenticity, entertainment, relaxation and communion with a unique way of life, unconquered but also endorsing.
Chania today, called by many as the jewel of Crete, is one of the ancient cities of Crete, located at the place of the ancient Kydonia, dates back to prehistoric neolithical era and flourished over the centuries and especially during the Minoan Period.
Neolithic and Ancient Period
The Greek Mythology claims Kydon, the son of Zeus, or according to another myth, the son of King Minos as the founder of Kydonia . Homer refers to ancient Kydonia as a famous Cretan city. It flourished mainly due to its sea trade and local craftsmanship and became significantly rich. The remains of the first Neolithical housing settlement are still visible at Kastelli hill, over the harbor, securing its inhabitants from enemies’ raids. The city had a magnificent castle, the Minoan Palace of Kydonia that is currently buried under the center of Chania modern sector. Ancient plates with Linear A and B writing, similar to those of Minoan Palace and Mykines are found at Kastelli Hill. During the Minoan era, Kydonia was an important city –state flourishing due to trade, farming, craftship and livestock production. Achaeans, the local ancient inhabitants of Kydonia were mixed with Dorians arriving from the north from mainland Greece after 1100 BC, bringing iron and warfare attitude to the peaceful Cretans.
Romans conquered Crete in 67 BC, starting their invasion from Kydonia that regardless its resistance did not manage to stop the big and organized roman army. Nevertheless the Romans acknowledged the advantageous geographical position of the city and they allowed it to maintain its independent city-state status. The city continued to flourish, but no significant monuments are preserved from this period, as latter invaders ruined them to build their own monuments (venetians for instance used the remains of a roman theatre to build the city walls).
1st Byzantine Period
In 330 AC Crete is liberated from the Western Roman Empire and becomes a part of the Eastern Roman Empire (Byzantine empire). After 500 years of Byzantine administration, Crete falls under forceful pirate raids, that cannot be inhibited by the Byzantine naval fleet. Thus in 824 BC Arabs conquer Crete and the first byzantine period ends.
The Arabian Parenthesis
Saracen Arabs conquered Chania and the whole of Crete coming from Spanish Cordova. They literally destroyed the place. It is highly probable that the name Chania comes from the arab name Al Chanim, after which they named Kydonia (Al Chanim- Al Canea- Chania).
2nd Byzantine Period
Fortunately the Arab occupation ends at 961 AC, when Nicephore Fokas takes over Crete on behalf of the Byzantine Empire and sets the beginning of the second byzantine period of Chania. The city is rebuilt and is sheltered by peripheral walls around Kastelli hill, surrounding the place where the first neolithical settlements were situated. The remains of these walls are preserved today; their north side close to the sea and a small part near Syfaka street. These walls were built from the older remains of Roman buildings that were destroyed.
The 2nd Byzantine period for Crete and Chania ended on 1204 AC, when after the 4th crusade, Crete was invaded by the Venetians. In 1252 AC Chania were rebuilt by the Venetians and protected by a fortress at Kastelli hill and strong walls that strengthened the Byzantine walls, including a bigger part of the city. Four new bulwarks are built, including towers and an external ditch that sheltered Chania from pirates and other external raids. The Venetian period was ended in 1263 AC by a short Genoan occupation but in 1285 Chania was again taken over by the Venetians and further flourished culturally and economically. The city harbor was built again in order to protect the Venetian fleet and new shipyards were built for the maintenance of the ships. Chania begun to flourish as a center of commerce. Water supply was improved with the new aqueduct. New magnificent public buildings were raised while the private houses and the Venetian town planning provided the city with a European feel. The relations between the Cretans and the Venetians were initially tensed, with raising revolutions, however they were mended over time, arriving to the point of joined defense against the Turkish invasion of the 17th century.
Venetian Era ended with the occupation of Chania by the Ottoman Turks back in 1645 AC. The Turks sieged the town for months and destroyed a part of it. They transformed Christian churches to mosques and built new mosques with imposing minarets to emphasize their presence in the island. Nevertheless they also build public baths (hammam) and springs, while the private houses of the new architecture were built in different neighborhoods than the Venetian ones, thus dividing the city into two distinct architectural sectors. Cretans and especially those of Chania origin, periodically revolted against the Turks, and finally participated in the grand revolution of 1821, which however didn’t liberate Crete. As a consequence, extensive slaughtering of Christians took place at Chania. Following the end of the Greek Revolution that liberated part of central Greece, Crete was given by the Turks to the Egyptian Mehmet Ali who ruled the island until 1841, and subsequently it was then given back to Turks.
