This spindly, butter-colored stone tower stretches 69 feet (21 meters) high and is a highlight of most private or small-group Chania sightseeing tours on foot or by bike, Segway, Trikke, or car. Day trips and shore excursions from Heraklion often pair a city tour of Chania with stops at Lake Kournas and the town of Rethymno. The harbor is known for its lively traditional tavernas, so Chania food tours that stop for tastings at these waterfront eateries also take in the historic lighthouse, topped with a mini-minaret dating from the Ottoman Turk occupation of Crete.
For a particularly photogenic view, opt for one of the many boat tours and mini-cruises that pass the lighthouse as they skirt the coastline of Crete to explore Elafonisi Beach or head to the nearby islands of Theodorou, Glaronisi, and Lazaretto. Sunset cruises often offer dinner paired with Greek wine on board.
Things to know before you go
- The lighthouse is no longer operational and is closed to the public, but the sight of it soaring above the harbor is one of the most remarkable in Chania. Be sure to bring your camera to capture this postcard-perfect monument.
- Midday temperatures can soar in Chania, so wear a hat and sunblock when joining a tour or exploring on your own. Those who prefer cooler temperatures can opt for an early morning or sunset tour.
- The tavernas lining the harbor are a romantic spot for dinner with a view of the lighthouse.
- Visitors who get around with a wheelchair can admire the Venetian lighthouse from the harborfront promenade
How to get there
Standing guard over the harbor entrance, the Venetian Lighthouse can be reached by walking along the top of the breakwater. Locals and visitors alike crowd this promenade from sunset to late into the evening, strolling along its mile-long (1.5-kilometer) stretch to take in the cool sea breeze and view of the island.
When to get there
The lighthouse can only be seen from outside, so you can visit by day or night. During the day, the architectural details are easier to pick out; after sunset, the lighthouse is dramatically lit and one of the most romantic sights in Chania. There is no shade on the breakwater walkway to reach the base of the lighthouse, so avoid the hottest midday hours.
Chania’s Historic Venetian Harbor
The Venetian Lighthouse guards the entrance to Chania’s Venetian Harbor, one of the most charming and historic quarters of the town. Built during the 16th century when Crete was part of the Venetian Republic, the harbor today is lined by pastel-colored buildings that house bustling cafés and tavernas, the domed Mosque of Kioutsouk Hasan, and the Grand Arsenal.