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Where Do Cruise Ships Dock In Chania Crete


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Josefa Asher



Welcome to Chania, Crete, a picturesque and historic destination that attracts cruise ship travelers from around the world. With its stunning natural beauty, rich cultural heritage, and warm Mediterranean climate, Chania offers a unique and unforgettable experience for cruise ship visitors.


Located on the northern coast of Crete, Chania is the second-largest city on the island and boasts a fascinating history that dates back thousands of years. From the ancient Minoan civilization to the Venetian and Ottoman occupations, the city has been shaped by numerous influences, making it a treasure trove of archaeological sites, architectural wonders, and cultural landmarks.


One of the highlights of a visit to Chania for cruise ship passengers is exploring its charming and vibrant harbor area. Here, old-world charm blends seamlessly with modern amenities, creating a captivating blend of past and present. Cruise ships have two main docking options in Chania: the Port of Souda and the Old Venetian Harbor, each offering a distinct experience.


In this article, we will delve into the details of both docking options, highlighting their features and nearby attractions. Whether you prefer to immerse yourself in ancient history or indulge in the lively atmosphere of a bustling harbor, Chania has something to offer for everyone.


Port of Souda

The Port of Souda, located approximately 7 kilometers east of the city center of Chania, is the main commercial port in the region and a popular docking option for cruise ships. As one of the largest natural harbors in the Mediterranean, it offers excellent facilities and services for cruise ship passengers.


When cruise ships dock at the Port of Souda, passengers have easy access to a multitude of amenities. The port features a modern passenger terminal equipped with shops, restaurants, and cafes, providing visitors with plenty of options for dining and shopping. Additionally, there are car rental services available for those who wish to explore the surrounding area at their own pace.


One of the advantages of docking at the Port of Souda is its strategic location, which provides convenient access to some of the most popular attractions in the Chania region. From the port, it is a short drive to the charming town of Chania, where visitors can wander through narrow streets lined with Venetian and Ottoman buildings, explore local markets, and sample traditional Cretan cuisine in local taverns.


For history enthusiasts, a visit to the nearby ancient city of Aptera is a must. Dating back to the Minoan period, Aptera was once a prominent city-state and is now an archaeological site with fascinating ruins, including Roman cisterns, a Hellenistic theater, and Venetian fortifications.


Nature lovers will also find solace in the proximity of the Port of Souda to the stunning Samaria Gorge. Known as one of Europe’s longest gorges, it offers breathtaking hiking trails surrounded by breathtaking natural scenery, including towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and streams.


Overall, the Port of Souda provides cruise ship passengers with a convenient and well-equipped docking option, allowing them to explore the beauty and diversity of Chania and its surroundings.


Old Venetian Harbor

The Old Venetian Harbor in Chania is a picturesque and iconic destination that offers a unique and enchanting experience for cruise ship passengers. With its charming waterfront, historical architecture, and vibrant atmosphere, it is no wonder that this harbor is a favorite among visitors.


The Old Venetian Harbor, also known as the Venetian Port, is located in the heart of the city of Chania. Its history dates back to the 14th century when the Venetians ruled over Crete. The harbor served as a strategic hub for trade and defense, and its architecture reflects this rich heritage.


When cruise ships dock at the Old Venetian Harbor, passengers can step directly into a world of captivating beauty. The harbor is lined with colorful Venetian buildings, which now house charming waterfront restaurants, cafes, and boutique shops. Strolling along the promenade, visitors can soak in the vibrant atmosphere and savor the breathtaking views of the crystal-clear turquoise waters.


One of the highlights of the Old Venetian Harbor is the iconic Venetian lighthouse, standing tall at the entrance of the harbor. Dating back to the 16th century, the lighthouse offers panoramic views of the city and the Aegean Sea. It is a popular spot for visitors to gather, especially during sunset, to witness the stunning colors of the sky as the sun dips below the horizon.


Exploring the narrow streets and alleys around the Venetian Harbor is a delight in itself. Visitors will discover hidden gems, such as quaint squares, ancient churches, and traditional Greek taverns tucked away in the labyrinthine lanes.


Within walking distance from the Old Venetian Harbor, cruise ship passengers can visit the impressive Archaeological Museum of Chania, which houses a vast collection of artifacts spanning from the Neolithic to the Roman period. This is a must-visit for history enthusiasts seeking to delve deeper into the island’s past.


Overall, the Old Venetian Harbor offers an enchanting and romantic setting for cruise ship passengers to immerse themselves in the history, culture, and beauty of Chania. From the charming promenade to the hidden alleys, there is something to captivate the senses around every corner.


New Passenger Terminal

In addition to the Port of Souda and the Old Venetian Harbor, Chania also boasts a new state-of-the-art passenger terminal that offers a modern and convenient docking option for cruise ships. The construction of this terminal was part of an effort to accommodate the increasing number of cruise ship visitors to the region.


The new passenger terminal is located near the Old Venetian Harbor, providing easy access to the main attractions and amenities of Chania. It offers a range of facilities and services to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience for cruise ship passengers.


