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Gorges to hike and walk near Elafonísi, in Chania region

List of Gorges near Elafonísi

  • 9.7 km
  • Pelekaniotis Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 2 h

In the overlooked area of Selino, South Chania, you’ll discover the hidden gem that is the Pelekaniotis River. This river, boasting the highest water flow in Selino, holds such significance that it inspired the name of the Paleochora municipality – Pelekanos. It remains a steady water source throughout the year, culminating in a verdant green valley at the Macherota location. The towering cliffs of the canyon serve as a habitat for numerous birds of prey, providing company for hikers along their journey.

The gorge’s exit can be located by following a dirt road that begins at Grameno beach near Paleochora and traces the river’s west bank. Regrettably, this path crosses a small area littered with rubbish and debris. However, beyond this, the scenery transforms into a lush Cretan landscape. Two kilometres in, the Agios Mamas chapel, adorned with well-preserved frescoes, can be found on the western shore. Despite its significance, the existence of Saint Mammes (Agios Mamas) remains largely unknown, even to locals. Across from Agios Mamas, the old whitewashed chapel of Saint George stands, though it lacks frescoes.

A kilometre further, the dirt road ends at a tank filled with drinkable water. From this point, the gorge can be explored on foot, particularly during summer when the water levels are lower. Adventurous hikers might prefer to visit the Pelekanos Gorge in winter, to witness a 25m high waterfall cascading into the river.

Approximately halfway through the gorge, some of Crete’s most impressive plane trees can be found, with some over 1000 years old and featuring remarkable trunk formations. Much of the canyon is narrow, with sunlight rarely reaching the riverbed. This natural masterpiece is adorned with vertical walls dotted with numerous holm oak trees.

  • 14.4 km
  • Kambos Gorge
  • 2.5 km
  • 1 h

Traveling along the western coast of Crete towards Elafonissi beach, you’ll encounter the picturesque village of Kambos, nestled within the Kissamos province. A brief detour off the main road to the west will bring you to the verdant Kambos canyon, the most westerly gorge on the island, which is fed by the small Koutroulis massif.

A scenic hiking trail winds its way through the canyon, beneath the shade of towering plane trees and alongside a river that flows year-round. The journey is punctuated by striking rock formations and culminates at a natural spring. From there, the path reconnects with the road descending from the village, leading to the subterranean churches of Agia Ekaterini and Agia Marina.

Continuing your trek along the riverbed can occasionally prove challenging due to thick vegetation and water, but the journey is worth it. From Agia Kyriaki, the path follows the riverbed to the secluded yet stunning Platanakia beach, where plane trees stretch their branches out to the sea.

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