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The spectacular gorge of Patsos is located in the inland area of Rethymnon, at Amari region. It is a beautiful gorge with a small river running through it

Into the Patsos Gorge mysteries

Patsos Gorge is located inland of Rethymno Prefecture, at the municipality of Amari

Before the entrance below, you can find a small tavern/cafe. It will be useful on your way back…

Visiting Patsos gorge would be a kind of resting/relaxing experience, so to end the day long tour. There was no hiking in the tour schedule (it was late anyway), but along with Maria we decided to do it on our own, just for the experience.

Click to open image!Agios Antonios Rethymno Crete

The whole day tour was so amazing that gave us the kind of energy we needed, to decide to hike through the gorge.

At the entrance of the gorge, there is the cave-chapel of Agios Antonios (Saint Anthony).

There is a spring there with cold fresh water, lots of shade and outdoor tables to just site and relax.

The gorge is not very well marked but in specific places are red marks on the gorge walls. You can’t really get lost.

We have to say that at some points we really needed to think and find the way to proceed further. But there was a way through in all cases.

The total length is 3km (total, back and forth). That length is not too much in normal asphalt road walking conditions.

Yet, inside a gorge with huge rocks and obstacles, it can be long enough.

When there is still water (not so much in August) there exist small but shallow lagoons with impressive waterfalls.

springs at Spili village

Some areas of the gorge route are crossed through wooden ladders, with additional ropes (already in place) to get a grip. There is no actual “climbing” with ropes. They are there for safety.

Make sure you wear proper hiking shoes or sandals. No flip-flops, as we saw some doing the gorge with such and they -indeed- mentioned it was difficult.

At the end of the gorge (exit), there is an artificial lake created by Potamoi dam. A variety of ecosystems is hosted there.

To get to the lake simply walk under a cement bridge. You will easily find that as the route stops there.

Just go under it. The lake It is just 50-80 meters after that.

Precautions for Patsos Gorge, Cret

Make sure the weather is fine without any chance for rain, since the gorge doesn’t have side exits and it may become dangerous with rain.

Also, make sure to do it during day time (preferably during morning), in order to avoid being in there in late afternoon. Sun light is reduced fast in such places due to high gorge walls and plantation.Patsos or Agios Antonios gorge Rethymno Crete

SOURCE : A Greek Adventure

Foto: @mastrohimios

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if you are in search of the best beaches to visit in Crete, here is our first suggestion: Agiofarago beach.
Located about 80km south of Heraklion city, at the exit of the homonym Gorge of Agiofarago, clear blue waters await you!
The beauty of the place exists to its not so easy access as if you want to go, you should either hike for approximately 50′ the gorge or catch a boat from Matala, Agia Galini, or Kali Limenes.

The crystal secluded beach at the end of Agiofarago Gorge

Agiofarago Gorge, one of the special gorges In Crete, is located in Heraklion, between the Monastery of Odigitria and the seaside village Kaloi Limenes. It will take you about 20 minutes to cross. At the beginning of the route, you will see the church of Agia Kyriaki which is in a cave! In the gorge is also the church of St. Anthony which is also partly in a cave and was the center of the ascetics of the region. The several archaeological findings in Agiofarago, show that there has been activity in the Minoan and Venetian times. Characteristic is the Minoan, circular, domed tomb near the church of St. Anthony. Shortly after, you will find a cave with a low entrance and a large room. The Abbot of the Monastery of St. Anthony lived there.

According to history, Agiofarago was inhabited by hermits since at least the 11th century. When you cross the gorge you will reach a beautiful beach overlooking the Libyan Sea! We recommend good to keep water with you, as in the gorge there are no sources of water.

 


The narrowest point of Imbros Gorge

Gorges in Crete are the magnificent monuments of nature and will give you a flavor of the beauty of this wonderful Greek Island. If you are an adventurous traveler, there are many opportunities to explore the great gorges and mountains in Crete. The options for hiking in the island are countless, so we have selected only the most popular and beautiful gorges in Crete.

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1) Samaria Gorge, the most famous of all Gorges In Crete

gorges in crete samaria gorgeThe famous “Doors” in Samaria Gorge, Crete

Samaria Gorge is one of the most famous gorges in Crete. It is located in the sierra of White Mountains in Chania. Its length is 18 km and is the longest gorge of Crete and Europe. It has a width from 150 meters to 3 meters, which is the narrowest point of the gorge, called “Doors”. In 1962 it was declared a National Park of Greece and residence of many endemic birds and different species. The most famous of the animals that find refuge in Samaria Gorge is the Cretan goat (Kri Kri). There also herbs and rare plants growing there, such as the wild burning bush and wild flowers.

