Chania Botanical Park

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Location: Fournes

The Botanical Park of Chania is one of the most impressive attractions in Crete thanks to its wide variety of plants, herbs and animals. It is located in the White Mountains, 20km away from the noisy Town of Chania, and occupies an area of 20 hectares with plants native to various climatic zones. The park was built in 2003, following a devastating wildfire that burnt everything on the mountainside, including almost a hundred thousand olive trees, aged more than 400 years. A burnt olive tree still stands amidst the strong and healthy vegetation of today, to serve as a reminder of tragedies passed.

The park is comprised of an impressive variety of plants, including lemon and other citrus trees, cherry trees, vineyards, and various herbs, many of which are endemic to Crete; the island’s unique climate also allows the garden to include a number of plants native to tropical climate zones.
Apart from impressive flora, however, the park also boasts an array of fauna, with many birds, including buzzards, kestrels, crows, thrushes, finches, wrens, blackbirds, swallows, sparrows, turtle doves, nightingales, robins, and even hoopoes!
Other specimens of Crete’s wildlife include hares, badgers, hedgehogs, martens and weasels, and the endangered Crete spiny mouse.
Unique lizards and amphibians are also found here, such as tree frogs, the Balkan green lizard, and the European rat snake, believed to have been an object of worship in Minoan times. Special mention must be made of the Cretan frog and Cretan wall lizard, two species endemic to the island.

Spring is the ideal season for visiting this park because the majority of flowers and trees will have blossomed and one can appreciate the details of all the different species.
There exist a number of garden paths and labels with descriptions and useful information for each plant species. At the bottom of the paths, visitors will encounter a beautiful artificial lake that houses various wild birds, ducks and peacocks, a stunning diversity of butterflies, and many ungulates, such as donkeys, deer, and goats. A hike through this park is highly educational and entertaining for both children and their parents as everyone can learn a lot about the flora and fauna native to Crete.

A stone theatre, in reminiscence of ancient Greek styles, is also built next to the gardens and the olive orchards in order to host some events, like traditional dance nights and even weddings.
An exceptional part of this park is its restaurant, which offers a panoramic view of the lush vegetation below from its big balcony. The restaurant’s menu varies each day, with the garden’s very own herbs, fruits, and seeds used in its dishes. A tourist shop is also present here, allowing visitors to buy an assortment of local products to take home.

The garden is open Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 20:30 (Garden) and from 11:00 to 18:00 (restaurant). It only welcomes visitors between March and November.



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