Loggerhead turtle approved
Calling all beach lovers – Nea Kydonia may be a small village, but it has the range of beaches any big time resort would be proud of. Here, you can hop between shores based on what relaxation tempo you're after.
The main beach is Kalamaki, which totes a Blue Flag for its cleanliness. Loggerhead turtles appreciate it too, as they choose this spot to nest. If you visit at the right time, you just might see some tiny hatchlings scampering across the sand.
Kalamaki is also where you can take part in water-sporting activities such as windsurfing, jet skiing, kayaking, canoeing and even snorkelling. Stalos Beach is another popular choice, as is Agioi Apostoli, which features a series of tiny coves that make for quieter swims.
It goes without saying that Nea Kydonia's status as a beautiful, laid-back beach resort, means the main activity to take part in is simply relaxing – whether that's on the shores or from the terrace of a quaint cafe. The town is also surrounded by countryside lined with olive groves, so a top afternoon choice is going for a scenic stroll, where you can catch some shade under the village's popular 2,000-year-old tree.
Only a 30-minute drive away are the ruins of Aptera, a powerful city where the Greek myth of the sirens battling with the muses was born. It's an ancient wonder, with Roman cisterns, a fortress and baths, plus new sites still being excavated every day. You can take the rocky drive up to the ruins and experience incredible views out to sea – just be prepared to walk once you arrive, as there's a lot to explore.
The dining options in this resort are charmingly Greek, with a stand-out Greek and Turkish blend. Family-run tavernas serve home grown meals steeped in locally-made olive oil. There are a number of restaurants that'll have you dining underneath the stars and along the beach, or up a flight of steps so that you can steal incredible views of the sea.
As far as nightlife goes, Nea Kydonia keeps this chilled out. Many of the tavernas double as bars, so during the summer, you can always snag a seat from one of the restaurants' outdoor dining areas, along the beach or on the street side and enjoy a cool drink. Nearby Chania also offers a further range of after-hours fun, from metal bars to Irish pubs and low-key cocktail spots.
Dreaming of olive oil
For authentic souvenirs to remember your Greek adventure by, Chania is the place to head. It's packed with unassuming shops with big personality, boasting locally-grown produce and handcrafted wares. There are also a number of marketplaces and brand retailers.
Crete is famous for its olive oil, which can be infused in just about everything – including soap – and also offers signature wines and raki to take home. Chania's Zambeliou Street is a retail hotspot for picking up authentic Cretan products, and is where you can watch craftspeople at work.
Only a 15-minute drive away you'll find the dynamic city of Chania, the second largest in all of Crete. It has all the amenities of a classic Greek holiday – a gorgeous Venetian harbour, a national park and botanic garden, plus miles of beaches and ancient ruins. It's also home to some off-the-beaten-path activities, like the Greek National Football Museum, historic monasteries and local wineries.
Chania offers the more up-and-running side to Nea Kydonia's laid-back lifestyle. You'll have your pick of shopping options, hundreds of restaurants and quirky bars to cosy into, all with the knowledge that easy-going Nea Kydonia is there to welcome you back after a busy day out.