One of my favourite places in Chania, Crete, is the covered Agora Market. Located in the city centre, it is the best place to buy some cheap, but good souvenirs, experience Cretan local life and sample the island‘s famous cuisine. I have spent some very memorable moments at the Agora Market and it was around 10 minutes by foot from my guest house. The market featured twice in my daily Chania routine and the walking did me good. The local tavernas there served delicious food at pocket friendly prices and I used to feast like no tomorrow. Thus, a brisk walk before and after the market visits were exactly what I needed and the weather too was very balmy at that time. Spring was in full bloom, the sun shone every day from a brilliant blue sky and the sea was a calm sheet of aquamarine. Orange and citrus trees were heavy with fruits and the Cretan air was full of scents. The country side was a carpet of wild flowers and a slight chill still made the mornings and evenings to be cuddle perfect.
The afternoons, however, were always warm and a mature sun used to light up the old town of Chania in soft shadows. The fading colours of the buildings and the cobbled streets were minus the thick crowd of summer and flowers dappled the wrought iron balconies. Colourful fishing boats bobbed merrily at the old port and it was a quiet lovely time to be in Crete. I was baby mooning alone in Chania at that time and early pregnancy fatigue made me explore less. However, I was very satisfied with my molasses slow lazy days at the old town and Chania gave me loads and loads of happy idle moments. As mentioned before, Agora Market saw me twice everyday and soon I became a familiar face with the taverna owners. The familiarity grew so thick, that once I even got invited to a private family gathering and shared a table on which the centrepiece was a roasted goat head. The centrepiece was meant for eating and roasted sheep/goat head is a delicacy of Crete.
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Though, I managed to wriggle myself out of eating the goat head, my Agora Market memories are warm and friendly. Designed on the lines of the market in Marseilles in France, Agora Market is a cross shaped building which houses 76 shops, cafes and tavernas. Before the supermarket era, it used to be “the” place to buy fish and meat. Thus, every morning, the market used to be a kind of meeting place for locals and their favourite vendors and it still retains that old world charm. Though fish is now available only in the mornings, meat, vegetables and other local products can be bought there until the closing time. It is a very lively and photogenic place and the local goods found there are exotic in every sense. Figs, lemons, Greek mountain tea, thyme honey, local olive oil, sheep‘s cheese and variety of herbs and spices entice the visitors and Raki bottles add to the buzz.
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With so much of pocket friendly fun, shopping and photogenic moments, it is no doubt, that Agora Market is one of Chania‘s unmissable places and the food there is simply to die for. Crete is a hotbed of mouthwatering fresh produce and they are sold in photogenic piles at Agora. Go there for breakfast and enjoy hearty bowls of rustic lentil soup with warm bread. Sample the market bakery‘s drool worthy sesame seeds sprinkled kuuri bread and flaky savoury spanakopita for a change. Laced with feta cheese, it is a delicious spinach pastry which simply melts in the mouth. In the afternoons, tuck into freshly cooked cuttle fish with platter of grilled pepper and give into the pleasure of people watching over endless cups of thick coffee and raki shots. Alternate between the fish restaurant Pissas and the much popular Stavros and Stamatis, shop for traditional Cretan products at the highly regarded store Valiraki and melt your time away with endless photo moments. Travel leisure cannot get more delicious than this and Agora Market is guaranteed to please.
TRAVEL TIP – Agora Market is open all days of the week, except Sunday from 0800 am to 0130 pm and on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, it spills into the evening hours until 0800 pm. On every Saturday a lively outdoor market is held outside the covered zone and it is a great place to shop for fresh fruits, vegetables, cheese, fish and handbags.
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