Gorges to hike and walk near Palaióchora, in Chania region

List of Gorges near Palaióchora

  • 3.7 km

Pelekaniotis Gorge

  • Pelekaniotis Gorge

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.

  • 3 km
  • 2 h
  • Hiking
  • 4.1 km

Anydri Gorge

  • Anydri Gorge

The relatively small yet stunning Anydri gorge is situated to the east of Paleochora, accumulating water from the Asfendiles and Ancient Hyrtakina regions via the Dichalomata stream. The gorge originates from the Anidri village and meanders for approximately 3km between towering cliffs, eventually ending at the picturesque Gialiskari beach.

Trekking through the canyon is straightforward and follows the stream, which typically dries up during the summer. The gorge is sparsely dotted with trees and the rocky walls are not too high, so it’s recommended to bring a hat and sunscreen for protection.

  • 3 km
  • 2 h
  • Hiking
  • 9.3 km

Lihnou Laki Gorge

  • Lihnou Laki Gorge

Located just half an hour above the Lissos archaeological site, in a concealed location known as Lichnou Laki, is a small yet stunning canyon. This gorge is situated in the Selino district, beneath the village of Prodromi, to the south of Chania. It can be accessed via a dirt road that leads south from the village. This petite canyon is lush with greenery and is divided into two distinct sections. The first section is predominantly populated with lentisks, junipers, and oaks, while the second section is blanketed with pine trees, despite a previous fire that ravaged the area.

The gentle riverbed of Lichnou Laki canyon doesn’t feature any waterfalls or other impediments. At the canyon’s most striking point, there is a picturesque rock shelter forming a triangle. Towards the lower exit, a plateau is scattered with ceramic fragments, a clear indication of a former ancient settlement.

  • 10.8 km

Lissos Gorge

  • Lissos Gorge

The trail linking Sougia to ancient Lissos runs through the grandeur of the Lissos or Skevroto gorge. This lengthy canyon is characterized by its majestic towering walls. However, the path to Lissos only covers a fraction of this route, taking approximately one hour to traverse.

Upon exiting the path on the Lissos side, one encounters the historical remnants of ancient Lissos. Notable landmarks include the Asclepius temple with its floor mosaic, the scattered ruins of the ancient city, tombs, the Roman theatre, and the Panagia and St. Kirikos churches. These churches were erected on the foundation of a previous early Christian church.

Returning to Sougia is possible either by embarking on a boat ride from the picturesque Lissos beach or by retracing the path on foot.

  • 2 km
  • 1 h
  • Hiking
  • 14.5 km

Kandanos Gorge

  • Kandanos Gorge

The Kandanos Gorge is a site of remarkable natural beauty and historical significance, currently threatened by the operations of a large quarry. This gorge was the battlefield for the first armed conflict between locals and governmental forces during World War II. On May 24, 1941, Kandanos residents took up arms against German forces advancing towards their town, a day after the Battle of Floria, where all but one German soldier were killed. In retaliation, the Germans decimated Kandanos and its neighboring villages, executing numerous civilians. To this day, justice for the German war crimes committed in Kandanos and Floria, along with other martyred Cretan villages, remains elusive.

In addition to its historical value, the gorge is teeming with cypress trees and lush vegetation. It’s also traversed by a beautiful stone road leading to Chania, built by locals in the late 1920s. This road stands as a fine example of preindustrial construction.

The upper portion of the Gorge is known as Spina Gorge, named after a nearby village. The lower section, which begins where the gorge intersects the stone road near the Church of Agios Irineos and ends at Anavos, is referred to as Kandanos Gorge. Despite the different names, they are part of the same ravine.

  • 3 km
  • 1 h
  • Hiking

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