On the rugged terrain of Crete, rivers meet large faults and steep descents during their course through the canyons, forming hundreds of small and high waterfalls. Even locals are unaware of the existence of several waterfalls, as most of them are invisible and hidden in the impassable gorges. The vast majority has water from the first months of the year by the end of spring.
The most famous waterfalls with water flowing all year round are the falls of Kourtaliotis by Plakias, Richtis near Sitia and Mylonas near Ierapetra. Impressive waterfalls are formed in winter along the large fault of the Asterousia Range, with the most famous being the fall Lichnistis at Maridaki and the impressive waterfall of Ambas by Paranymfi. A large number of winter waterfalls are also found at Mount Kedros, with the most famous being Selinara, Gre Dafni and Rechtara.
Crossing gorges of Crete with high waterfalls is possible only by using technical equipment. Appropriate training in canyoneering techniques can be offered by specialist companies on the island. The most popular technical canyons of Crete include the imposing gorge Ha, Tsoutsouras, Kalami, the gorge of Arvi (which turns into a dark underground river after an 80m high fall) and many more.
The Mastoras waterfall at the side of gorge Ha is 215m high and it is the highest fall in Greece.
The amazing gorge of Richtis is located in Lasithi Prefecture, on the north side, between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. It starts just outside the village Exo Mouliana and ends at the Richtis beach, east of the village of Kalabro. The total length of the route is approximately 3 kilometers and the elevation difference between the starting point and the beach is about 350 meters. The gorge, even in summer, has enough water, which is used by locals.
The Gorge of Mylonas or Saint John is located 18km east of Ierapetra. It starts near the village of St. John, at an altitude of 500m, and ends at the beach of Kakia Skala. Descending the gorge from Saint John is impossible, as it is stopped by a high waterfall, and canyoning equipment is necessary.
Nearby the lush green and full of water springs Orino village we meet one of the most steep rivers of Crete. Its springs are located high on the plateau Abelia on the slopes of Thripti and Papouri mounts. They shortly form a river which crosses the village square and enters the rugged canyon of Orino.
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.
The gorge of Ambas is located 53km south of Heraklion, in Asterousia Mountains. Starting from the small plateau formed near the village Paranymfi (710m altitude), it ends at the beach of Treis Ekklisies. This is a large (4km long) and beautiful canyon with many narrow passages, which is accessible only by experienced canyoners.
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).
Gorge of Embasa starts its course from the village Kato Kera and ends near the village Gonies, being about 2km long. Its upper part is very steep and in winter several waterfalls are formed, with the highest being about 20m high.
The gorge of Eligas is a monument of natural beauty located on the west side of the mountain Koupa near the village Miliaradon by Embaros. It is actually a high waterfall with nine rapels, ideal for canyoning. The difference of altitude between the entrance and the exit is about 230m.
Achendrias gorge is located about 52km south of Heraklion, is approximately 8km long and ends on the beach Maridaki. It crosses the arid landscape of Asterousia Range that is characterized by bare mountains, sharp rocks and rough pasture lands. Throughout most of its length it is easily accessible and is dry in summer.
The highest waterfall in Greece is located at Thripti range and has a height of 215m. It is located just above the small settlement of Monastiraki, by Ierapetra, and is visible from the plane west to the village.
The waterfall of Retzakas is located near the village Tzitzifies and is the highest waterfall of Kissamos province, with a height of about 15m. It has water during the winter and early spring months.
At the south slopes of Kedros mount, at position Rechtres and over the village Platanes (Rethymno Prefecture), there is the wild and dangerous gorge of Platanes. Its most length is open, but descend requires canyoning equipment.
Above Krya Vryssi we meet one of the highest waterfalls in Crete, the waterfall of the wild gorge Gre Daphne, known as Rechtas. It has water until spring and falls from a height of 100m! A little further down, in the ravine of Gre Daphne there is the rock climbing field of Krya Vryssi.
Next to the Church of St. Constantine and Helen by Tsikalaria there is a waterfall about 12m high, with a large quantity of water in winter. The picturesque landscape with a waterfall behind the chapel is very enchanting.
Just a few meters before reaching the small village of Orne (province of AgiosVasilios, Rethymno) we meet the imposing waterfalls of Selinara. It is actually a river of alternating waterfalls, not just one, on the south slopes of Kentros Mount.
Very few villages in Crete are fortunate to have a waterfall in their space. One of these is Kato Kastelliana south of Heraklion on the foot of Asterousia Range. At the south entrance of Kato Kastelliana we meet Richtra, a beautiful waterfall that is the pride of the place. Richtra that the idiom of Asterousia means waterfall and it is an impressive 8-9m high waterfall with almost triangular shape.
A few meters after the beautiful Byzantine church of Saint George Hostos at Pirouniana, by village Agia Varvara we meet an unknown waterfall. The fall of Saint George is on the riverside path that leads to the deserted settlement Axenti today and shortly after a well-preserved watermill. The stream at that point creates a small waterfall 4 meters high.
The river Axedianos carries water from the area east of Agia Varvara and Agios Thomas and in some places forms some really beautiful waterfalls. In particular, at the site of the picturesque chapel of Panagia Kardiotissa near Agios Thomas, numerous waterfalls are formed, creating a unique setting till the spring.
To the north side of Asterousia Range, south of Heraklion, on the road heading from Rotasi to Ethia meet waterfall Riktra. Riktra is actually a series of four consecutive waterfalls with very easy access from the road. During winter a little higher from the point where the waterfalls are created, springs shape a small stream that shortly, after the waterfalls, meets the long river Anapodaris.
On the southeast side of Mount Sanida, near the village Skourvoula, a small but very wild gorge is formed called Rizopetro. The gorge ends near Faneromeni dam after a very impressive 60m high waterfall, having water only after heavy rainfalls.