The entire trail is very well marked and is the most walked path in Greece. The path to the gorge begins from Omalos, at Xyloskalo point, at an altitude of 1,200 m. It is a narrow path that descends. From the very beginning you feel the awe dominating you: majestic mountains and an endless ravine gush in front of you! The end of the route is beautiful, as you face the Libyan Sea and the magnificent beach of Agia Roumeli! A refreshing dip in the sea and relaxing on the shore of the beach is the beautiful end of our tour in the beautiful and majestic Gorge Samaria – the most famous of all gorges in Crete!

2) The Gorge of Agia Irini in Chania

The Gorge of Agia Irini - Corges in CreteAgia Irini Gorge In Crete

The gorge of Agia Irini (St. Irene) in Selino is located in the west of the White Mountains, 43 km from Chania. The gorge has  a unique beauty , it was named like this from the village of Agia Irini located near the north entrance. It has a length of 7.5 km and is part of the European E4 path. The time required for crossing it is about 3 hours. The village of Sougia with its beautiful beach is 5 km from the southern entrance of the gorge. In the gorge shelter many animal species like the Cretan wild goat (Kri Kri) and grow several species of trees, plants and herbs.

During the Turkish occupation in the gorge found refuge many Greek rebels. In the surrounding area is the beautiful church of Christ, built in 1358 AD and the church of St. George, which was built in 1460 AD, and other important monuments and sights worth seeing. The Gorge of Agia Irini is the second most important of the gorges in Crete after Samaria Gorge.

3) Imbros Gorge In Chania

The narrowest point of Imbros GorgeThe narrowest point of Imbros Gorge

Imbros Gorge is certainly worth a visit, since it is one of the most beautiful and famous gorges in Crete. Its landscape will enchant you! It is near Sfakia, south of Chania. It starts from the small plateau of the village of Imbros and ends at the village Komitades offering wonderful views of the Libyan Sea. Its length is 7 km and is easy to be crossed any time of year. The time required is approximately 3 hours.

It is a gorge with rocky formations, narrow in some points and wild vegetation with trees, literally growing through the stones and rocks! The most beautiful part of the gorge is in the middle of the route where the rocks are very close to each other and the distance that separates them is only 2 meters.

4) Kourtaliotiko Gorge In Rethymno

Kourtaliotiko Gorge ends in the amazing beach of PreveliKourtaliotiko Gorge ends in the amazing beach of Preveli

Kourtaliotiko Gorge is located in the prefecture of Rethymnon about 22 km south of the city. It starts from the village Koxare, follows the river Kourtaliotis and ends in the beautiful beach of Preveli. Halfway through your journey you will meet the road that passes through the gorge with parking and paths leading to the beautiful church of St. Nicholas. Towards the end of the gorge there is a point that resembles a tropical lagoon and is called the beach of the palm trees.

The gorge has incredible beauty and the scenery is wild. It has rich flora and fauna and the river is divided into five streams which then are united and form small lakes and a huge waterfall! Throughout the route you will notice that the gorge is narrow and the rocks are huge and full of small caves. Kourtaliotiko Gorge is a miracle of nature, as many other gorges in Crete! It is really worth a walk to see the beauty and wildness of the Cretan landscape!

5) Patsos Gorge In Rethymno

The chapel of St. Anthony in the cave in Patos GorgeThe chapel of St. Anthony in the cave in Patos Gorge

The impressive, wooded Patsos Gorge located inland of Rethymno Prefecture, in the northwestern part of the municipality of Amari. It is a beautiful gorge, crossed by a small river. Its length reaches two kilometers and you will need 2 hours in total to cross it. The height difference between the entrance and its highest point, reaches 240 meters. In the gorge, you will find rest areas and a bird observatory.

You will be impressed by the huge trees and lush vegetation, the high rocky walls and the chapel of St. Anthony, built in a large cave. It is one of the most popular gorges in Crete for hiking adventures.

6) The Gorge of Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicolas)

The beautiful forest in Rouvas GorgeThe beautiful forest in Rouvas Gorge

The gorge of Agios Nikolaos or Rouvas Gorge is located in Heraklion. You can start from the Lake Zaros, and after 1.5 km you will come across the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos (St. Nicolas). You follow the path to the left and ascend towards the entrance of the gorge. The spectacle is not very pleasant since in 1994 that point burned (it is about the 1/3 of the gorge). But when you skip this point and keep hiking, you will see the real beauty!

The length of the gorge is 4 km and the route can be uphill or downhill. During the winter months and the early days of spring, the stream of the gorge is still flowing. All along the gorge there are resting places and fountains.

