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Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)

Gorge description

Located approximately 100km southwest of Heraklion city, north of Ano Meros village, you’ll find the Kalamafka or Gorge Smiliano. The Lygiotis river, originating from the Gerakari valleys and the Samitos Mount slopes, flows through this gorge. The 2.5km long canyon begins near Vrysses village, close to the deserted settlement of Smile, and concludes north of Ano Meros, accessible via an asphalt road.

During winter, the gorge is filled with water, making entrance risky even for experienced canyoners. However, an alternative route via a dirt road descending from Drygies village leads just above the gorge. Here, the canyon’s steep walls form a slope with a trail, allowing relatively easy descent to the gorge’s heart, precisely at the point where the stunning waterfalls are formed continuously. The gorge comprises about 10 remarkable rappels, with the tallest waterfall being 13 meters. The ponds formed beneath each waterfall are equally breathtaking, and it’s worth noting that Gorge Smiliano boasts the largest and deepest ponds compared to any other gorge in Crete.

A journey through the canyon (as described in June of a particularly rainy year)
Starting near Smile, we first cross a small arched bridge. After just 50m, we enter the gorge’s main section, greeted by a large pond. The canyon then narrows to about 2m and forms a deep pond, 2-3m deep, requiring swimming. The first small rappel we encounter ends in a large, deep pond (perfect for jumping), where the depth exceeds 3m.

Following this, a rock lodged between the canyon walls forms a natural arch. After swimming for several meters (over 25) without touching the ground, we continue our journey unimpeded. We soon encounter the first high waterfall, and the gorge narrows further (1-1.5m). To continue through this narrow section of the canyon, ropes are required. Alternatively, we can walk alongside the canyon until we reach the 15m high rappel that ends in a very deep pond, perfect for a big jump.

The gorge extends eastward, and the deep ponds gradually become small, shallow ponds. Towards the end of the gorge, the water almost disappears, making it impossible to anticipate the aquatic paradise that lies just a few meters ahead.


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Most frequent asked questions

What type of gorge is Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)?

Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) is a hiking gorge.

Is there water in Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) all year round?

Yes, there is water in Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) all year round.

How accessible is Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)?

Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) is accessible via a paved road.

What is the length of Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)?

Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) is 2.5 km long.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how difficult is Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)?

Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) has a difficulty level of 5 out of 10.

How many hours does it take to hike Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)?

It takes approximately 3 hours to hike Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka).

What is the altitude difference in Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka)?

The altitude difference in Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) is 200.

In which region is Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) located?

Smiliano Gorge (Kalamafka) is located in the Rethymno region.

User reviews

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