All walkers that have visited Crete have heard about the Samaria Gorge, one of the most famous gorges in Europe! Perhaps one of the reasons you even came to Crete! It is also a fantastic hike through an impressive landscape with towering walls! You won’t be the only one hiking this gorge, as many tourist offices offer this excursion. And how is it during the summer months? Not too hot? Well, you are in Crete and in summer it never gets cold, so yes hot it gets! Although in Samaria there is quite some shade, especially in the beginning. Also the time you start walking and the altitude at the start helps!
Except of the famous Samaria Gorge there are many other interesting (and less visited) gorges in Crete. In this short article we give you some tips about other possibilities of gorges with water all year round (and therfore nicely cool!). They are also shady and mostly not too long. Here below there are 5 gorges with running water which are great hikes during the hot summer months!
Much more information about different gorges you find on our site: https://www.discoveronfoot.com/walking-on-crete/gorges-of-crete
An other website with tons of information is: https://www.cretanbeaches.com/en/gorges-and-canyons-of-crete
Water in the Sarakina Gorge
Gorges with water!
1. The Patsos Gorge or Agios Antonios Gorge
The Patsos Gorge also known as the St. Antonios Gorge, is located north of the village Patsos in the Sivritos area. The gorge is about 5 km long and requires about 2 hours to traverse. At some points it's a bit of a scramble. It is a very green and shady gorge with a small river that runs all year round. There are spectacular rocks and at the start you can admire the St. Antonio's cave-church.
2. Richtis Gorge
The Richtis Gorge is a very green gorge located in Lassithi Prefecture, on the north side, between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. It starts just outside the village Exo Mouliana and ends at the Richtis beach, east of the village of Kalabro. The walk starts at the stone-arched bridge of Lachanas (19th century). You walk along the river which you have to cross sometimes and even in the summer there is water in this gorge.
Location of the Richtis Gorge
The route is 4 kilometres long and takes about 3 hours to cross. Highlight of the walk is the beautiful waterfall of over 15 meters and an impressive watermill.
3. Mili Gorge
The Mili Gorge is located southeast of the town Rethymno. It has a unique beauty, rich in flora and fauna and is famous for the remains of stone houses and ca, 30 watermills. The walk through the gorge starts either from the old village of Mili or higher up from Chromonastiri and ends at Missiria just 3 km east of Rethymno. The Mili Stream, fed by the surrounding springs, once carried great amounts of water needed to keep the mills working, all the year round.
Location of the Mili Gorge
In lower part of the gorge the Gorge you find water canals with running water that is used for irrigation.
4. Astrakiana Gorge
The Astrakiano gorge (or gorge of Karteros) is quite a long gorge with a total length of about 12,5 km. The entrance is after the settlement of Kato Astrakoi and its exit is in Mesa Karteros, a recreational area situated in a site of exceptional beauty. You can reach the village of Astrakoi by bus from Heraklion (18.5 km) and from the village of Myrtia. The gorge is crossed by the river Karteros. There is a well-marked walking trail and the total duration of the route is about 3.30 hours. There used to be 10 watermills in the gorge and the locals were fishing eels and crabs in the river.
5. Sarakina Gorge (East Crete)
The Sarakina Gorge is located 16 km west of Ierapetra close to the traditional village of Mythi. The entrance of the gorge starts close to this village and ends near the coastal village of Mirtos. The canyon reaches 1.5km and its width ranges from 3 to 10 meters, with only a few points exceeding that. The walls reach a height of 150m, making this narrow gorge very impressive. In the gorge, Kryopotamos River is flowing all over the year. The canyon is rich in vegetation, birds and gurgling water. This is a canyon with most of its length being accessible, with water, ponds and some climbing points. It takes about 1,5-2 hours to cross the gorge.
Of course there are many more suitable gorges; with water, shady or not too long! Write your experiences in the comments below!