Hiking in Crete

Avlaki
Gorge

Chania

Avlaki Gorge
(10 votes)
Avlaki Gorge - 3.1 out of 5 based on 10 votes

Avlaki gorge is located near the monastery Gouverneto, 16km east of Chania city. It is one of the most important gorges in Crete with a particular religious value, as many monks and hermits found shelter in its caves. Inside the small canyon there is the deserted Katholiko monastery, perhaps the oldest monastery in Crete. Thus, the gorge is also called Katholiko Gorge.

The gorge is not accessible in all its length, but there is a paved path that starts from the Monastery of Our Lady of Angels Gouverneto and heads to Katholiko monastery. The trail does not cover the entire length of the gorge, but it initially runs above and along its sides.

Walking in the path is easy, but quite downhill, so the return is a bit tedious (but short). After 10' of walking from Gouverneto, you will meet the cave of Arkoudiotissa with the ancient temple of Artemis. From there the trail becomes steeper and the scenery rougher. After 10 more minutes, you arrive at the abandoned monastery of Katholiko with the cavernous church of St. John the Hermit, who lived here. The cave is very deep (151m) and whoever wants to walk inside it must have a torch.

From the monastery, one can walk along the riverbed for more 15-25 and reach the exit of the gorge to the sea, after meeting the caves where the hermits lived in the past. At the exit of the gorge, a narrow and rocky fjord is shaped with deep blue waters. There is a small Venetian well, a small harbor where the monks parked and repaired their boats and the quarry for the materials of the monastery. Also, here is a boat-shaped rock, which is said to be a pirate ship that was petrified by the curses of the abbot of the monastery.

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Additional Info

  • Prefecture: Chania
  • Type: Hiking gorge
  • Water: Generally dry
  • Length (km): 2
  • Altitude difference (m): 280
  • Difficulty (0-10): 2
  • Hiking Hours: 1
  • Accessibility: Walking
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