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Gorges to hike and walk near Geráki, in Heraklion region

List of Gorges near Geráki

  • 8.6 km
  • Eligas Gorge
  • 3 h

Eligas Gorge, a stunning natural monument, is nestled on the western side of Koupa Mountain, just above the village of Miliaradon in Embaros. This remarkable location boasts a towering waterfall with nine rappels, making it a perfect spot for canyoning. The altitude difference from the entrance to the exit is approximately 230m.

Eligas is just one of numerous waterfalls in the vicinity, standing tall at 150 meters. It cascades down in 5-6 stages, with the largest drop being 50 meters.

During the winter, the waterfall is fed by crystal clear water from the local ‘Papa Lagos’ springs. On exiting the gorge, it merges with the Baritis River, a primary tributary of the Anapodaris River.

In the Cretan dialect, Eligas translates to ‘waterfall’. The gorge is unique due to its distinctive formations, created by layers of limestone that resemble a vast open-air theatre with stone tiers.

A trail from Miliaradon village leads to the base of the waterfall. From there, visitors can ascend to its highest points, offering a breathtaking view of the impressive waterfall and the Baritis-irrigated plain villages.

  • 9.7 km
  • Erganos Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 3 h

On the southeastern side of the Afendis Christos peak, nestled above the villages of Embaros, you’ll discover lush vineyards sprawled across the Erganos plateau at an elevation of 900 meters. The water, collected from the melting snow of the nearby slopes and numerous regional springs, contributes to the main tributary of the Anapodaris river, Baritis. This river traverses the Erganos plateau, carving out the striking Erganos canyon.

The Erganos canyon, adorned with flourishing plane trees, cypresses, and oaks, is a natural gem in this region. However, it is only navigable for a small portion, suitable for trekkers. After the initial 20-minute descent, the scenery transforms, revealing a unique natural sculpture with slender walls and spectacular waterfalls at nine different points. To navigate these areas, rappelling equipment is necessary.

  • 11.6 km
  • Roza Gorge
  • 2 km
  • 2 h

Roza Gorge, a branch of the larger Ambelos Gorge, originates near the Panagia Kera Kardiotissa Monastery in the Ano Kera region. It connects with the rural road that traverses the Ambelos Gorge close to the village of Gonies. Walking along the riverbed is not feasible due to the precipitous drops, but a well-marked hiking trail is available on the gorge’s sides. The gorge’s sides are visually striking, showcasing unique geological formations that captivate visitors. After heavy rainfall, surface water is visible in the gorge, evidenced by the growth of oleander plants in the riverbed.

The name ‘Roza’ is derived from the pinkish hue (‘roz’ translates to pink) of the gorge’s walls. Another theory suggests that the gorge was used as a disposal site for sterile animals like donkeys in the past. As a result, locals named it ‘Stira Za’ (meaning sterile animals), which eventually evolved into ‘Sti Roza’ (or in Roza).

Canyoning in the Roza Gorge
Roza Gorge is technical in nature, implying that hiking in its bed is not an option due to the numerous steep descents (rappels) that necessitate specific technical gear and training. For canyoning enthusiasts, it’s important to note that the largest rappel is approximately 18m high. The points are secured with relays from the speleological clubs of Crete, and the descent for a small group typically takes around 3 hours. The gorge’s proximity to Heraklion and easy accessibility make it a popular choice for canyoning schools.

  • 12.4 km
  • Embasa Gorge
  • 2 km
  • 1 h

The Embasa Gorge, also known as Apotyposi, begins its journey from the village of Kato Kera in the Pediada province and concludes near the village of Gonies, spanning a length of approximately 2km. The upper section of the gorge is notably steep, giving rise to several waterfalls during the winter season, with the tallest one measuring around 20m in height. The largest waterfall is particularly intriguing due to its division into several smaller cascades. It is possible to reach all the waterfalls without any special equipment as they can be circumvented from the sides.

Ascending the canyon from Gonies provides easier access to the waterfalls. However, the dense vegetation and steep inclines may pose a challenge for beginners. The gorge is predominantly populated by oak trees, planes, and brambles. The Life-Giving Spring church (Zoodohos Pigi) is located on the edges of the gorge, above the largest waterfall. According to local lore, a natural rock formation resembling the Virgin Mary can be found above this church. Hence, the gorge is also referred to as Apotiposi (Depiction). The church serves as the nearest parking spot to the large waterfall and can be conveniently reached from here, provided one can first overcome the initial hurdle of the fence erected by local shepherds.

  • 14.8 km
  • Portela Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 4.5 h

The Portela Gorge, positioned in the southern region of the Heraklion prefecture, serves as a drainage channel for the Ano Viannos basin, directing water towards the South Cretan Sea. The gateway to this gorge is situated at the Hondros village, and it leads out to Keratokambos. It ranks among Greece’s most perilous canyons, only to be traversed by seasoned canyoners. Particularly after heavy rainfall, the gorge can prove lethal. However, a passable trail and road run alongside the gorge, stretching from Hondros to Keratokambos, but they lack the allure of the canyon’s interior.

This gorge is a blend of beauty and wilderness, earning it legendary status in the region and ranking it among Crete’s most popular canyoning locations, alongside Ha and Arvi. It boasts the greatest water volume during winter and early spring compared to other local gorges. The canyon features 25 technical descents with the highest being 30m, and a 340m altitude difference between the entrance and exit. Owing to the area’s inaccessibility, locals are primarily familiar with the last waterfall, Richtra, at the gorge’s exit, which can be reached without any equipment.

Five faults intersect the canyon, contributing to its formation along with gully erosion. These faults divide Portela into three sections, resulting in a rich variety of plants and landscapes. A unique feature of this canyon is the abundance of mud it holds, possibly due to the “Viannos” rock formation visible before the gorge. This formation contains large amounts of clay, which is carried into the canyon by the water flow. The gorge’s signature feature is the stunning Sifoni, a large waterfall in a sinkhole, the “bottom” of which has been opened, allowing the waters to continue their journey.

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