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 one of the most magnificent small gorges of Crete, with impressive rock formations and rich vegetation. It begins south of Pefki village and ends up a little to the north of the location of Aspros Potamos, at Makris Gialos. There is a very well landscaped footpath which follows the watercourse for almost its entire length. 

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    2 km

  • activities Hiking

A small but very beautiful gorge, which is located near the village of Mithi, 22 kilometres west of Ierapetra, at the south-eastern foot of mount Dikti.

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    1,5 km

  • activities Hiking, Canyoning

Ha Gorge is considered to be the most imposing gorge of Eastern Crete, owing to its impressive geomorphology. It is also considered a canyoning enthusiast’s paradise, especially in spring, when there is quite a lot of water left in its potholes that is still clear enough. The gorge of Ha is rich in endemic flora and bird species. 

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    1,6 km

  • activities Climbing, Canyoning

The imposing bare slopes at the southern entrance make this gorge one of the most interesting geological formations of Psiloritis. Passing through its course is fairly easy. It is a marvellous place, thick in vegetation, where deciduous oaks dominate the scenery.

  • region Phaistos, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 2,5 km

  • activities Hiking, Mountaineering

This is an interesting gorge which begins at Orino village and ends up at the area of Koutsouras. Despite the catastrophic fires suffered by the forest in Orino area,the gorge remains one of the most beautiful ecosystems of the region, being thick with vegetation. The walk through the gorge is fairly easy and relatively effortless. 

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    3,5 km

  • activities Hiking

An exceptionally beautiful gorge, with a fairly easy route stretching almost throughout its length. It begins south of Pervolakia village and ends up at the lovely coastal area of Kapsas Monastery.

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    3 km

  • activities Hiking

Havgas gorge is a small yet spectacular gorge, which ends up east of Kavoussi village.

It is ideal for canyoning and it requires special equipment and skill. Those who wish to simply walkcan follow the ancient footpath which runs parallel to the gorge. 

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    1,1 km

  • activities Climbing, Canyoning

The gorge of Messonas is the continuation of the gorge of Havgas to the south-east, in the direction of mount Thripti.

It requires special equipment and skill, however it is also good for trekking, on the ancient path which begins at Kavoussi, continues via Havgas and then carries on parallel to the gorge of Messonas

  • region Ierapetra, Lasithi
  • path length

    2 km

  • activities Hiking, Climbing, Canyoning

The gorge of Topolia (Topolianó) is located in the inland area of Kissamos, at the western end of the Chania Prefecture. It begins at the village of Topolia and after approximately 1.500 metres it ends up at a verdant valley, next to Koutsomatados village. The walk down the gorge, which is fairly easy, requires about one hour

  • region Kisamos, Chania
  • path length

    1,5 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Kritsa begins at the north-eastern exit of the historical village of Kritsa and ends up at a flat area 2,5 kilometres to the north. Continuing in the watercourse from this point, one arrives at the entrance to the second section of the gorge, which is a lot more difficult. After a tiring climb, it leads to the foot of the Tsivi peak, over Katharo plateau. 

  • region Mirampelo, Lasithi
  • path length

    about 2 km

  • activities Hiking
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