Crete has a number of Gorges with the most famous one being the Samaria Gorge, the longest and most beautiful one in Europe. I am giving you a list of Gorges on Crete that are of the most interest
- Agia Eirini Gorge
- Ha Gorge
- Havgas Gorge
- Imbros Gorge
- Kotsifos Gorge
- Kourtaliotiko Gorge
- Kritsa Gorge
- Mesona Gorge
- Milona Gorge
- Orino Gorge
- Richtis Gorge
- Samaria Gorge
- Sarakina Gorge
Agia Eirini Gorge is located in the south-west of the island of Crete, Greece, in Lefka Ori (White Mountains) The gorge starts near the village of Agia Eirini, where it got its name and it ends near the village of Sougia, on the south coast. It is 8 kilometres long and 45 to 500 meters deep, in a forested area with steep mountain cliffs, and it is easy to walk. In 1866, 1,000 women and children escaped from the Ottomans through this gorge.
The walk from Agia Eirini to Sougia takes a total of 4 hours and can be done throughout the year, provided that it hasn’t rained in the preceding days. The path in the gorge was improved considerably a few years ago and is, for most people, without difficulties and easy to follow with plenty of shade. There are several resting places where you can also get water.
Although the gorge of Agia Eirini is less spectacular than the gorge of Samariá, it is far less crowded and very beautiful.
Ha Gorge is a narrow gorge, at the Monasteraki Dakos, on the eastern part of the island of Crete. It’s located in the west slope of Thrypti mountain range and exits east of Vasiliki village in the plain of Ierapetra. From this location scenic views overlook Pahia Amos and the bay. Being practically inaccessible to people, the gorge maintains a rich and diverse flora and fauna. Its depth is about 1,000 meters and the fissure is said to be one of the largest in the world. Late Minoan sites are in the area. Access to the geological fault is very difficult. The road approach to the gorge is 110 kilometers along the national highway from Iraklio to Agios Nikolaos and then the approach leads through Ierapetra and the village of Episkopi. From this village, a diversion road over a distance of 10 kilometres leads to the Thrypti, a location of the above mentioned church. From this location access to the gorge is only by walking.
The gorge has an elevation of 370 meters at the entrance where the width is about 3 meters. It is about 1.5 kilometers long, particularly narrow at several points and has rocky walls rising up to 300 meters, in cascade form. The gorge splits “at right angles a fault-cliff which divides east Crete”. The width of the gorge varies from 6 to 10 meters; at some locations it is as narrow as 1.5 meters. Its depth is about 1,000 meters and the fissure is said to be one of the largest in the world. It has a number of falls along its length out of which a fall of 250 m is the steepest.
The geological formations created by this wide fault exposes the rock-beds and their folds which are identical on both banks of the gorge. Geologically it is interpreted as a “r Tectonics” active normal fault, known as the Ierapetra active fault with a northeast-southwest orientation.
The stream emerging from the gorge is diverted to drive two watermills. Abseiling is conducted in the vicinity; the gorge has 26 abseils of varying length from 10 to 45 meters.
Archeological excavations in the vicinity of have revealed Late Neolithic-Final Neolithic (4000 BC -3000BC) occupation on the Monastiraki Katalimata, which is precariously located at the edge of Ha Gorge. Monasteraki Halasmenos is nearby. Halasmenos, a Late Minoan site, lies on a hill near the end of the gorge’s mouth, and with Kavousi and Vasiliki-Kephala, it forms a triad of important sites from this period. A number of ruins and artifacts have been unearthed on the northern bank of the Ha gorge, with some of the ruins perched on the individual narrow rock shelfs near vertical face of the cliff. Apart from archaeologists, a few adventure seeking rock climbers are seen in the area, which otherwise is almost inaccessible.
Havgas Gorge is located in eastern Crete and its the canal that carries water from the Katharo Plateau to the Lasithi Plateau. The winter and rainy season makes the approach difficult and dangerous in the canyon.
Generally the canyon is passable and impressive. In the Neraidokolympo (a large swimming area) there is a large round block, which has fallen to the bottom of the gorge and diverted the water’s flow. From that point on, the canyon becomes inaccessible, and only experienced climbers can continue the route. Its also part of the wild gorge of Mesonas starting from the Thripti plateau
The part called Havgas starts near the Minoan settlement of Azorias and ends its course in Kavousi, being only 700m long. Crossing it through its stream requires technical (canyoning) equipment as there are six beautiful waterfalls, which the highest is 20 meters high and has water till late winter. Alternatively, you can overcome the gorge by walking in the ancient hiking trail that bypasses the canyon from its east side and connecting Avgos to Kavoussi.
Imbros Gorge is an 11 km long canyon located near Hora Sfakion in southern Crete, the Mediterranean island. It runs parallel to Samariá Gorge, its narrowest part has 1.60 m and it ends at the village of Kommitádes (8 km/ 650 m for hiking). The Imbros village (aka Nimbros) is located at an altitude of 780 meters and is at the South end of the fertile plain of Askyfou.
The legend tells that two brother were banished from Imbros, Turkey and lived in the Imbros village, Crete.
The Imbros Gorge mule trail was the only connection between Hania and Hora Sfakion, before the road was built. Remains of this trail can be still seen. The gorge witnessed an evacuation of several thousands of British soldiers during World War II before heading to Egypt.
The entrance fee is €2. Its easy to pass, it has no dangerous points and you don’t need a guide with you. Because it is so small, only a short amount of time is needed, ideal for those who can’t walk for many hours or don’t have much spare time. You can pass the gorge all year round except when it’s raining or snowing heavily. For those who reach Imbros with their own car, they can leave it there, pass the gorge and return to it with a taxi from Kommitádes or walk through the gorge all the way back again, as it is not so tiring. As someone walks downhill 8 km and 650 m, it is something like half of Samariá Gorge. But Samariá Gorge is scree above the river bed, and Imbros Gorge is round scree of the dry creek bed. The trail is still strenuous, people with over size waist, sandals without socks, and women with elegant shoes covering just their toes, suffer.
Samaria Gorge is the most well known and most beautiful one so far
Sarakina Gorge is 20 kilometers westbound from Ierapetra, lies “Mythi” village. The gorge of Sarakina begins at a short distance from the village, which is alternatively called Sarantapichos by the locals. According to the myth, Sarantapichos (a giant, son of Zeus) was crossing the mountain when he got thirsty. So, he leaned to the river to quench his thirst. As a result, his long beard tore the mountain in two, thus the gorge was born.