There are numerous gorges in Crete, some of them very well known as the gorge of Samaria. However, most canyons remain unknown to many people, though there are no less impressive and beautiful.

The gorges allow for easier walking, especially in the summer months, when the high temperature of the season makes it is much easier to descend a canyon rather than climb a mountain.

That is why the Alpine Club of Crete restrict their summer holidays in canyoning that leads to the sea for a refreshing swim. However not every gorge in Crete is easy, there are some that require special skills, knowledge and equipment.


Gorges in East Crete

The most famous gorges in East Crete, in Heraklion and Lassithi are:

  • The gorge of Rouvas: Located on the southern slopes of Psiloritis Mountain, near the village of Zaros.
  • The gorge of Voriziano: the gorge starts at the plateau of Nida and continues to the village Vorizia. There is also another canyon that begins from Nida Plateau and descends to Psiloritis and Vorizia village in southern Crete. Vorizia is near Zaros.
  • Agiofarago: An easy hike to this gorge in southern Crete, near the village of Sivas and Phaistos. Three kilometers from the monastery starts the gorge of Saints (Agiofarago) leading to a beautiful beach. The limestone rocks on the beach are offered for different climbing routes, both large (3-4 pitches) and athletic to X grade.
  • The gorge of Almyros: Located near Heraklion, like the the gorge of Karteros. Two small canyons located approximately 5 km from Heraklion. Both are easily accessible by car and it is a shame that most people ignore them.
  • The gorge of Ha: Driving from Agios Nikolaos to Ierapetra, near the village of Monastiraki you will see on your left a deep cleft in the mountain. This is the exit of the gorge of Ha that starts from Thrypti Plateau. The length is small but the difficulty in crossing is major, and is recommended only to experienced climbers.
  • Sarakina Gorge: Starting from the village Mythoi in southern Crete, 20 km west of Ierapetra; one of the most beautiful gorges in Crete with rich flora and a flowing river. The journey is short and is ideal for a pleasant escape to nature.
  • Note:there is a second Sarakina Gorge in Chania, which begins from Zourva and descends to Meskla.
  • Zakros gorge or gorge of the dead: It was name as that because it was used by the Minoans as the burial place of the dead. It is close to the Minoan palace of Zakros.
  • Pervolakia Canyon: You will find it close to Kapsa, near Makrigialos in south-eastern Crete. It is a small gorge, but it might be difficult if you are no experienced, we would recommend you to have someone more experienced in your company.
  • Gorge Pines: As the name suggests is surrounded by pine trees. It begins from Makrigialos and ascends to the village of Pefkos or vice versa, which is of course easier. It is a very pleasant walk in nature for those who visit the beautiful south-eastern Crete.
  • The gorge of Koutsoura: The gorge joins the villages of Koutsouras and Orino. The canyon is lush, and during the winter months you will find large and small waterfalls. As you progress, look around for butterflies, which in this gorge are abundant, and the main reason that it is also known as “Gorge of butterflies”.

Gorges in West Crete

The most famous gorges in western Crete, in Rethymnon and Chania are:

  • Samaria Gorge: Is the largest canyon not only in Crete but throughout Greece. Do not pass up the change to visit and walk through the gorge of Samaria, if you visit Crete. If you get tired, split the trip into 2-3 parts, we assure you that it will be a memorable experience!
  • The gorge of Polyrinnias: It crosses Sirikari of Kissamos until the ancient acropolis of Polyrinnia. It is a wonderful hiking that lasts 2-3 hours. It offers an exciting the view from the citadel of Polyrinnias to the bay of Kissamos.
  • The gorge of Agia Irini: it starts from Agia Irini and ends in the shores of Sougia. You will need approximately 5 hours to cross this gorge, which is considered one of the most beautiful in Crete.
  • The gorge of Lissos: an easy hike lasting about 1.5 hours from the port of Sougia to the ancient city of Lissos.
  • The canyon of Aradena: The gorge starts from the bridge of St. John shortly after Anopolis of Sfakia and ends at Marmara beach, near the picturesque Loutro. It is one of the most spectacular gorges in Crete, if you look it from the sea; it looks like someone cut the mountain with a knife. The length of the route is approximately 3 hours until Marmara, where you can have a meal in one of the taverns there, and continue by boat to Loutro or walk the trail in about 1.5 hours.
  • Imbros Gorge: Is it an easy 2.5 hours journey from Imbros of Sfakia until Komitades, just before Sfakia. If you have no experience of hiking, then Gorge Imbros is ideal for getting started, since it presents no difficulty, only delight in nature.
  • The canyon of Avlaki: Starts from Gouverneto and descends to the sea. It takes less than 1 hour and allows you to visit the cave of the Virgin Mary Arkoudiotissa and the ruined but impressive Monastery of katholiko.
  • Kourtaliotiko Gorge: Located in the prefecture of Rethymno, close to Plakias. A few kilometers before the village of Plakias the road passes through the Kourtaliotiko gorge and the view is spectacular. In Kourtaliotiko gorge flows the river Kourtaliotis, which leads to Preveli palm forest and beach. The banks of the river near the section of the beach are lush with palm trees, a feature which gives a particularly exotic look to the landscape. Climb the canyon along the stream and do not miss the change to dive into the cool ponds that are scattered along the river. You can of course follow the reverse path, descend Kourtaliotiko Gorge until Agios Nikolaos, and from there to Preveli.
  • The gorge of Patsos: Another experience that combines swimming and hiking in the south of Rethymno. From the village of Patsos, a 3 hours journey through a wooded ravine; there will be moments that you will have to dive completely into the water; an amazing experience. At the finish of the gorge trail is lost, but generally you go until you reach the main road to the village Myrthios. Shortly after you meet the road you will find 2 tavernas, do not miss the amazing pies.
  • The gorge of Mili: an easy trekking path through a lush gorge, lasting approximately 1.5 hour, near Rethimno. The canyon starts from the Monastery and ends to Xiro Chorio. A small river flows in the middle of the gorge, and there is an old, abandoned, village near it. At the end of the path, you will find a small café for coffee and snacks.

Other gorges in Crete

The gorges in Crete is a subject hard to cover in a few pages; apart from the largest and most famous gorges, there are many small in different areas of the island, only known to locals. Hopefully sometime in the future, the list of our gorges in Crete will be complete:

The gorge of Mygas (Fly) or Mygias, as it is known as to Cretans. It is a small gorge at Psiloritis Mountain, a few kilometers after Anoghia. There is no path through the gorge but you can walk the path of mygias, a path that makes a circular path along the gorge.