The center of Chania, on the island of Crete, is set for a makeover as of next year with the municipality expected to introduce pedestrian and bike-friendly changes.

The plan, currently in public consultation, is seen being finalised soon with construction work likely to commence in the spring of 2022, municipality officials tell 

According to the blueprint, work will include increasing the number of one-way streets, reducing car traffic in central districts, widening streets and footpaths and adding bike lanes.

Chania to become a more bike-friendly city

Apart from introducing greener solutions for the city, which has a population of about 110,000 people, the plan also targets a drop in traffic accidents, officials say.

Long one of Greece’s leading tourist destinations, Crete welcomes more than 5 million visitors a year and boasts several world-class tourist attractions like the Minoan era Knossos Palace, the legendary site of King Minos and the Minotaur. Over the last two years, foreign investors have engaged in a number of deals and resort projects on the island. 

Cities like Chania and Heraklion have also become increasingly popular with buyers seeking a second home, pushing real estate prices higher.

Demand for homes in the two cities is outpacing supply despite the uncertainty created by the pandemic, say consultants Danos. The market in Crete for beachside holiday homes and villas looks poised to benefit quickly from Greece’s improved economic conditions, property experts add.

The island, the Mediterranean’s fifth-largest, has also been drawing a growing number of digital nomads. In an attempt to provide a boost to this lucrative market, the Greek government tabled a bill in parliament in late August introducing a digital nomad visa allowing stays of up to 18 months in the country.

Improving infrastructure

Greece is currently investing billions of euros to upgrade Crete’s transport and power infrastructure.

Work has recently begun on a new 1.5 billion euro international airport in Kastelli – southeast of Heraklion — and is expected to be in operation by the end of 2023.

Also, underway is a 2 billion euro highway project stretching along the north coast of Crete, said to be one of the largest public works projects in Europe. 

Greece’s power transmission company also recently linked Crete with the mainland’s power grid for the first time following the laying of a 397 million euros, 174 kilometer subsea power cable, boosting energy reliability on the island.

This article was first published here. 

For more Real Estate News & Views on Greece and Europe’s South, head to The Greek Guru.

Stelios Bouras

A journalist for nearly two decades, Stelios has covered everything in the Greek capital, ranging from the politics and the economy to dancing architects and the souvlaki. Writing is his passion. After covering Greece for The Wall Street Journal and Reuters, he is now narrowing in on real estate and architecture. He believes that homes are more than a place to eat and sleep in and that light, design and space shape lives, along with the features of a building. Originally from Melbourne, he knows how to break down complex Greek issues into easy to understand stories for a foreign audience. He writes on real estate and the economy on his blog

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