The geomorphology and types of rock formations in the Asterousia Mountains have led to the formation of many deep gorges, which have recently become a pole of attraction for many canyoning groups.

In the narrow strip of land (in relation to the overall mountainous mass of the Asterousia mountain range) that is part of the Municipality of Archanes-Asterousia, there are 7 such gorges, 6 of which exit onto the Libyan Sea (to the south) and only one onto the plain of Mesara (to the north).

The gorges of Agia Paraskevi, Abas, Ethiano (or Vorno), Tsoutsouras, Maridaki, Kakoperato, Mesosfini are deep scars in the steep mountains of the Asterousia range; gorges usually start up high and end on the south coast. These gorges are some of the most beautiful in Crete, with impressive waterfalls and breathtaking descents, attracting canyoning lovers from around the world.

Months recommended: Throughout the year. Avoid very hot days. We recommend you avoid waterless months (from mid-June to mid-October) because between descents you will come to stagnant water that you definitely do not want to wade through.


The suggested gorges are only suitable for those well acquainted with technical descents of gorges. What this means is:

  • Crossing them requires a great amount of experience and good technical skills, as well as a full set of personal equipment.
  • All gorges are rigged with anchors, but there is always the possibility of corrosion or wear; therefore, you must always have with you a rigging set for any possible changes that need to be made.
  • Check the relay before each descent. Most gorges can be crossed throughout the year. However, it is preferable to do so in spring and winter, because during waterless months you may encounter stagnant water you would not want to wade through.
  • Avoid crossing canyons where birds of prey nest from December to February as it is the mating season of these important and endangered species (the gorges you should look out for are listed below). The same goes for mountain climbing.
  • Do not forget to check the weather forecast, because sudden showers are not a rarity on Crete and they cause flash floods. Recommended sites:
  • Make sure you have left a car at the exit point so that you can drive back up to your starting point.
  • Make sure someone always knows where you are and provide a “safe time” for your return.
  • Have emergency telephone numbers with you.

Necessary equipment

  • Helmet with light and backup batteries
  • First aid kit (with survival equipment, i.e. space blanket, small candle, etc.)
  • Adequate water and food
  • Additional safety rope
  • Rigging set