Autonomous Cretan State
The conflicts between Christians and Muslims continued, along with numerous revolting attempts, taking place especially at Chania area, aiming to liberate the island and unite it with liberated mainland Greece. In 1897, slaughtering was intensified and Christian quarters in the city were put on fire. The outcome of such revolt was the establishment of the Autonomous Cretan State in 1898, with appointed governor Prince George of Greece. This was an idiosyncratic status quo since Crete formally part of the Ottoman Empire but enjoyed the protection of the Allied forces of England, France, Russia, Italy, Germany and Austria. During this period Chania became the capital city of Crete and was known as the city of the one 100 palaces, referring to the presence of 97 embassies.
Early Modern Era
Cretan people continued their fight for their final liberation and union with mainland Greece. In 1905 a new revolt in Therissos beguns, led by Eleftherios Venizelos, the iconic statesman of the 20th century and later prime minister of Greece. Prince George stepped down and Venizelos appointed a revolution government, under the auspices of the Allied Forces of Europe. Finally in 1913, after two and a half centuries, the Turks abandoned Crete and the long expected union of Crete with the rest of Greece took place. The Greek flag was raised at Firkas fortress and the venetian port of Chania. The city continued to flourish in all fronts as indicated by the neoclassical architecture of this period.
During the 2nd world war, Chania was heavily bombarded by Nazis (1941) and after vicious fights with many casualties, the city passed under German occupation. The Nazis were harsh over fighting Chania, since in the Battle of Crete, Maleme airport and Galatas were significant military sites for Greece and its Allies defense against the invaders.
Late Modern Era
After 1950s Chania continued to grow and flourish, increasingly focusing on the tourist industry, especially after the 70s. Nowadays Chania is home of the Technical University of Crete, one of the three academic institutions based on the island. An international research center, the Mediterranean Agronomic Institute is also established at Chania. Finally Chania operates as a center of rich cultural activity, on painting, sculpture, theatre and music. The town promotes its attractions; the infrastructure grows and develops to a point where the visitor can enjoy high class hospitality in luxurious resorts, boutique hotels, exotic bungalows or rooms to let thus covering the needs of all age groups and budgets.
In Chania you will enjoy a rich variety of historical sites, that feel like unfolding the past in your eyes, keeping your interest intact throughout your journey: old villages and monuments from Late Stone Age and antiquity, roman and byzantine architecture, venetian buildings and walls are spread around the city, some of them being in use today. Ottoman mosques and home ruins are blended with elements of European architecture of the 18th and 19th centuries, while at the same time the city maintains its modern feel, offering an original coexistence. Chania is the home of the Centre for Mediterranean Architecture.
The city is known as the Venice of the East; the town inside the peripheral walls looks like a miniature of Venice, with small stone passages replacing the channels, and the port with its famous Lighthouse, the globally known landmark of the city. This Lighthouse was first built by the Venetians 5 centuries ago, and has been ruined and rebuilt throughout the years, finally arriving at its present 3-layer unique form.
You may begin your city tour from the Municipal Market, a neoclassical cruciform building at the boundaries of the old and the new town. Then head towards the old town and the port, passing through the old shops of traditional craftsmen. You will pass by the Cathedral Square (Panaghia Trimartiri), the Catholic Church, the Archeological, Nautical Folklore and Minoan Ship museums, the Firkas fortress, Splantzia Square and Saint Nicolas church, the only one bearing a Christian bell tower and a Turkish minaret. Further ahead, you will see the Ottoman mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan (Giali Tzamisi), the venetian shipyards, the remains of a minoan borough at Kastelli area, the byzantine walls, the old Turkish quarter Kum Kapi and the Gate of the Sand. Enjoy the view of the Venetian port, wander in its narrow passages that bring Venice in mind and are full of fine shops, restaurants, cafés, bistros, traditional hostels and beautifully renovated private houses. Take your cameras with you! You are walking through one of the most photographed spots in the world!
Towards the northern area of Akrotiri, you may visit the mansion of Eleftherios Venizelos in Halepa quarter, which is full of neoclassical style houses, including those of European embassies. Enjoy the stunning panoramic town view from Venizelos Graves monument and visit the Aghia Triada and Gouverneto monasteries.
