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Gorges to hike and walk near Tourlotí, in Heraklion region

List of Gorges near Tourlotí

  • 10.6 km
  • Mindris Gorge
  • 7 km
  • 4 h

The Mindris Gorge, starting near Filippi village and ending at the Tsoutsouras port, spans a length of 6km. It’s an open canyon with no vertical walls and a riverbed that dries up in the summer, making it easy to traverse. Along the riverside, remnants of ancient settlements from the Minoan to Roman Era have been discovered.

One can start their hiking journey from the road that links Kasteliana and Tsoutsouras. This route takes you through the riverbed of the Myndris River, where carob trees are predominant. Midway through the canyon, at Perdikoneri, you’ll find a spring with drinkable water.

In the vicinity of the canyon and near Tsoutsouras, archaeologists have unearthed signs of the ancient town of Inatos, including Roman Baths, a trail, and several other structures dating back to the Minoan era.

  • 12.5 km
  • Tsoutsouras Gorge
  • 1.5 km
  • 2.5 h

Situated in the eastern region of the Asterousia range, the Tsoutsouras Canyon is nestled within the Tsoutsouras area. This canyon is one of the many inaccessible ones in the region, initiating at the Sfakias position and culminating near the Larinaki area, close to the settlement. The sight of it can be quite breathtaking at first glance.

Despite its relatively short length of 1.5km, the Tsoutsouras Canyon serves as an excellent training ground for those new to canyoning. It’s a technical gorge, implying that the only way to navigate it is through the use of canyoning ropes. There are 12 descents or rappels within the canyon, with the highest one towering at 30m.

The majority of these rappels are found near the canyon’s exit, where the gorge deepens and the rocks display a stunning array of colors. During spring, the presence of water enhances the experience of rappelling down the waterfalls, making it truly unforgettable.

  • 12.5 km
  • Achendrias Gorge
  • 4 h

The Achendrias gorge, situated approximately 50km south of Heraklion, concludes at the Maridaki beach. It traverses the barren landscape of the Asterousia Range, marked by stark mountains, jagged rocks, and coarse grazing lands. The gorge is quite accessible for the most part, except for the final stretch, which can only be navigated by seasoned canyoners. This is where high waterfalls form due to the Asterousia fault line.

The journey begins gently from the plain of the Achendrias village, where the gorge collects water. It initially passes through the Farangouli location, a fairly open ravine. It then moves through the Plakoures position, a striking stony mass with layered limestone, before reaching the sea via the Lihnistis gorge. Just before it reaches the sea, it forms five waterfalls, the tallest of which is 60 meters and named Lihnistis. This part requires canyoning equipment to cross, otherwise, one must turn back and follow the trail in the Ligiofarago.

After the waterfall, the landscape transforms into a verdant river valley at the Maridaki settlement, just before the sea. This area is lush with a spring, tall plane trees, and babbling water. If you’re fortunate, you might even spot the river fairies who are said to reside here!

If you prefer not to walk along the gorge, you can still enjoy its beauty by driving the rugged 15km dirt road from Mesohorio to Maridaki, passing by the Agios Nikitas monastery and the Agios Antonios palm grove. A significant portion of this route runs alongside the gorge.

The canyon is home to a large population of raptors and vultures, making the Asterousia gorges the largest habitat for these birds in Europe.

At the gorge’s exit, you’ll find the Lichnistis waterfall, a sequence of 5 waterfalls with the tallest standing at 60 meters. These waterfalls flow after heavy rainfalls and form ponds that are ideal for a refreshing dip in the spring. The waters of Lichnistis originate from springs south of the Ahendrias village and flow into the gorge, whose exit is home to Lichnistis. It’s a mere 10-minute walk from the Maridaki settlement. Named after the way the water disperses into the air like a misty cloud, resembling the winnowing process, the Lichnistis waterfall is one of many in the Asterousia mountains.

  • 12.6 km
  • Troulla Gorge
  • 0.7 km
  • 2 h

A few kilometres west of Tsoutsouras gorge in the eastern Asterousia range, you’ll find the smaller and narrower Troulla gorge. Though it’s shorter than the Tsoutsouros canyon, it has captivated the hearts of canyoners with its over 15 stunning waterfalls, the tallest reaching 15m. Its close proximity to the Tsoutsouras Canyon makes its geological features similar. It was endearingly named Tsoutsouraki, meaning small Tsoutsouras, by the first group to traverse it.

The entrance to the gorge is situated just west of a remarkable rock known as Troulla near Tsoutsouras, at a location called Meli Lakos (Honey’s Pit). The exit is located in the area of Staoussa, adjacent to the village. Descending the gorge requires technical canyoning equipment, particularly during the winter when the waterfalls are in full flow.

  • 13.0 km
  • Spiliotissa Gorge
  • 1 km
  • 0.5 h

The Spiliotissa gorge, situated approximately 24km to the south of Heraklion, is a verdant chasm that originates from the Houdetsi village, passes through Agios Vasilios, and terminates in the Peza valley, where its waters feed into the Kounaviano gorge. The most picturesque section of the gorge is the 1.5km stretch between Houdetsi and Agios Vasilios. Starting from Houdetsi, where parking is available in the village, a well-kept trail leads down to Agios Vasilios, meandering through dense foliage and groves of orange and olive trees, irrigated by the stream.

At the beginning of the path, two Byzantine churches, Saint John the Baptist and Saint Nicholas, are encountered, along with two former grain mills. After approximately 500m, the historic Sinai Monastery of Panagia Spiliotissa can be found, which lends its name to the gorge. A quick exploration of the small monastery with its cave-like church is followed by a continued journey into the verdant heart of the canyon, towards Agios Vasilios. A beautiful fountain and the Byzantine church of Saint John are located just outside the monastery.

  • 13.5 km
  • Kakoperatos Gorge
  • 1.5 h

Situated 10km south of Ahendrias village, on the eastern flank of the Asterousia Mountains, you’ll find the majestic and untamed Kakoperatos canyon. Its journey begins at the Apomoni site, along the road linking Achendrias to the Saint Nikitas monastery, and concludes at the Skiadaki beach. To access its riverbed, technical canyoning gear is a must due to the presence of towering 15m waterfalls. However, if you prefer a less challenging route, you can bypass the falls by skirting around the edges and trekking down the gorge.

  • 14.1 km
  • Mesosfini Gorge
  • 2 km
  • 4 h

Situated 55km south of the city of Heraklion, in the remote Asterousia range to the west of the coastal village of Tris Ekklissies, lies the untamed and hard-to-reach Mesosfini canyon. This technical gorge is characterized by waterfalls and necessitates specific canyoning gear and training for descent. The entrance to the canyon is found at an elevation of 450m near the village of Mournia, while the grand Voidomatis beach can be found at its exit, accessible via a dirt path from Tris Ekklisies.

At the outset, the canyon is quite narrow, but gradually widens. The vertical drops are substantial, creating waterfalls in the winter and an abundance of boulders that render it impassable. In fact, the Mesosfini Gorge is unique in Crete for having two almost 90m high descents. Therefore, Mesosfini has become a haven for seasoned climbers and canyoners who have been adventuring here for many years.

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