Gorges to hike and walk near Prína, in Lassithi region

List of Gorges near Prína

  • 4.2 km

Havgas Gorge (Kalamafka)

  • Havgas Gorge (Kalamafka)

The Havgas Gorge, situated near the village of Kalamafka and just 12km north of Ierapetra city, is one of several gorges with the same name scattered across Crete. Other examples include the Havgas Gorge in the Lassithi Plateau, Plaka, and Kavoussi. The Havgas Gorge is nestled between the Megali Korfi (1103m) and Kokies (993m) peaks, and its stream, the Kapsous, serves as the primary tributary of the Kalamavkianos River that empties into the Stomio beach of Gra Ligia.

This stunning canyon boasts unique rock formations, sculpted by rare geological events. Many of these rocks are adorned with nature’s own “artwork”, etched over time by the elements. Despite its relatively short length, the gorge offers an easy and enjoyable walk along the riverbed, even for novices. The area’s altitude of around 500m provides the perfect environment for a lush pine forest. Regrettably, repeated fires have caused the forest to diminish in size. Nevertheless, the area is worth a visit, and visitors are sure to be charmed by the sight of small pine trees sprouting from the rocks, akin to bonsai trees.

The gorge’s depth extends to 300m. At one spot, two narrow rocks form the entrance to a series of caves that served as a refuge for Cretan rebels and Allies during the German Occupation. The locals refer to this area as the “Chinese Landscape”, due to the smooth rocks dotted with bonsai-like trees. Adjacent to the gorge’s exit, visitors can explore the village of Kalamafka with its inviting taverns and babbling water. Additionally, nearby attractions include an ancient olive oil mill and the churches of Saint John and Saint Anthony.

  • Hiking
  • 9.5 km

Kritsa Gorge

  • Kritsa Gorge

The Kritsa Gorge, located 9.5km southwest of Agios Nikolaos, begins near the charming village of Kritsa and concludes at Tapes village. This 4 km long gorge, at some points, is only 1.5m wide. It is fairly easy to navigate, with a few areas requiring caution, where large rocks need to be climbed over. However, it is not advisable to visit the gorge following rainfall, as the resulting ponds can obstruct the paths.

The canyon’s entrance near Kritsa is striking. The mountain is split in two, creating the narrow Havgas passage (Havgas is a common term for gorges in East Crete). In addition to the main trail that begins near Kritsa’s stone bridge, there is an alternate path that starts in the village itself.

Close to the trailhead, you’ll find a large rock that can be scaled with relative ease. Beyond this point, the canyon becomes even more breathtaking, with slender passages and towering walls that block out sunlight. This natural wonder is particularly beautiful in spring when flowers are in bloom and water levels are low. The walls eventually recede, revealing a picturesque valley filled with olive groves. If you continue along the riverbed for approximately 1.5 hours, you’ll arrive at the lovely village of Tapes, where you can relax at the local coffee shop.

  • 4 km
  • 2.5 h
  • Hiking
  • 12.7 km

Sarakina Gorge

  • Sarakina Gorge

This magnificent natural phenomenon – Sarakina Gorge – can be found near the traditional village of Mythi and the coastal settlement of Myrtos, where the Kryos river merges with the sea.

As the tale goes in Greek mythology, Zeus’s son, the giant Sarantapihos, once paused to quench his thirst from the Myrtos or Kryos river, near Ierapetra. His sweeping beard slashed the mountain, dividing it into two parts, thereby forming the Sarakina canyon.

Regarded by many visitors as Crete’s most captivating hiking gorge, Sarakina may only stretch 1.5km, but within this concise journey, one encounters an awe-inspiring spectacle of nature, a natural sculpture painstakingly crafted by water over countless years. The canyon boasts towering walls that rise up to 150m high and extremely narrow passages often found in technical gorges that require canyoneering equipment. The width of Sarakina fluctuates between 3 to 10 meters, rarely extending beyond these points.

The majority of the canyon is accessible to explorers of all abilities, featuring water, pools, and a handful of climbing points that necessitate careful navigation. A standout feature is the abundant water almost all year round, creating picturesque waterfalls and ponds perfect for a refreshing dip, even in the summer. In winter, traversing the gorge without getting soaked is a challenge. As one embarks on the route, they’ll encounter the need to climb, navigate immense boulders, and cross rocky bridges. Carved stone stairs and tree trunks are present in tricky spots to facilitate easier climbing.

  • 1.5 km
  • 1 h
  • Hiking
  • 13.6 km

Adrianos Gorge

  • Adrianos Gorge

The Adrianos Gorge originates from the Adrianos village. There are areas within the gorge where large rocks obstruct the pathway, making navigation challenging, but achievable (it takes approximately 3 hours to traverse). In close proximity to the gorge, you can explore the Maridon and Atziganospilios caves.

The river that courses through the gorge is a segment of the Skoulikaris or Xeropotamos River. This river collects water from the Potami village valley and, after covering several kilometers, it finally drains near the Agios Nikolaos town stadium.

  • 4.5 km
  • 3.5 h
  • Hiking
  • 13.7 km

Ha Gorge

  • Ha Gorge

Ha Gorge, a mesmerizing natural wonder carved into the western side of Mount Thrypti, channels water from the Thripti plateau to the Pachia Ammos beach. The gorge’s journey commences near the Saint Anne Byzantine church and the E4 footpath at approximately 800m altitude, and concludes near the Monastiraki village, about 100m above sea level.

Traversing the Ha Gorge demands canyoneering skills and specific gear due to its series of cascading waterfalls, including a 35m high plunge. The gorge tightens to a mere thirty centimetres at certain points, squeezed between cliffs that rise to 400 meters. The Mastoras waterfall, one of Greece’s tallest free falls reaching 215m, contributes substantial water midway through the route.

For those with less experience, a hike from the Monastiraki exit of the gorge provides a peek into its splendour, leading to a charming pond at the base of the final waterfall and past ancient grain mills. The name of the gorge, Ha, originates from the Greek verb “Hasko,” which means to create a gap. However, local folklore offers vibrant alternative explanations. From stories of misleading Saracens to myths of a golden chariot hidden deep within, the Ha Gorge is not only a stunning natural spectacle but also a symbol of intriguing local mythology.

  • 5 km
  • 5 h
  • Canyoneering equipment needed
  • 14.1 km

Agriomandra Gorge

  • Agriomandra Gorge

The Agriomandra gorge, though brief in length, leads to the charming, small beach of Agriomandra. To reach it, one must traverse the verdant meadows to the west of Kavoussi, known as the Lakos Ambelion area, via a dirt road until the gorge’s entrance is reached.

Commencing from this point, a straightforward trail leads to Agriomandra beach within a mere 10-minute walk. As you approach the beach, you’ll notice several petite caves embedded within the rocks. One of these has been constructed from stone and serves as a church, built during the Byzantine era by a hermit and dedicated to St. John the Theologian. This church is still occasionally used for baptisms.

A short walk further, approximately 650 meters from the parking area, you’ll arrive at the stunning pebble beach, graced with crystal-clear, emerald waters.

  • 0.5 km
  • 0.2 h
  • Hiking

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