7) Agiofarago Gorge In Heraklion

The crystal secluded beach at the end of Agiofarago GorgeThe crystal secluded beach at the end of Agiofarago Gorge

Agiofarago Gorge, one of the special gorges In Crete, is located in Heraklion, between the Monastery of Odigitria and the seaside village Kaloi Limenes. It will take you about 20 minutes to cross. At the beginning of the route, you will see the church of Agia Kyriaki which is in a cave! In the gorge is also the church of St. Anthony which is also partly in a cave and was the center of the ascetics of the region. The several archaeological findings in Agiofarago, show that there has been activity in the Minoan and Venetian times. Characteristic is the Minoan, circular, domed tomb near the church of St. Anthony. Shortly after, you will find a cave with a low entrance and a large room. The Abbot of the Monastery of St. Anthony lived there.

According to history, Agiofarago was inhabited by hermits since at least the 11th century. When you cross the gorge you will reach a beautiful beach overlooking the Libyan Sea! We recommend good to keep water with you, as in the gorge there are no sources of water.

8) The Gorge of Tripiti

You can cross the Gorge of Tripiti either by car or motorbikeYou can cross the Gorge of Tripiti either by car or motorbike

The gorge of Tripiti in Heraklion is located south, near the village of Lentas. It got its name from the church of Panagia Tripiti, which is built inside the cave of the gorge. It is relatively small in length and you can cross it even by car or motorbike. The scenery is magical and the tall cliffs that rise in many parts of the gorge are breathtaking! To get there, you have to cross by your car a part of Asterousia Mountains and passing from Vasiliki village.

The entire route is amazing and quite difficult at the same time, because of the dirt road. But it is worth a visit and the scenery will amaze you! The wild nature of gorges in Crete, once again, will leave you speechless with the few trees that grow inside the stone slopes of rocks and the high mountains surrounding the area! After you have passed the gorge, you will see the beautiful beach of Tripiti with crystal clear waters! There, you can spend a day of relaxation or even to camp under the trees!

9) The Gorge of the Dead In Heraklion

Gorge of the Dead- Gorges in CreteThe Gorge of the Dead in Pano Zakros, Heraklion

The Gorge of the Dead or else, the Gorge of Zakros is located in the municipality of Itanos, 39 km southeast of Sitia. It begins shortly after Pano Zakros and ends in the beautiful Kato Zakros with the crystal beach! When you arrive at the entrance of the gorge, leave your car at the designated area and start hiking. At the end, you can take the bus from Kato Zakros to take you back to your car.

The gorge is very nice and all along the route you will come across many small caves which, in Minoan times, were used as tombs. That’s why it is called the Gorge of the Dead. The duration of the hike is about 1.5 hours and the scenery is breathtaking! Every year, the gorge welcomes hundreds of people from abroad and Greece that come to enjoy the beauty of the imposing landscape and then, swim in the beautiful Kato Zakros! It is an excursion highly recommend to lovers and fans of the wild beauty offered by Crete!

10) The Gorge of Ha In Lasithi

gorges in crete ha gorge lasithiThe impressive beauty of the Gorge of Ha in Lasithi

The gorge is located in Ha, north of Ierapetra. The entrance of the gorge is located at an altitude of 370 meters and the output goes down and ends at an altitude of 140 meters. Towards the end of the gorge there is a large waterfall at a height of 215 meters. The gorge has also rich flora and fauna. It is one of the famous and magnificent gorges in Crete. It has been visited by many travelers from around the world since it belongs to the 10 most beautiful gorges of Europe! It is a wild gorge, most appropriate for experienced hikers having all necessary equipment.

The visit to the gorge of Ha is a challenge! If you accept it and you will be rewarded with an incredible view and an amazing Cretan experience!


The gorge of Agios Nikolaos is considered as the most important gorge of Psiloritis and of Central Crete

Ag. Nikolaos Gorge or Rouva Gorge, which has been also known as Gafari Gorge during the past years, is in the regional unit of Heraklion and it is clearly marked by Ambelakia peaks in the east and Samari peaks in the west.

It is the most important gorge of Mount Ida (Psiloritis) and of central Crete and it was named after the little Saint Nikolas’ church which is on its south entrance. Aghios Nikolaos gorge is rich in flora and fauna, with beautiful fissures, interesting folded rocks and hillsides of rare beauty, but, unfortunately a part of the forest on the south entrance was burnt in 1994. It traverses the imposing south part of Mount Ida (Psiloritis) to the South, by connecting the holly forest of Rouva, which is of great ecological importance and lies on the north side, with the valley of Koutsoulidis river on the south side, at the region of Zaros. The holly forest, the rare orchids of the island and the great variety of tree species, such as cypresses, pine trees and plane trees, create a landscape of incomparable beauty. The gorge is 5 km long; there are some slopes, so you need 4 hours to cross it round-trip. The gorge is open all year long, but spring is the best season for hiking, because during the winter the water level rises and the access is difficult. Along the gorge, there are fountains and points where you can get some rest; however, it’s good for the visitor to have their own water supplies, as well as climbing boots or running shoes.


