HANIÁ, as any of its residents will tell you, is spiritually the capital of Crete, even if the political title was passed back to Iráklion. It is also the island’s most attractive city, especially if you can catch it in spring, when the White Mountains’ snowcapped peaks seem to hover above the roofs. Although it is for the most part a modern city, you might never know it as a tourist. Surrounding the harbour is a wonderful jumble of Venetian streets that survived the wartime bombardments, while simply wandering the old town you will discover old city walls, Ottoman, Byzantine and Minoan ruins. Restoration and gentrification, consequences of the tourist boom, have made inroads of late, but it remains an atmospheric place.

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