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Gorges to hike and walk near Sitia, in Lassithi region

List of Gorges near Sitia

  • 3.7 km
  • Agii Pantes Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 1.5 h

The Agii Pantes Gorge, situated adjacent to Skopi in the Sitia province and close to the Faneromeni Monastery, is one of the most accessible walking locations in Crete. The well-marked trail follows the Skafidaras river bed, offering a shaded walkway courtesy of the numerous platan trees. Within the canyon, there are two freshwater springs, Koutsounari and Hosto Nero, the latter of which is nestled within a cave. The gorge’s exit leads to Limni beach (by Platani).

In the winter months, the area that becomes flooded transforms into a significant wetland. Near the gorge’s exit, you can marvel at the white limestone formations that resemble large Pleurotus mushrooms. The Agii Pantes (All Saints) church, located near the gorge’s exit, gives the gorge its name.

  • 7.1 km
  • Charkomatas Gorge
  • 3 h

The Chalkomatas, also known as Charkomatas Gorge, is situated close to the village of Chamezi in the province of Sitia. The gorge begins where a dirt road ascends towards the Prophet Elijah temple and Liopetro fortress. The vegetation in the gorge is sparse, but the limestone geological formations are striking. The path along the usually dry riverbed is mostly smooth and relatively easy to navigate.

Approximately halfway along the route, elevated 60m above the riverbed, lies the Geloudospilios cave. Its name derives from the Geloudes, demonic entities that take the form of women and are said to drain the life from newborns by drinking their blood.

A three-hour trek through the gorge leads to the stunning Roussa Limni beach. The beach is located below the Chalkomatas cave, where, as per local folklore, pirates once concealed their valuable loot. There are rumors that locals even detonated the cave in their quest for gold. Alternatively, Roussa Limni can be accessed via a road from the nearby Papadiokambos beach, which is just a short walk away.

  • 9.2 km
  • Toplou Gorge

The Cretan countryside hides a remarkable secret – a petite gorge near the Toplou monastery, which is essentially a combination of two ravines that unite just before they meet the sea.

Despite its modest size, it harbors two significant marvels. The first is a quaint colony of Cretan date palm trees (Theophrastus palm trees). The second is a series of freshwater ponds that appear at the end of the gorge, near the sea. These springs are an extraordinary sight, especially considering the typically hot and arid climate of East Crete.

  • 11.0 km
  • Richtis Gorge
  • 5 km
  • 3 h

The Richtis Gorge, situated in the Lasithi Prefecture on Crete’s northern side, lies between the cities of Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. The trail begins just outside Exo Mouliana village and concludes at Richtis beach, to the east of Kalavros village. The entire route spans roughly 3 kilometres, with an elevation difference of around 350 meters between the starting point and the beach. Even in the summer months, the gorge retains a plentiful water supply, utilized for local agriculture. The water in the gorge is collected from the Drymias peak (918m) of the Orno range via the Lachanas and Mesa Mouliana streams, which converge near the trail’s starting point.

Depending on the hiker’s speed, the journey to the beach takes approximately three to four hours. The trail commences from the 19th-century stone-arched Lachanas bridge, a historic site where Christians reportedly killed local Turks attempting to reach Sitia and board a ship to Turkey during the population exchange between Greece and Turkey.

The path continues through a verdant landscape along the river, set against the stunning backdrop of Eastern Crete. The air is filled with the aroma of platans, oleander, and sage, and the scent of fresh herbs constantly shifts. Another notable feature is the old water mills that hikers encounter along the path, a testament to the past.

The crowning glory of the gorge is the breathtaking Richtis waterfall, which stands over 20 meters tall and forms a small pond at its base (the term “richtis” translates to “waterfall” in the Cretan dialect). The waterfall maintains its water flow even in the summer, providing a wonderful spot for a revitalizing dip. The trail concludes at the gorgeous pebbly Richtis beach, which features a small park with tamarisk trees, stone seats and tables, and a water fountain offering drinkable water.

Warning: To protect the delicate stream flora and fauna, please refrain from using sunscreen protection when swimming in rivers.

Tip: Many visitors choose to park their car on the main road at Exo Mouliana and walk down the paved road to the Lahanas bridge. By driving and parking next to the Lahanas bridge, you can save around 30 minutes of walking time. From there, it takes about 1.5-2 hours to reach the waterfall. For those less mobile or with young children, the quickest way to reach the waterfall is to drive along the narrow paved road to Richtis beach and walk for around 30 minutes in the opposite direction of the river.

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