Psiloritis Natural Park consists of the Ida Range, the highest mount of Crete, and the northern coastal zone of central Crete. Within the territory of the Geopark added in 2001 in the list of UNESCO geoparks, the whole nappe pile of Crete, and the majority of the rock types of the island are presented in excellent outcrops and sections. Big faults with excellent and imposing fault surfaces, fossil sites, caves, impressive gorges and plateaus hosting many endemic species of the island, unique fold associations and geomorphologic structures are feeding for thousands of years the culture of local people.

psiloritispark

Geology

The great variety of Earth processes that have formed Psiloritis Mountains, the fascinating geology, the exceptional natural environment and the vibrant culture and traditions of its people are all facets in the character of the Psiloritis Global Geopark. The Global Geopark is characterized by its superb and outstanding geology reflected by the variety of rock formations that comprise all rock types of Crete in a series of sheets. These are exposed in a number of excellent outcrops and cross–sections which provide an insight into Earth’s mountain-building processes. Some of its spectacular natural monuments include the Permian fossilized corals and bivalves, the impressive “Vossakos” folds, the “Chonos” karstic formations, the breath-taking caves and the deep gorges of the mountainous area, as well as the ophiolites, the remains of the ancient Tethys Ocean. All these geosites host an extraordinary diverse flora and fauna.

Geography

Psiloritis Global Geopark extends over an area of about 1200 km2 and it covers the central part of the island including the entire area of Mountain Idi (Psiloritis) which is the highest in Crete, reaching up to 2456 m. The surrounding Talean Mountains that extend till the northern coast and the valleys of Mylopotamos, Messara and Amari are all included within its boundaries. The Global Geopark is administratively allocated in two Regional Units (former prefectures), that of Rethimnon and Heraklion.

The Myths

Psiloritis is connected with the birth and activity of immortal gods. At the glacis of mountain Idis, Rea hunted by Saturn, hid Zeus and the mythical goat Amalthia nurtured the king of Dodecatheon. Here, Kourites with the growl of their shields covered the cry of the little god that was meant to become the father of Gods and people. Above the table-land of Nida at Idaion Andron was the center of worship of the Cretan born Zeus.

Deservingly, the cave was characterized as the Vithleem of ancient times. According to the ancient myth, Zeus disguised as a bull, crossed over the river Litheos and transferred Europe to the island of Crete ending up to ancient Gortina. Here is the labyrinth; the cave where in its rambling corridors lived the infamous Minotaur.

The copper giant Talos was assigned by king Minoa to protect the island of Crete from any intruder. The mythic creature is linked with the mountainous bulk of the Talea Mountains that spread north of Psiloritis.Gerondospilios of Melidoni was the worshipping place of Talaios Hermes.

The sacred mountain from the era of the first residence defines the fate of humans that are fed with myths and form history.


 

If you are interested in shorter walks (1-2 hours), we can recommend the following. Some walks start at your hotel in Chora Sfakion, others can better be accessed by car or bus. Just ask your accommodation owner in Chora Sfakion for directions. In the village of Chora Sfakion are a couple of interesting short walks. From the road that crosses behind the downtown part of the village, you can walk up the path to the cave of Agios Antonios. In the back of the cave you can find a small chapel. The cave is surrounded by archaeological sites: an ancient beehive enclosure and a Roman shrine.

Agios Antonis chapel, Sfakia

Above the village you can visit the ruins of the old part of the village in Georgitsi, just uphill.

The beautiful path uphill to Manolou is a must-do. You can have a look inside the Ilingas gorge from high up, you pass the old Agia Triada church, and come across archaeological sites with the ruins of a watchtower, and a lime killn. All the time you have a beautiful view of the entire coast

View from the road to Manolou, Sfakia

Chora Sfakion – Sweetwater beach – Loutro: 2 hrs. 15 min: start at Hotel Stavris, Chora Sfakion, walk up to the asphalt road, follow west bound, pass Ilingas tavern, follow the curve. Just before the road starts it’s first sharp curve right up to the mountain, step over the iron protection fence. You see a sign E4, marking the European walking path. It is a path starting from Gibraltar, going through Spain, France, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Greece, ending in Crete; it is crossing Crete along its entire length from Elafonisi to Kato Zakros. Follow the rock path down along the coast: this is the beginning of the only ongoing connection between the villages in South West Crete! After 1 hour you reach Sweetwater Beach, which is cliff enclosed: there is a small tavern for drinks. Continue west and you will soon see the picture perfect village of Loutro: a small strip of houses and taverns and hotels around a small harbour. There are no cars here! From here you can take back the ferry to Chora Sfakion, walk back or continue up hill to Anopoli.