Gastronomy and Wine Tasting: Chania is a land blessed with a unique variety of local farming and livestock products that made Cretan diet a globally known secret of taste and longevity. Every visitor of Chania is ready to share unique gastronomic experiences. Old recipes , carefully preserved by the younger generation, cooked with pure local ingredients, that uniquely grow in this land, foster taste simplicity, without fake sophistication and effort to impress. There is a great tradition in the cultivation of olive trees, orange trees and vineyards, that would make your exploration of local production a dazzling surprise.
Nightlife: Chania is renowned for its night life. A variety of bars, clubs and street music corners for every age and music taste, are found all over the town, most of them beautifully situated in restored buildings at the venetian harbor or the alleys of the “Venice of the East”. Such variety will keep you awake till dawn!
Travel Buys: You may find beautiful memorabilia in the old Town, varying from jewelry to local pure cosmetics, decorative items, hand-made artifacts of wood, ceramics, glass and metal. Also at the new sector of the city, you may find all sort of modern shops with goods covering all your needs.
Sea and Sports: Chania is surrounded by numerous sand beaches, situated in the town and in close distance around it, providing so many options that it is practically hard to visit them all!
At the west side of the city, you may choose to swim at Nea Chora beach or at the east side at Kum Kapi, close to the old Turkish quarter.
Heading west outside of the city, you will find fine sand beaches for all tastes, cosmopolitan or private: Chrissi Akti (3km), Aghi Apostoli (4km), Kalamaki (5km), Stalos (7km), Agia Marina (9km), Platanias (12km), Maleme (16km), Kolimbari (18 km).
Heading east to Rethymnon, you will find a long sandy coastline with beaches close to Chania, like Kyani Akti, Kalives, Almyrida or at the boarders of Rethymnon like Georgoupoli.
Akrotiri area. Heading north, you will find in close distance the calm beaches of Kalathas, Tersanas, Macherida, Stavros, Loutraki and Marathi, some of the locals’ favorites. For a more adventurous experience, try the descend to the magic Seitan Limania (Satan’s ports, in Turkish).
Daily Excursions: Chania offers so many short trip and excursion opportunities to its visitors that time is never enough! This is one of the reasons that visitors return to Chania again and again, collecting colors, tastes, sounds and the friendship of Cretans. You will definitely enjoy following main but also minor routes. Indicatively:
Therissos, Zourva and other small villages. Driving through an impressive gorge, you will discover the villages that were the birthplace of the latest revolution against the Turkish occupation, led by Eleftherios Venizelos. You will be revitalized by the fresh mountain air and the authentic Cretan cuisine in village taverns.
Meskla, Fournes, Prasses and other small villages nearby: Drive or Cycle through a Tuscany-like scenery, full of orange and olive trees. Original Cretan cuisine is served in local taverns that will catch your attention.
Lakki, Omalos Mountain Plateau and Samaria Gorge. Lakki, the historical village that played a leading role in the revolution, will impress you with its panoramic view. Further on, you will be captured by the spectacular views of Omalos Mountain Plateau, wishing to reach the highest picks of Lefka Ori (White Mountains). On the Plateau you will find traditional hotels and taverns, the wonderful Kallergis’ Mountain Shelter and the Xyloskalo (wooden step), the well known entrance to Samaria Gorge, a National Park of unique beauty and natural importance for its flora and fauna. It is here that you will experience the soul of Crete inside of you, a place that scores among the highest numbers of visits in Europe. Let the cool breeze guide you through the renowned Gorge and enjoy 17 km of walking in the forest and later in a stone-sculptured scenery until you reach Samaria Village and then Agia Roumeli, where the Gorge meets the sea.
Selinos Villages, Falasarna and Elafonisi. This trip combines a green mountain drive through villages, offering excellent home-made food, the view of tropical beaches of Palaiochora, Falasarna and Elafonisi and the famous hystorical monastery of Panaghia Chrissoskalitissa.
Vrysses, Vamos, Kalyves, Armeni and other villages of Apokorona area. A wonderful combination of sandy beaches and magical mainland, famous wineries, archeological and historical sites, famous tavernas, and a unique hand-made glass factory –one of the few in Greece – with a genuine Cretan atmosphere.
Askyfou, Fragokastelo, Sfakia, Loutro. In the road to well-known Sfakia, you will meet the Askifou Mountain Plateau, where the delicious Graviera cheese is produced. As you move forward to the byzantine Fragokastelo, the castle that defends the rocky coast line of Sfakia, let your imagination revive Drossoulites, the ghost warriors that defended the area centuries ago. Following the passage to Sfakia and the sea journey to Loutro and Aghia Roumeli, you will view the epitome of the mountain and the open sea landscape.
