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

The gorge of Agios Antonios is a small yet magnificent gorge, which begins at Ano Assites. It is 2 kilometres long and the elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is no more than 200 metres. 

  • region Heraklio, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 2 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Knossos (Knossano) is 6 kilometres long and,essentially,the natural continuation of the “sacred” mountain of Yiouktas. It is one of the three gorges of the Ecological-Archaeological Park of Yiouktas

  • region Archanes, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 6 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Agia Irini, a place of unique beauty and vegetation, is located at the western section of the Lefka Ori, near Agia Irini village, which belongs to the Municipality of Kandanos-Selinos. The gorge is part of the E4 European long distance path. It is 7,5 kilometres long and the walk through it requires approximately 3 hours. The entrance is situated near the village of Agίa Irini, and the outlet 5 kilometres north of the coastal village of Sougia

  • region Kantanos-Selino, Chania
  • path length

    about 7,5 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Anidri is small yet lovely. It is located in the Paleochora region, at the south-west end of the Chania Prefecture. It runs from the village of Anidri to the magnificent twin beaches at Gialiskari, which are separated by a small peninsula thick with junipers. The gorge is 2 kilometres long. It requires less than 1 hour to pass through, and a little more than that to return to the village. 

  • region Kantanos-Selino, Chania
  • path length

    about 2 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Roza, which is located in the Municipality of Chersonissos, is essentially a branch of the Ambelos gorge. It is an uphill route 3 kilometres long, with an elevation difference of 300 metres. The route in the gorge is relatively easy, with a few difficult spots, and the time required is 1½ hour. Passingthrough the gorge is permitted from April to November.

  • region Hersonissos, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 3 km

  • activities Hiking, Mountaineering, Bird Watching

The gorge of Havgas is the only one within the Municipality of the Lassithi plateau area. It is fairly even and easily accessible to everyone, until the location of Neraidokolimbos (= fairy puddle), which can be easily recognized by a perfectly round boulder that has fallen into the watercourse, blocking the way to the rest of the gorge. 

  • region Lasithi Plateau, Lasithi
  • path length

    about 3 km

  • activities Hiking, Mountaineering, Canyoning

The gorge of Kalo Chorio is rather small, yet quite remarkable. It is 4 kilometres long and the elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is 260 metres

  • region Hersonissos, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 4 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Astraki (Astrakiano) is quite long (12,5 kilometres), however it is not difficult to pass through. The elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is 200 metres. The gorge begins a little outside Astraki village, passes through the inland area and ends up at Karteros area. 

  • region Archanes, Heraklio
  • path length

    about 12,5 km

  • activities Hiking

The gorge of Kounavi (Kounaviano) is 5 kilometres long in total. The elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is 180 metres. 

  • region Chania, Chania
  • path length

    5 km

  • activities Hiking
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