Chora Sfakion – Anopoli: 2 hrs.: following the old Venitian road to Anopoli (800 meters uphill): just behind Hotel Stavris, take the steps up to the asphalt road, turn left and after about 30 meters you should see a possibility to step up the rocks to your right. After 10 meters the old Venetian road starts, typically with stone walls. The path winds on the hill and goes back into Ilingas gorge. There is a beautiful small bridge here along the cliff slope. Go to the bottom of the gorge and cross it. Don’t follow the gorge! On the other side a hollow path takes you uphill, meeting the asphalt road to Anopoli just before the village. This is a very quiet route!

Anopoli – Loutro: 1 hr.: from Chora Sfakion follow the 12 km. road up hill (800 m) to Anopoli (bus, taxi). When you see the first buildings, turn left at a small square. Follow the path and continue down hill. All the time you have the magnificent overview of the village of Loutro. Walk back to Chora Sfakion along the coastal path or take back the ferry.

Anopoli – Aradena: 1 hr. one way: follow the asphalt road heading north towards the mountains. After 30 minutes you reach the ‘real’ village of Anopoli, continue from the square with the statue of Daskalogiannis to the north. After a sharp curve to the left you see Aradena Gorge, with a Bailey bridge crossing it. This spectacular view you will never forget again in your life. Cross the bridge to have a look at the deserted village of Aradena. You can also take the old ‘road’ to Aradena: a little before the bridge to the right you see the old path down the gorge (1 hr.) and on the other side up again (1 hr.)

Chora Sfakion – Komitades: 45 min or try to car hike: follow the asphalt road from Chora Sfakion to the east. After 35 minutes at the crossroads, go right. You see the church of Agios Giorgos, with very old frescoes. In Komitades you can take a rest at Taverna Giorgos, the first one to the right. If you like, Giorgos can take you up to Imbros by car, so you can walk the gorge from up to down. Or just fllow the road out of the village and start Imbros gorge from down up (2 hrs.)

Komitades – Frangokastello: 2 hrs.: you pass the small villages of Vraskas, Vouvas, Nomikiana, Agios Giorgos, Patsianos. Just before Patsianos there is a T-form crossroads: to the left you go to Patsianos, to the right to Frangokastello. From Patsianos you can make a loop via Skaloti to Frangokastello ( 1 hr.). In Frangokastello you can visit the Venetian fortress, built in 1371.

Imbros – Komitades: Imbros Gorge: take from Chora Sfakion the bus to Chania at 7 or 11 o’clock and get out at the village of Imbros. Or take a taxi or ask Giorgos from Komitades if he is available (tel. 28250-91005). When you go by car to Imbros to walk the gorge, please realise you have to walk the gorge both ways: down and up again (2 hrs. one way). Imbros gorge is very beautiful and nature is unharmed here. Wait for the 2 very narrow passages and the natural archway at the end! Imbros gorge used to be the only way to reach Chora Sfakion by the ground, before the asphalt road was built in the sixties.

Source: http://www.sfakia-crete.com

 


Sfakia has a rich and varied landscape and culture, and there is really something for everyone to find. Whether you just want to relax, and stay on one of the many beaches, enjoying the sun and the crystal clear blue sea, or want to go around, to explore Sfakia’s nature, or visit the small villages, there is always something to do.

Sfakia got probably its name from the ancient word “Sfax”, meaning “Land of gorges”. No wonder, since there are about 25 gorges crossing the region, running from north to south across the Lefka Ori mountains to the sea.

Most of them can be walked. Some are very easy, others require quite some hiking experience.

Aradena bridge from the gorge

Aradena Gorge: from Anopoli to Marmara beach, Loutro. A really impressive gorge; it looks like someone cut with a knife through the mountains. However, it’s a gorge that needs some experience! It takes 3 hrs from Anopoli and 1hr 15 min from Marmara to Loutro. At Marmara you may ask at the taverna if there is a boat to Loutro. You can also follow the path above the gorge to Livandiana. Some 500 meters before you reach Aradena, the path starts at a sign to the left.

Source: http://www.sfakia-crete.com/