“Here is the land, that springs milk and honey” (J. Skylitzis, Chonography, pg. 56)
The western Crete - Chania Prefecture is the preferred destination for the majority of visitors in Crete due to its natural beauty and the variety of options. A piece of land, featured with globally famous beaches, unique landscapes, famous gorges, the larger green acreage and an inexhaustible interchange of images and life experiences. Chania is not a land that is easily described. Like Crete itself, it is a world of its own, calling for experiences. Travelling to its south coastline, you experience the adventurous and wild side of the prefecture, with beaches untouched by the human presence. The sea waters are colder, deeper and the south breeze is often intense. The north coastline is full of modern resorts in which history is present. Sea water there is warm and shallow, reaching endless and cosmopolitan beaches. The west coastline of Chania presents some of the most famous visited beaches worldwide. The mainland compensates its visitors by offering an unforgettable passage to well preserved old villages, monasteries and archeological sites, through routes climbing to mountains, passing through gorges and the open countryside. The known black-dressed Cretans, playing their traditional lyre in virtually every village square, will treat you generously with tsikoudia (aromatic grape distill) and small homemade delicacies.
Prepare yourself for unexpected experiences, like diverting your schedule because of a Cretan grandmother insisting to teach you how to cook kaltsouni pies, or because you will find yourself invited to a traditional Cretan wedding as a guest of the heart. Crete is the land of a thousand faces. The people of Crete are a unique combination of bravery and honour, warmth and lively temperament that cannot be easily mapped in categories.
Cretan flora is among the most significant and interesting in Europe. Here you will find a variety of approximately 1750 indigenous plants out of which 215 grow only in Crete and some only in Chania!
Chania is a heaven on earth! A fruitful land, on which everything grows and bloom. Blessed olive trees spread from the mountain roots in the open countryside reaching even the sea, a lively painting under the Mediterranean sunlight, with its sparkling green leaves and its rich fruits. A variety of vineyards, orangeries and avocado plantations surround the visitor and often allow them to taste freely their hanging fruits.
On the mountains, pine forests, cypresses, oak and plane trees shade the river waters, creating cooling oases in the warm cretan summer. Near the sea, the palm trees decorate the landscape, reminding the visitor that North Africa is just a big step away! Critamos, capari and the white delicate sea lilies (Pancratium Μaritimum ή Sea daffodil ή Sand Lily), bloom on the sand or between the sea rocks and their scent reaches the swimmers. Omalos is fully covered by a local wild herb, stamnaghathi, a celebrated ingredient of gourmet cuisine. Avronies (tamus communis), the wild asparagus growing on the river banks, askolymbros, a delicious, rare bulb, a large mushroom variety, named by the locals after the nearby trees that lend them their shade are only some of the blessings of this land, that you can taste in any village, cooked with local recipes.
Here you can find even Orchid flowers in many varieties; nevertheless, the trademark of Chania is its indigenous aromatic herbs and small plants. Known for their pharmaceutical qualities since the ancient years, these herbs are used today in modern homes: thyme, oregano, throubi, wild mountain teas (malotira, mantzourana), louisa, dittany, sage, balsam, chicory. When close to the sea, you can smell the scented air and you can collect such herbs, that once sundried can be carried back home, bringing the aroma of Chania with you.
Chania landscape being one of great morphology, becomes the ideal habitat of many indigenous fauna species. The caves, the mountains and the gorges create the unique shelter for these animals that decorate Crete.
The Cretan wild goat (capra aegagrus creticus), that is rarely seen by humans, lives on the high picks of the White Mountains and of course at Samaria Gorge. This National park has one of the richest ecosystems in Crete. It’s worth mentioning that Crete does not have carnivores like wolves, foxes or jackals, with the exception of a unique Wild Cat (Fourogatos- felis silvestris cretensis), living in small flocks often attacking livestock!
Up on the mountains, especially in the gorges, you may see flying wild predators like eagles and falcons (Hieraaetus fasciatus), Falco peregrinus), Aquila chrysaetos, Gypaetus barbatus), gyps fulvus, Buteo buteo), Falco tinnunculus and the Falco biarmicus). Grouses and other kinds of birds, as well as badgers, weasels, jackrabbits are found in abundance in any spot of the countryside. Furthermore in many north beaches you will find the special sand protection for Caretta – Caretta turtles.
Finally, when driving around the prefecture you will be often stopped by herds of sheep and goats, that are intensely bred in Chania highlands and throughout Crete.