Gorges of Crete

Crete, on the whole, is a mountainous island. Its mountain ranges are torn apart by magnificent, deep, wild gorges, which begin at high altitudes and usually end up at the coast.

Given the fact tha­­t these gorges were formed by the united forces of water, wind and sun, they are rightfully considered true monuments of nature. In the Sfakia area alone, within a distance of 35 kilometres, there are 15 gorges, located roughly parallel to one another.  

The most famous of them is the gorge of Samaria. Numerous rare endemic species of flora grow there, and a large number of raptors nest in the cracks on its walls: Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus), Golden Eagles (Aquilachrysaetos), Bearded Vultures (Gypaetus barbatus), etc. The famous Cretan wild goat (Capra aegagrus cretica), which was believed to be the sacred animal of Britómartys (the Artemis of the Minoans) also finds shelter in the gorge of Samarià.

Information about the main gorges of Crete is provided below.

From

This is a small gorge of spectacular beauty. It begins near the village of Hametoulo and ends up at a lovely beach south of Xerokambos.

  • region Sitia, Lasithi
  • path length

    3 km

  • activities Hiking

One passes by the gorge of Xerokambos during the drive from Zakros to Xerókambos. There is no specific route, therefore passing through does require some caution. The elevation difference is approximately 100 metres. After the location of Agrilia, at the spot where the many branches of the gorge unite, the scenery is truly magnificent. From this point until the outlet at the beach, the distance is approximately 1,5 kilometre. 

  • region Sitia, Lasithi
  • path length

    1,5 km

  • activities Hiking

This is the third gorge of Goudouras area. It is small and rough. It begins at the abandoned settlement of Samakidi and ends up north of Goudouras village.

  • region Sitia, Lasithi
  • path length

    1 km

  • activities Climbing, Canyoning

A small gorge with impressive caverns. It was named after the chapel of Agios Antonios which can be seen at the northern entrance. It ends up at Goudouras area. Passing through the gorge, one encounters several difficult spots which require technical equipment.

  • region Sitia, Lasithi
  • path length

    1,3 km

  • activities Climbing, Canyoning

This is a small, easy gorge to pass through, with no special requirements in skill or equipment. It begins at a large flat area south of the settlement of Messa Apidi and reaches the northern entrance to the gorge of Goudouras, which is essentially its continuation, 2,5 kilometres to the south. The elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is approximately 400 metres. 

  • region Sitia, Lasithi
  • path length

    2,5 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Agios Nikolaos is flanked by the peaks of Ambelakia, to the east, and Samari, to the west. It is considered as the most important gorge of Psiloritis and of Central Crete, and it was named after the Byzantine chapel of Agios Nikolaos which is located at its southern entrance. It extends along the imposing southern part of Psiloritis, from the north heading south, and it connects Rouvas forest to the north with the valley of Koutsoulidis river to the south, in the Zaros area. 

  • region Phaistos, Heraklio
  • path length

    5 km (10 miles roundtrip from Rouvas Forest)

  • activities Hiking, Mountaineering, Climbing, Bird Watching

The spectacular, verdant gorge of Patsos is located in the inland area of the Prefecture of Rethymnon, at the north-west part of the Municipality of Amari. It is a beautiful gorge with a small river running through it. It has been developed for the visitors’ ease of walking, by the Forest Authority.It is 2 kilometres long and the walk requires 2 hours in total,including the return to the entrance. The elevation difference between the highest point and the entrance reaches 240 metres. 

  • region Amari, Rethymno
  • path length

    2 km

  • activities Hiking, Bird Watching

Agiofarago (or Agiofarango meaning the Saints' Gorge) is probably the most impressive reasonably manageable gorge of the Asterousia. It is approximately 1,5 kilometre long and it ends up at a magnificent beach

  • region Phaistos, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 1,5 km

  • activities Hiking, Climbing

This is one of the most characteristic and most beautiful gorges of South Central Crete. It is located at the western foot of the Asterousia mountain range, right next to Agiofarango, and south of Odigitria Monastery. It is 2 kilometres long and the elevation difference between the entrance and the beach of Martsalo, where it ends up, is approximately 145 metres. 

  • region Phaistos, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 2 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Katholiko, also known as To Avlaki tou Agίou (= water channel of the saint), as locals call it, is located at the northern end of Akrotίri, near Chania, very close to Gouverneto Monastery

  • region Chania, Chania
  • path length

    about 3 km (total route length)

  • activities Hiking
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