This charming town
Chania Town is a must-visit in this part of the island. Life buzzes around the ancient harbour and its pastel-coloured cafés, so spend some time here eyeing up the chalkboard specials. But don’t miss a walk around the cobbled streets behind, where you can try a Turkish hammam or pick up some produce from the indoor market.
One thing that isn’t in short supply in Western Crete is top-notch beaches. First up is the baby-pink patch of Elafonissi – make sure you have your cameras ready for that one. And there’s the legendary Balos Beach. How do ice-white sand and turquoise sea sound? Windsurfers – windswept Falassarna is the spot for you.
Back to nature
Take a hike among the wild flowers, monasteries and goats of Samaria Gorge. It’s a serious trek, so be prepared to tough it out if you want to reap the scenic rewards. Castles, caves and forests are in plentiful supply on Crete's west coast, so adventure’s always around the corner. And the beautiful Lake Kournas has swim stop and photo op written all over it.