Agia Irini Gorge
Compared to the Samaria and the Aradena gorge, the Irini Gorge is more “friendly” with lush green vegetation. A well prepared path leads you through the gorge and on the way you find some resting areas with fountains for drinking water. Especially if you walk early in the morning through the gorge there is a big chance you see some Kri kris, the wild goats of Crete! At the end of the gorge you can enjoy a rest at Oasis bar/tavern before you walk further to Sougia.
The Agia Irini Gorge is situated on the western flank of the White Mountains. Some tourist offices offer this walk as a day tour excursion but not as frequent as Imbros and Samaria. The gorge starts at the village Agia Irini and ends after 7km. To reach the coastal village Sougia, you need to walk another 2,5 km along the road (very hot in the summer!).
Impression of Agia Irini Gorge
The Agia Irini gorge has a wide variety of flora, from trees (cypress, pine, maple, plane, oak, holm oak) to shrubs, brushwood and fine herbs such as sage thyme and dittany. Also it hosts the endangered Cretan wild goat, kri kri, and is characterised by a variety of micro environments that is the habitat for many species of wildlife. The importance of the gorge is great, not only for its high biodiversity, but also for its historical and cultural identity. The gorge was a hiding place for the rebels and was used as escape route from the Turks. Via the path into the Figou Gorge they escaped from the Irini gorge to the area of Omalos