Koum Kapi in Chania

Koum Kapi is the district just outside the east walls of the old town of Chania. The name Koum Kapi is Turkish in origin and means Sand Gate (Kum Kapisi). There is indeed a gate in the Venetian walls here, leading to a sandy beach.

Koum Kapi Key Facts

For those looking for a destination that uniquely combines historical fascination, dynamic surroundings and culinary excellence, Koum Kapi is the place to be. It is also within walking distance of Chania’s Venetian harbour and old town. This area offers delightful cafes, bars, restaurants and several cosy, contemporary hotels. However, the beach, which is narrow and unorganised, is not Koum Kapi’s main attraction.

koum kapi in chania

From Halikoutes to today’s Koum Kapi

In the mid-19th century there was a Bedouin village at Koum Kapi, the district of the Halikoutes as they were called. Two to three thousand people, mostly working as boatmen, porters and servants, lived there in rush huts. No trace of the quarter remains today, and the huts have been replaced by smart, trendy cafeterias.

Today Koum Kapi is one of the prettiest parts of Chania, where the young people of Chania go to amuse themselves, especially on summer evenings. Koum Kapi with its beautiful seafront promenade is lined with cafes, bars and restaurants.

Koum Kapi Beach

Koum Kapi beach, located under a pedestrian road and stretching east for about 1km, was once a popular swimming spot. A decline in the quality of the seawater led to a swimming ban, but recent improvements in water treatment, verified by the city’s water and sanitation department, have made the water safe again. However, the beach has not regained the confidence of local people.

What to do in Koum Kapi:

Soak up the vibrant atmosphere: Koum Kapi is a bustling hub of activity, especially in the evenings and at weekends. Have a drink at a rooftop bar, listen to live music at a cosy cafe or stroll along the promenade and soak up the vibrant atmosphere. Check out local bands or DJs playing at the many bars and cafes in the area, and dance the night away.

Attend a summer festival: Throughout the summer, Koum Kapi hosts various festivals and events.

Indulge in culinary delights: Koum Kapi is a foodie’s paradise, offering a wide range of dining options. Sample traditional Cretan cuisine at local tavernas, enjoy fresh seafood at waterfront restaurants or indulge in international cuisine at trendy cafes and bistros.

Explore historical landmarks: Koum Kapi is dotted with historical landmarks, including the Sabbionara Bastion, a Venetian-era fortification and the entrance to the old city walls. Wander through these remnants of the past and imagine the rich history that surrounds you.

Stroll along the picturesque promenade: The coastal promenade at Koum Kapi is a lovely destination for a leisurely stroll. Take in the stunning views of the harbour and the Aegean Sea, enjoy the refreshing sea breeze and soak up the vibrant atmosphere.

Visit nearby attractions: Koum Kapi is conveniently located close to many of Chania’s other attractions such as the Old Town, the Venetian Arsenal and the Municipal Market. Explore these historical and cultural gems while you’re in the area.

Summer Festivals and Events

Koum Kapi is the epicentre of cultural festivities in Chania, especially during the summer. The Chania Summer Festival, which runs from July to September, is a highlight with a wide range of live performances including music, dance and theatre.

Dance Days Chania International Festival

Another cultural gem is the Dance Days Chania International Festival of Contemporary Dance, held annually between 22 July and 2 August. This event, which attracts international talent, takes place at the Chania Conservatory in Koum Kapi.

Municipal Summer Cultural Festival

The Municipal Cultural Summer Festival, an initiative of the Chania Municipality, takes place simultaneously from July to September, offering theatre, concerts, lectures, exhibitions and sports, adding to the cultural richness of the area.

The Open Air Theatre

Koum Kapi also has an open-air theatre with a capacity of 1,350 people, a popular venue for plays and concerts throughout the summer months.

Staying Informed

If you’re planning to visit, it’s a good idea to check the official websites or local tourism sources for the latest information on events and their schedules, as these can vary from year to year.

Restaurants in Koum Kapi

PiLi Restaurant Bar: With a 4.8-star Facebook rating, this Mediterranean and Greek restaurant is a local favorite. Open 5pm-midnight daily, it offers scenic views and dishes like grilled octopus, lamb kleftiko, and fresh seafood. Reviewers praise the friendly service, charming ambiance, and flavorful food.

KOUMKAPI: Rated 4.7 stars on Google Maps, KOUMKAPI serves Mediterranean and Greek cuisine 24 hours a day. Visitors recommend trying the moussaka, stuffed peppers, Greek salads, and fresh fish. The outdoor seating area is delightful in nice weather.

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