First off, I should say that the heading to this blog is not alliterative. The town is pronounced something like ‘Hania’ – the ‘C’ is silent, as with so many of those places in Ukraine which begin with a ‘K’ but take their pronunciation from the second letter, ‘h’.

Just walking around the streets of Chania – shopping, eating, drinking or merely browsing – is a very pleasant experience

Chania is the second oldest town in Crete and undoubtedly one of the prettiest. The image of the harbour shown on the home page provides an emblematic example of this, the brightly coloured buildings being a legacy of the town’s development under Venetian rule. Its multicultural heritage is reflected by the fact that within about 200 yards of each other one can find a church, a mosque and a synagogue.

The rather majestic lighthouse which guards the harbour, set at the end of a long wall stretching out from the town

Crete formally became part of Greece in 1913. In common with many Mediterranean islands, Crete suffered under German occupation during the Second World War but with effect from the 1970s it has gradually become a significant tourist destination, a process which has effectively created two Chanias: the old town and the modern one. (Walking in one of the latter parts of town, my wife and I noted it was pretty obvious which part it was: at the outdoor bar tables, the only voices you heard were speaking Greek.) This where most of the natives live and work and while it may, perhaps inevitably, lack some of the charm of the old part, it is attractive in its own right.

The White Mountains (Lefka Ori in Greek) often stay snow-capped until June even though bathers can happily enjoy seaside pursuits

The fortifications that divide the two sectors of the town are impressive, a testament to what the citizens of Chania had to do in the past to repel intruders. These days there is nothing more threatening than tourists, and while the north coast of Crete is gorgeous territory, this part of the island never felt over-crowded. At least not in May. There is one particularly eye-catching edifice: the municipal market, a covered area where local farm produce is sold each morning. Unluckily for us, our visit coincided during a period of reconstruction, meaning it was closed.

A stunning sunset is a visual delight wherever one is, and it is certainly the case when you’re on a Greek beach

Of course, there is not just an ancient city to enjoy here. There’s the sea. Frankly, May is too early in the season for me (I much prefer September, after the waters have enjoyed a few months of sun) but the Oasis Beach, which runs between Chania and Kalamaki, is particularly splendid and on the weekend especially it was apparent how much the locals, notably the children, took so much pleasure from their surroundings. And no wonder.