Chania is really the jewel of Crete. The old Venetian port, the twisting alleys, the honey-colored stone, the smells from the restaurants and the bursts of fragrant purple bougainvillea . . . how many people have sat here over a coffee and dreamed of buying a little house on the waterfront? Photographers and bon vivants will love the town, and culture lovers won’t be disappointed. There are at least three excellent museums (the Archeological, the Byzantine and the Maritime) and a remarkable replica of a Minoan-era ship that was built for the 2004 Athens Olympics. Wherever you go, the food is likely to be fantastic, made with the rich ingredients of this fertile island. Chania makes a natural base for sightseeing and tours. Whether you like boat excursions or mountain trekking, you can quickly go south to the colossal Samaria Gorge and barren White Mountains, or explore the little-visited west coast. The villages of the island’s mountainous center are largely untouched by the tourist hordes and worth visiting for exactly this reason.