Upon arrival at the new passenger terminal, visitors will find a spacious and well-designed facility equipped with shops, cafes, and tourist information centers. This allows passengers to shop for souvenirs, sample local delicacies, or gather information about the various tourist destinations in and around Chania.


One of the advantages of the new terminal is its accessibility to transportation options. Within a short distance, visitors can find taxis and buses that can take them to the city center or other popular attractions in the area. Car rental services are also available for those who prefer to explore at their own pace.


From the new passenger terminal, cruise ship passengers can easily access the Old Venetian Harbor and its charming waterfront promenade. They can take a leisurely stroll along the harbor, admire the Venetian architecture, or enjoy a meal at one of the many waterfront restaurants.


Additionally, visitors can venture beyond the city and explore the surrounding areas, such as the beautiful beaches of Balos and Elafonisi, or the traditional villages nestled in the Cretan countryside. With the new terminal as a starting point, the possibilities for exploration are endless.


Overall, the new passenger terminal in Chania provides a modern and efficient docking option for cruise ships, offering convenient access to the city’s attractions and allowing visitors to experience the beauty and charm of this historic destination.


Nearby Attractions

Chania, Crete, is a destination rich in history, natural beauty, and cultural wonders. While visiting this enchanting city as a cruise ship passenger, you will have the opportunity to explore a variety of nearby attractions that showcase the unique and diverse offerings of the region.


One of the must-see attractions near Chania is the Samaria Gorge. Located in the White Mountains National Park, this stunning natural landmark is renowned for its breathtaking beauty and challenging hiking trails. As you trek through the gorge, you will be surrounded by towering cliffs, lush vegetation, and the refreshing sounds of the river. The experience is both exhilarating and tranquil, offering a unique perspective of Crete’s pristine wilderness.


For history buffs, a visit to the ancient city of Knossos is a must. Just a short distance from Chania, Knossos is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site in Crete and offers a fascinating glimpse into the Minoan civilization. Explore the intricately designed palace complex, admire the vibrant frescoes, and immerse yourself in the myths and legends of this ancient city.


If you’re in search of a relaxing beach experience, head to the nearby beaches of Balos and Elafonisi. Balos is known for its stunning turquoise waters, pink sand, and magnificent lagoon, while Elafonisi boasts a unique blend of golden sand, shallow crystal-clear waters, and a small islet that can be reached by foot. Both are popular choices for sunbathing, swimming, and immersing yourself in the beauty of the Cretan coastline.


No visit to Chania is complete without exploring the charming villages of the region. Take a trip to the traditional village of Vamos, where you can wander through narrow streets lined with well-preserved stone houses and enjoy a traditional Cretan meal in a tavern. Or visit the village of Apokoronas, tucked away in the foothills of the White Mountains, and discover its charming squares, ancient churches, and traditional way of life.


For those interested in the local cuisine, a visit to the Municipal Market of Chania is a must. This vibrant marketplace is filled with stalls offering a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs, cheeses, and local delicacies. Immerse yourself in the sights, sounds, and flavors of Cretan gastronomy as you interact with the friendly local vendors.


These are just a few examples of the many attractions that await cruise ship passengers visiting Chania. Whether you’re a nature lover, history enthusiast, beachgoer, or foodie, you’ll find something to suit your interests and make your visit to Chania a truly memorable experience.



Chania, Crete, is a destination that offers a wealth of experiences for cruise ship passengers. From its historic past to its stunning natural landscapes, the city and its surroundings have something to captivate every visitor. Whether you choose to dock at the Port of Souda, the Old Venetian Harbor, or the new passenger terminal, you will have ample opportunities to explore the beauty and charm of this enchanting region.


As you step ashore in Chania, you will be greeted by a city steeped in history and culture. The narrow streets of the Old Town, the remnants of Venetian and Ottoman influence, and the ancient archaeological sites all impart a sense of the city’s rich past. Meanwhile, the vibrant waterfront promenades, charming cafes, and bustling markets offer a taste of its vibrant present.


Beyond the city, you will find a treasure trove of attractions waiting to be discovered. Embark on a hike through the awe-inspiring Samaria Gorge, revel in the beauty of the nearby beaches of Balos and Elafonisi, or delve into the secrets of the ancient city of Knossos. And don’t forget to explore the traditional villages, where you can experience the warm hospitality and timeless traditions of the Cretan people.


Whether you choose to immerse yourself in history, soak up the sun on idyllic beaches, or indulge in the local culture and cuisine, Chania offers a diverse array of experiences that will leave a lasting impression. As you embark on your journey through this captivating destination, remember to take in the breathtaking views, savor the local flavors, and embrace the warm embraces of Cretan hospitality.


Chania, Crete, is a destination that beckons exploration and discovery. Whether you have a few hours or a couple of days, make the most of your time in this enchanting city. Soak in the beauty, immerse yourself in the rich history and culture, and create memories that will last a lifetime.