Maritime Museum of Crete (Nautical Museum of Crete)
Whether you’re touring Chania’s old town and fortress on foot, or by bike, Segway, or Trikke, a stop at the Venetian-built Firkas Fortress at the entrance to Chania harbor is a must. Since 1973, this sprawling complex—once used as a barracks and prison—has housed the Maritime Museum of Crete (sometimes translated as the Nautical Museum of Crete), and many tours take a turn through the collections to admire amphorae, cooking utensils, and other plunder from ancient shipwrecks; reproductions of Minoan galleys; a Bronze Age trireme; and a model bridge from a World War II torpedo boat. A section is also given over to the German invasion of Crete in 1941, illustrated with photographs and personal testimonies. In addition, the museum offers a small exhibition of shells showcasing the diversity of Mediterranean sea life and a well-stocked library of maritime books.
Things to know before you go
- Kids enjoy taking in the collection of detailed models of ancient and modern ships, and sometimes you can catch artists working on new model ships in the museum’s workshop.
- You will be spending a significant amount of time on your feet exploring the fortress and museum, so be prepared to walk and wear comfortable shoes.
- The fortress is known for its great views, so bring your camera to snap photos before or after visiting the museum
- The museum has a number of steps inside and outside, making it inaccessible to wheelchair users.
How to get there
The Maritime Museum is located in the Firkas Fortress on Chania’s Venetian Harbor, and is best reached on foot, though there is some parking in the area. Chania can be reached by daily ferry from Piraeus in Athens, and by plane via Chania International Airport, which is nine miles (14 km) from the town center.
When to get there
The museum is open daily throughout the year, though closes in the early afternoon during the winter months. The Firkas Fortress is one of the top sights in Chania and can get crowded at midday, so visit in the morning or just before closing time to enjoy the museum and complex without the throngs.
Chania’s Venetian Fortress
The Maritime Museum of Crete is located at Firkas Fortress which looms over Chania’s Venetian harbor and is one of the last remaining vestiges of the Venetian-built fortifications that once protected the city from attacks by pirates and Turks. In addition to the museum, the fortress is known for its views over the harbor.