Rethymnon hosts several accessible beautiful canyons. The most famous is the Gorge Kourtaliotiko, in which flows the river Megalos that ends at the beautiful beach of Preveli with the dreamy palm grove. The gorge has the largest quantity of water in Crete and river trekking along its bed, from the springs to the beach, is an exciting experience. Other hiking-friendly canyons of Rethymnon include the twin Kollita gorges at the area of Argyroupolis, the gorge Kotsifos by Plakias, the gorge of Saint Anthony at Patsos, the gorge Prasano and the gorge Platania. Next to the town of Rethymnon there are the lush canyons of Myli, Vederi and Gallos.
The gorge of Patsos or Agios Antonios is located 8 km southwest of the Monastery of Arkadi, in the heart of the lush province of Amari. The water of the gorge is poured in the the dam of Potamoi. Trekking in the gorge is very easy, since it is managed by the Forest Service.
The Gorge of Kourtaliotis is located 22km south of Rethymno and has a length of 3km. It is one of the most spectacular natural attractions of Rethymnon. It starts from the village Koxare and flows between the mountains Kouroupis (984 m) and Xiro Oros (Dry Mountain - 904m). The huge cliffs of the canyon reach a height of 600 meters and are full of openings and caves, where significant fauna species live.
Mili Gorge is a stunning green oasis near the town of Rethymno. It is actuallya ravine inside which hosts a huge number of plants and trees, a real botanic garden. It is located north of the village Chromonastiri and south of Xero Chorio. In recent years it attracts many walkers who trek along a nice trail.
Kollita Gorges, i.e. Twin Ravines are located nearby the picturesque village Argyroupolis, about 22km southwest of Rethymnon city. They are named so, as they consist of two parallel canyons that end near Kato Poros settlement. Here we refer to the easternmost gorge of Moundros.
Margarites is a village, well known for its marvelous architecture and the traditional pottery. However, in the wider area of the villages of Margarites, Orthe and Eleftherna appear a series of small, parallel gorges. Small streams such as Margaritianos flow towards the north and are tributaries of the Geropotamos River. The gorges are developed in white-yellow marly limestone of the Upper Miocene period (8-10 million years ago) as a result of the uplift of the whole area and the erosion by water.
Petres Gorge is located 13km west of Rethymno and its mouth is situated on the beach of Episkopi. The river of the gorge is fed by the waters of Kollita Gorges and the surrounding area, covering almost half Rethymnon Prefecture. It has water all year round and forms an important wetland of Crete, especially at its mouth near Episkopi.
The canyon Kakoperatos is located by Agios Vasilios village at the province of Agios Vasilios. It’s a tributary of the Megalos River (Kourtaliotis) and as its name suggests (bad passage in Greek) it cannot be accessed from humans (by trekking).
The wild Prassano gorge is located 10 km southeast of Rethymnon. Starting south of Prasses village, it offers a three-hour walk through the stunning gigantic rocks and through some relatively hard accesses, which make the passage very interesting. The Prassano gorge is located next to the bare hills of Gargana. It ends in Platanias, east of the town of Rethymno.
The gorge of Kotsyfos starts at Kannevos village and ends at Plakias. The starting point is very narrow with a width of about 10m, which gradually increases and reaches 600m. The total length is 1800m, and the almost vertical sides that reach a height of 600m. Inside the gorge there is a small temple built inside a rocky cavity dedicated to Saint Nicholas.
Fratiano Gorge is one of the long canyons of Rethymno Prefecture, running alongside Kourtaliotiko Gorge and crossing Xiro Oros Mount. Its entrance is located 23km southeast of Rethymnon, next to the village Frati, and it mouth is located near the exit of the gorge Kourtaliotiko.
Platania Gorge is located in the Amari valley, 38km southeast of Rethymno, on the western outskirts of Psiloritis. It is a unique trail, with impressive cliffs, vertical limestone rocks, rock roofs and caves. The trail is recommended for experienced mountaineers, although the first part of the trek is quite easy and well pathed, even for children who are physically fit.
The Gorge of Swallows is located 33km south of town of Rethymno city, next to the famous beach of Preveli with the majestic palm grove and the stunning river. It starts close to the village Drymiskos, runs almost parallel to the canyon of Kourtaliotiko (that of Preveli) and ends at the beach of Drymiskiano Ammoudi. It’s name is taken after the the swallows that arrive in the area every summer.
1.5km east of Spili, next to the main road connecting Spili to Agia Galini, you will meet the chapel of Agia Fotini, also known as Agia Fotia. Next to the road, you will find the springs of Agia Fotia, an old mill and a quite high waterfall (in winter).
The canyon of Zoniana is located south of Zoniana village. Starting at an altitude of 950m, it ends at the village at an altitude of 650m. Through the gorge runs the "serpentine" Oaxis river that has water till spring. The gorge is easily accessible and safe for hiking, as its slope is small.
Gorge Smiliano or Kalamafka is located north of the village Ano Meros, about 100km southwest of Heraklion city. Through the gorge runs the Lygiotis river which is supplied by the valleys of Gerakari and the slopes of Samitos Mount. The canyon has a lot of water in winter and crossing it, by any means, is very tough.
Kollita Gorges, i.e. Twin Ravines are located nearby the picturesque village Argyroupolis, about 22km southwest of Rethymnon city. They are named so, as they consist of two parallel canyons that end near Kato Poros settlement and is part of the E4 trail. The first canyon on the east is called Moudriano Gorge, while the west gorge is Kato Poros Gorge of Vilandredo Gorge, mostly known as the main Kollita Gorge.
The beautiful canyon Galliano starts southeast of Gallos and ends at the town of Rethymnon. It is 5.5km long and the walk is along a verdant ravine. Along the way we meet the mill of Saounatsides used till the 20th century, with traces of an old chapel next to it. In the gorge there is also the temple of St Anthony.
Platys (i.e. wide) river is one of the rivers of foremost importance in Crete, flowing all year round. It gathers almost all water quantities of Amari valley and leads them at the beach of Agia Galini. At a secret location between the settlements Agia Paraskevi, Vyzari and Petrohori, the wide river gets narrow and forms two impressive ravines. The first is the small Mesa Faragi (inner gorge), reminding of the gorge of Kourtaliotis.
The Gorge of Arkadi starts just north of the Arkadi monastery and after a scenic route of 2 hours (some parts along the bed of the gorge as it is inaccessible), it ends near the village Pikris, where visitors can admire important Venetian architectural monuments. In the gorge of the exceptional natural beauty, the visitor has the opportunity to admire representative species of Cretan flora and fossils.
Kissano Gorge is located 1km north of Kissos village, in Amari valley, and 34km southeast of Rethymnon, connecting the village το the small plateau of Gious Kambos. It is a short, but beautiful gorge, crossed by the rural road of the area.