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Gorges to hike and walk near Chaniá, in Chania region

List of Gorges near Chaniá

  • 6.5 km
  • Cyclamen Gorge
  • 5 km
  • 2 h

The Cyclamen Gorge, also known as Agios Georgios Gorge or Gorge Vandes, is nestled on the northern slopes of the White Mountains. Its starting point is the Aletrouvari settlement, situated at an altitude of 300m, and it extends east of Agios Georgios village, ultimately ending at the village of Vandes, which is at an elevation of 50m. The stream that runs through this gorge gathers water from the Drakona area, resulting in the formation of quaint, small ponds at certain spots.

However, this route is not recommended for novice hikers as it requires approximately 2 hours to traverse from Aletrouvari or about 1 hour from Agios Georgios. As visitors journey through this route, they will encounter a diverse landscape that changes along the river, all under the cool shade of towering plane trees and cypresses.

  • 10.0 km
  • Diktamos Gorge
  • 7.5 km
  • 3 h

The Diktamos Canyon, nestled within the White Mountains, commences 21km to the east of Chania, near the Katochori village at an elevation of 300m. It concludes 8km further east, at the Faragi village, situated at a height of 40m and in close proximity to the Stylos village in the Apokoronas province. Consequently, it is also referred to as the Katechori Gorge or Stylos Gorge. The canyon’s stream serves as the primary tributary of the Kiliaris River, gathering water from the northern slopes of the Mavri peak and discharging it onto the Kalives beach.

Navigating through the canyon can be challenging, with certain areas requiring extra caution and approximately 3 hours to traverse. The canyon is a stunning, verdant landscape filled with towering trees and steep inclines, home to dittany or diktamos, a herb endemic to Crete. In Stylos, you have the opportunity to explore the ancient church of Apostle John (Agios Ioannis Theologos), refresh yourself at the local springs, and replenish your energy at the village’s taverns.

  • 10.2 km
  • Therisso Gorge
  • 6 km
  • 2 h

Positioned near the city of Chania, the Therisso Gorge (also known as Eleftherios Venizelos) is an awe-inspiring sight. This six-kilometre-long canyon is adorned with impressive vertical cliffs and lush greenery, rivalling any other gorge in the Chania region. Accessible by car, it’s worth combining a trip to the gorge with a visit to the historic village of Therisso, nestled at the foot of the White Mountains, just 15 kilometres from Chania. This village, steeped in history, offers an unforgettable experience to any visitor.

With a population of just over 100, the valiant village of Therisso has held a significant role in Crete’s modern history, mainly due to the resilience of its inhabitants against Turkish invasions. In 1866, the village was burnt by Mustapha Pasha Naili, forcing many, including the mother of future Greek Prime Minister, Eleftherios Venizelos, to relocate to Kythera and the Peloponnese. Therisso gained further historical prominence in 1905 when Eleftherios Venizelos and his allies initiated a revolution against the autocratic rule of Prince George, imposed by the Great Powers, charting a course for Crete’s union with Greece. Notably, the heroic Halides brothers, key figures in the 1821 revolution, also hailed from Therisso.

  • 13.8 km
  • Avlaki Gorge
  • 2 km
  • 1 h

The Avlaki Gorge, nestled in Arkoudovounia near the Gouverneto Monastery, just 16km east of Chania city, stands as one of Crete’s most significant canyons with a rich religious history. This secluded area provided refuge for numerous monks and hermits in its caves, and also houses the ancient, abandoned Katholiko Monastery, making it known as the Katholiko Gorge as well. Although the gorge isn’t entirely accessible, a marked trail from the Gouverneto Monastery offers a scenic but steep descent towards Katholiko. On the journey, you’ll encounter the Cave Arkoudiotissa and the ancient temple of Artemis after a 10-minute walk, followed by a further 10 minutes to the deserted Katholiko Monastery and the cave of Saint John the Hermit.

Walking for another 15-25 minutes along the riverbed from the monastery will bring you to the Katholiko Bay, passing by caves where hermits once resided. The gorge’s exit reveals a slender, rocky fjord with deep blue waters, a small Venetian well, a tiny harbour used by monks, and a quarry that provided construction materials for the monastery. The area also features a rock formation resembling a boat, said to be a pirate ship turned to stone by a monastery abbot’s curse.

  • 14.2 km
  • Sarakina Gorge, Meskla
  • 3 km
  • 1 h

Situated close to the village of Meskla, 20 km away from Chania town and nestled at the foot of the White Mountains, you’ll find the impressive yet compact Sarakina Gorge (be careful not to mix it up with the other well-known Sarakina Gorge in East Crete, near Mythi in the Province of Ierapetra). The gorge takes its name from local lore that suggests Saracenes once used it as a hiding place. The gorge’s somewhat elusive location keeps it off the beaten track for many locals, maintaining its status as an untouched, natural spectacle.

Hidden within a deep ravine, Sarakina is bordered by towering cypress and plane trees. In an effort to make this natural gem more accessible, local authorities have developed walking trails throughout the gorge. Starting and ending in Meskla, next to the Church of the Panagia, where you find the parking space. The circular trail offers an hour’s worth of easy hiking. The journey commences with a ten-minute walk on a dirt road which then leads to a path alongside the river.

The trail is interspersed with wooden and stone staircases and metal walkways crossing the river. After the first segment, the landscape transforms drastically, transitioning from a gravel bed to solid limestone boulders. The resulting view is an awe-inspiring natural artwork as the rock appears split down the middle, carving out a breathtaking sculpture.

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