Chania Archaeological Museum
Chania Town
Multimedia Map Description
Chania Town

How to get

A Glimpse into Crete’s Past and Present Nestled on Crete’s northwest shore, Chania, once the regional capital until 1971, now stands as the island’s second-largest urban area. Its location is a tapestry of natural beauty, where the sea’s breeze, the warm Mediterranean sun, and pristine air mingle.

Humanity’s presence here dates back to ancient times, with archaeological discoveries tracing back to the Paleolithic era and early human settlements, including the ancient city-state of Cydonia. Chania’s rich history includes periods under Venetian and Ottoman rule, as well as a German occupation. For over a century, it has been part of modern Greece.


Established in 1962, the Chania Archaeological Museum became a cultural gem within a former Venetian church. Before finding this semi-permanent home, its vast collection of artifacts was displayed in various local settings including schools and mosques. Nearly six decades have passed with discussions of relocation emerging since 2008. The museum’s unique charm lies in its blend of Venetian design and Eastern flair, brought over from Turkey, making it a historical hotspot in Northwest Crete.

The precise foundation date of St. Francis Monastery-Church is unknown, but it’s confirmed to have withstood a major earthquake in 1595. It was the largest religious edifice in the area. Its grandeur is evident, as the conquering Ottomans converted it into a mosque named after Yusuf Pasha instead of destroying it. A remnant of that era is the partially preserved octagonal ablution fountain. Post-war, the site served various purposes, including military storage and a cinema. Recognizing its historic value, the Greeks later repurposed it for cultural and touristic enjoyment.

Reasons to Visit a Museum

1.     Discover Rich Histories and Masterful Artistry: Exploring a museum’s collection offers a deeper understanding of the region’s storied past and a chance to admire the craftsmanship of ancient architects.

2.     Escape the Heat in a Serene Sanctuary: Nestled within the cool confines of an old temple, the museum offers a respite from the scorching heat. Wandering among classical sculptures provides a pleasant and leisurely way to cool off.

3.     The museum is situated in the heart of the city, with the most captivating attractions of Chania within easy walking distance. Nearby, one can explore the Venetian Fountain, Kucuk Hasan Mosque, Cretan Maritime Museum, the Venetian Lighthouse, among others.

Collection Highlights

Showcasing a variety of archaeological discoveries, the museum’s collection spans several historical periods, from the Neolithic era to the 3rd century Roman times.

The exhibit hall proudly displays an array of ancient artifacts, including pottery, engravings, delicate jewelry, statues, stone carvings, and precious gold coins. Among these, the clay tablets and busts stand out. A highlight is the Roman-era mosaic, featuring scenes with Poseidon, Dionysus, and the nymph Aminonis.

Notably, there’s

·        a Cycladic marble bowl dating back to 3200−2500 BCE.

·        Early Minoan Avian Pot (3000−2300 BCE): A pottery piece shaped like a bird from the early Minoan period.

·        Minoan Seal (1450−1400 BCE): An intricately designed seal from Minoan civilization.

·        Minoan Burial Urn (1300−1250 BCE): A terracotta vessel linked to Minoan funeral rites.

·        Bust of Emperor Hadrian: A sculpture representing the Roman leader, Hadrian.

·        Statue of Artemis: A representation of the Greek goddess of the hunt.

·        Ancient Greek Gold Diadem: A golden headband from Greek antiquity.

·        Bird-Faced Women Figurines (600−575 BCE): Clay statuettes depicting women with avian features from late Greek history.

·        Hellenistic Pottery and Ancient Toy Exhibit

Visit the Archaeological Museum of Chania, nestled in the city’s heart on Chalidon Street, which bisects the old town and leads to the waterfront. It’s a brief 20-minute, 13.8 km drive from Chania International Airport.

Directions: Exit the airport parking onto EO Aerodromiou Soudas for 2.6 km, take the first exit at the roundabout, continue on the same road for 4.3 km, take another first exit at the next roundabout onto Κonstantinou Μitsotaki for 2.8 km. This street becomes Manousou Koundourou (550 m), which ends at the coast. Turn left at the intersection, follow El. Venizelou for 1.2 km, pass Central Market Square (58 m), and take Chatzimichali Giannari (200 m). Turn right onto Chalidon, and in 220 m, on the left, you’ll find the museum marked by a triangular roof and a round window above the entrance.

To reach your destination from other major cities such as Rethymno or Heraklion, head towards the E75/EO90 highway that runs along the northern coast. Follow it to the village of Mournies. Once there, take a right turn following signs for CHANIA. After covering a distance of 2.7 km, make a left towards Central Market Square/Sofoklis Venizelos Square, following indications for Old Town. In 250 meters, make a right turn, and after about 200 meters, on your left side, you’ll spot a building with a triangular roof and a round window above the entrance.


1.     You’re free to take non-commercial photos, but if you’re bringing professional gear, you’ll need to get a permit and pay a fee.

2.     Guides Available: At the museum entrance, you can buy guidebooks that provide deeper insights into the collection.

3.     Museum Tour Strategy: Consider visiting the Archaeological Museum in Chania before heading to the one in Heraklion. Since Heraklion is the regional capital, it houses the most prominent discoveries. Viewing the regional museum afterward may seem less impressive.

4.     Language Readiness: Ensure you have a translation app ready on your phone, as signs are predominantly in English and Greek.

5.     Resting Spot: Discover a serene haven within the courtyard where you can unwind on benches under the cooling shade of trees.