Crete is full of karst and geological formations. This category hosts some places which have high geological interest and are worth getting known better.
Gray limestone atop mountain peaks and vertical cliffs, deep and narrow dark canyons, steep shores, shiny greenish schist, pale phyllite, light limestone eroded by rain and wind, fertile yellowish marlstone - it’s all here. No wonder Crete is a multicolour island.
Voulismeno Aloni is located approximately 15km west of Heraklion and next to the old road connecting Heraklion to Rethymnon, near the village Marathos. It is one of the weirdest geological phenomena in Greece. It is a very large sinking (karstic doline) with circular shape.
Komolithi is one of the most bizarre and interesting landscapes in Crete. They are met by the village Potamida (Kissamos province), at the valley of Tyflos River, about 35km west of Chania. These are alternating small hills consisting of soft clay, which due to time erosion, have turned them to wonderful conical shapes.
The folds of the rocks at position Apoplystra, between the village of St. Paul and the sandhills are remarkably colorful and have been proposed to be listed to the Natural Monuments of Greece.
From the village Astiraki, Malevizi province, we can reach the fertile plateau of Vaklia. Before meeting the plateau Strouboulas we meet the position Galia. Galia is a completely barren plateau in contrast to the fertile reddish soils of Vaklia.
This is an entire mountainside with spectacular naturally carved rocks having amazing shapes. They are extremely sharp and stand tall like meteors in the sky, and between them aisles are formed that leave space for walking and for a few shrubs and trees.
At Tripiti, you'll meet an imposing passage, an open cave, with 200m high cliffs and amazing views to Lagada and Mesada areas. According to tradition, once the Turks stole the legendary icon of Virgin Mary from Kera monastery, but the icon used to return miraculously every time. Once, the icon flew hill and crashed to the mount, forming this cave.
Near Skinaria, on the road leading to the beach, you will see a weird cave on your left with a cylindrical shape, which penetrates a boulder. The cave is called Tripiti and is a nesting point for pigeons.
Gold can be considered a paradise for geology enthusiasts. One of the most spectacular geological sights of the island can be seen east of Belerinina beach, where you will meet thousands of fossils, mainly bivalves. The fossils form a so-called thanatocoenosis, that is, dead shells that have been gathered there by the streams and have fossilized over time.
Near Agia Varvara, at position Plakota Harakia, we meet some very special rock formations, reminiscent of huge round pies or hamburgers. Indeed, the locals call them Gria’ (Old Woman’s) Pies or Cheeses. Next to it there is a very large vertical rock, Votiros.
If you climb the cliffs on the east side of Agiofarago beach and walk for a while to the southeast, you will meet a hidden saltish lake - cave, called Vourvoulitis, surrounded by vertical cliffs.
The desert region bears the place name Elia by a centuries-old olive tree, the only tree in the area and is one of the 4 total olive trees (!) that we meet throughout the island. The existence of this secret desert does not seem in any beach of the island shows how close the island is located to the African climate and continent.
The spring of Gineka is a source of life for all the goats in the region and is an important point for the reproduction of frogs. Next to the spring there are ruins of an old building and some ancient terraces which served to hold the ground the area for cultivation of grain.
At the eastern end of Chora Sfakia harbor we meet the rock of Tsagaris (shoemaker). Tsagaris is a towering and sharp rock that stands out from the rest rocks in the area. From afar the rock looks like merging with the opposite side, however from below one notes that it hangs separate from others and is nowhere joined. Its top reminds of a head.
At the end of the long beach or a Pahia Ammos, at the west side of Paleochora, there is the Horse of Paleochora. This is not an animal but a very large and impressive rock of conglomerate limestone that reminds of a horse head. With a little imagination one can see the face and the eyes of the horse watching the long sandy beach that stretches in front of it.