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Useful information for shore excursions in and around Souda
Below you will find all information about the most beautiful attractions in Souda, a map of the cruise port as well as other tips for your shore excursion in and around Souda (Chania).
The most beautiful attractions in Souda (Chania)
The port of Souda is only 7 km/ 4.3 mi away from the city Chania. Chania is a Greek port city of the island Crete and the second largest in Greece. It is also considered the most beautiful city in Crete. Built around the old harbor and the fortress, the city has a long history. The different influences of the Byzantines, Venetians and the Ottoman Empire are still recognizable from the numerous streets of Souda and at the port. The old fortress “Schiavo Bastion” also shapes the cityscape and offers climbers a magnificent overview of the rooftops to the sea and the moutain in the hinterland.
Chania itself and its surroundings offer a variety of different destinations for a shore excursion. Fortresses, churches & monasteries, beaches or the old town itself are waiting to be visited by you.
Agia Triada Monastery
The Monastery of Agia Triada (“Holy Trinity”) is located on the Akrotiri peninsula and was founded in the 16th century by the Venetian brothers Tzangarola. Today it is located in an area surrounded by olive groves, vineyards and cypress trees and is one of the most important architectural designs of the Cretan Renaissance. It is still the largest monastery in Crete to be managed.
While the monastery looks very inconspicuous from the outside, behind the doors you will find a quiet, green monastery courtyard and a worth-seeing church. Today, organic olive oil and wine are produced here and sold in the monastery’s own shop. Objects that were saved from all historical adventures of the monastery are on display in a small museum. These are mainly icons, vestments, sacral devices, some manuscripts, old printed books and official documents.
The tombs of Venizelo
The Venizelos tombs are located on Profitis Ilias, a hill in the northeast of Chania and on the border of the Akrotiri peninsula. They are the tombs of Eleftheros Venizelos, one of the most important politicians of modern Greece and his son Sofolis Venizelos. On a large terrace in front of a small church, which is dedicated to the Prophet Elias, the graves are embedded in the pavement. The view from the park extends far beyond Chania to the mountains and along the coast to the Rodopou peninsula.
Eleftherios Venizelos had already expressed in his lifetime the desire to be buried here. Finally, in January 1897, during his last uprising against the Ottoman Empire, the Greek flag had been hoisted. Unfortunately, today only the remains of the Eleftheria statue are still standing around the graves. In honor of Eleftherios Venizelos, the once 20-meter high Mamor statue was erected in 1937. In fact, it was there until 1970 – the year in which the tourist office decided to redesign the entire Venizelos tombs. When loading the statue, it had broken and therefore only its remains are next to the graves.
Knossos is located about 5 km/ 3.1 mi south of Heraklion on a flat, largely artificially built hill. It is by far the largest of the previously found Minoan palaces. The ruins that can still be visited today come from the “new” palace. The “old” palace was at the exact same place, however, was destroyed by an earthquake and later rebuilt. It is estimated that the palace had around 1,300 rooms and was up to 5-story high. Furthermore, the converted area was approximately 21,000 square meters/ 5.2 arces.
The discovery and excavation of the palace is among the most amazing stories of modern archeology. While Knossos was only a place that existed in mythology a little more than a hundred years ago, finally the first excavations took place in 1878. From then on, the main structure of the palace was excavated until 1903 under the direction of the archaeologist Arthur Evans, however the work also continued with some interruptions until 1931. Evans later also led the restoration and reconstruction. In fact, the possible construction of the palace is until today much of a guess. Nevertheless, the palace is definitely worth a visit.
The archaeological museum is one of the most important and well-known museums in Crete. It is located in the center of the capital Heraklion. The exhibition there includes 20 numbered and time-sorted rooms. You can visit the oldest findings in Room 1(3,000 – 4,500 BC). On the contrary, Room 20 displays the latest exhibits. As a result, the museum houses findings from the time of the Minoans to the Roman era. Discus of Phestos is probably the most famous exhibit and can be found in Room 3. In total, the museum covers an area of more than 5,500 square meters/ 1.36 arces and has a permanent exhibition, a reading room, an amphitheater as well as several laboratories and a warehouse.
Visit the third largest city of the island with its rich cultural heritage and numerous historical monuments on a leisure walk. The Old Town impresses with an old urban structure from the Venetian era. Almost 90% of the historical building fabric is still preserved today.
In contrast to Heraklion and Chania, Rethymnon preserved above all a Greek Renaissance character since most nobles were Greeks during the Venetian era. Near the old town with its narrow streets, you can also visit the largest fortress in Crete, the majestic Fortezza. Other attractions include the small Venetian harbor with the lighthouse, the Venetian Loggia, the Rethymno Park, the Historical Museum, the Nerantza Mosque, church of St. Francis or the Venetian mansions on the street Arkadi. Finally, you can take a bath at the huge sandy beach that begins in the east of the port of Rethymnon
Map of the cruise port in Souda (Chania)
The port of Souda is located on the northwest side of the island Crete. Due to its sheltered location, the Gulf of Souda provides an ideal refuge for many ships. Souda’s harbor is just 7 km/ 4.3 mi from the city of Chania – a 15-minute bus ride.
You can take the public shuttle bus to travel from the port to Chania. This costs € 1.70 per person for one way (~2 USD). It is advisable to buy both tickets directly at the counter.
The port has a passenger terminal. It offers free Wi-Fi and excellent transport links to get to the city of Chania if you decide to go for a trip on your own. It is also adjacent to the city of Souda, where you will find many cafes, a bank, a post office, as well as doctors’ offices, pharmacies, supermarkets, etc. The nearby international airport is only 15 km/ 9.3 mi from the port.
Things to know about shore excursions in Souda (Chania)
Shipping companies and routes
Souda (Chania) is currently only called on the route through the eastern Mediterranean. Cruise liners that call here are e.g. Royal Caribbean, MSC, Princess or Celebrity.
Immigration and visa
Greece is a country in the Schengen area, this means that U.S. citizens can enter Greece without a visa for stays of up to 90 days for tourism purposes.
For more accurate information please contact your cruise operator or travel agency before departure regarding the valid entry requirements.
EURO is the national currency in Greece (1 dollar = 0.86 euro and 1 pound = 1.11 euro). You can also pay with credit cards but you should keep in mind that fees may apply.
Taxi and other public transports
Almost all of Crete’s passenger traffic is carried by the state-owned bus company KTEL. The buses are fast and mostly reliable. On the main routes along the north coast between Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion and Agios Nikolaos there is at least one bus per hour during the day. More detailed information can be found in the bus timetable.
Taxis are quite expensive compared to these alternatives. A 100km/ 62mi drive can cost between 90 € and 110 €. Therefore, you should definitely negotiate the fare before departure or you ideally insist on a taximeter. Alternatively, you are welcome to take a guided shore excursion.
Cars and motorbikes can be rented almost anywhere in Crete. A normal price for a rental car (small car) with unlimited mileage is about 35 € for a day and 150 € for a week. Outside of the main season, there are often significant discounts when a rental car can be rented for well under 30 € a day.
It is most pleasant on the Greek islands in the months of April to the end of June and from September to early November. However, it is very hot in midsummer and some islands resemble a moonscape. Spring is also a suitable travel time especially for active hikers. In the winter months, however, it can snow once. The most popular season for cruise ships is from April to October.
Websites of the Port and Tourist organizations
Impressions of Souda (Chania)
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