In 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.
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 after an 80m high fall turns into a dark underground river) and many more.
At the furthest tip of Akrotiri Cape there is the gorge of Diplochachalo. It is located close to the village of Chordaki, on the way to the famous beach of Stefanou. This is a small, stunning and purely technical canyon with 6 descents, 2 of which are quite high. It starts just below the quarry that dominates the area.
The Gorge of Tromarissa is located near the village Zourva and it is said that it gets its name after the myths about fairies and goblins that scared passersby at the position where we meet the spring of Tromarissa (tromazo means get scared in Greek).
At the small and almost deserted village Chordaki, district of Amari, we meet the small but very beautiful canyon of Kynigospilios south of the village. It is a secret place, not visible from anywhere and this is the main reason that remains it unknown. The canyon Kynigospilios has enough water flow during the winter months till the end of spring, which comes from the slopes of Mount Kedros.
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.
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.
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.
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 canyon is formed north of Rodakino village and is inaccessible without the use of canyoning equipment. It starts south of the summit of Kryoneritis Mount and after 5km it merges with the canyon of Sykia, just before reaching the bridge of Rodakino.
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.
Adjacent and parallel to the current highway linking Heraklion to Messara plane, between the villages Prinias and Avgeniki, a beautiful canyon is formed. Its descent requires the use of canyoning equipment, as it forms some steep descents.
There are several places in Crete that are beautiful, but only a few of them can be described as winders of nature. A place that is a real wonder of nature is the gorge of Arvi that tears Arvion Mount in two, over which the shrine of Zeus Arveios was sited.
Portela Gorge is located at the south of the prefecture of Iraklion; the canyon starts from Hondros village and its exit is in Keratokambos. It is one of the most dangerous canyons in Greece.
Kavousi canyon is located near Keratokambos (near Ano Viannos, south Heraklion) in Dikti Mountain. The total length is 1km and the altitudinal difference between entrance and exit is 170m.
The canyon of Tsoutsouras is located in Tsoutsouras village and is one of the many inaccessible canyons of the area. It starts at position Sfakias and it's exit is located near the settlement, in Larinaki area, and at first glance it causes awe.
Just a few meters to the west of Tsoutsouros, the very narrow and smaller gorge of Troulla is formed. Being shorter than the Tsoutsouros canyon, it has attracted the attention of the canyoners and is very impressive with more than 15 beautiful waterfalls along its bed, the largest being 15m high.
The canyon of Panagia (Virgin Mary), also known as Kalami I is parallel to the gorge Xerofarago or Kalami II and takes its name after the former monastery of Panagia Keralimeniotissa located at its exit.
Xerofarago Gorge is located south of Kalami village (Viannos area), 75km southeast of Heraklion. It is a small gorge ideal for canyoning (known to the canyoners as Kalami II) that terminates close to the old church of Panagia Keralimeniotissa, where another gorge, Kalami Gorge ends.
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.
The Gorge of Ethia, officially known as Vorno, is located south of Heraklion, at the Asterousia Range. It starts from the village Ethia and, after tearing Asterousia northwards, it finishes at the plain of Messara, between the villages and Rotasi and Mesochori.
Canyon Kakoperatos located 10km south of Ahendrias village, on the eastern side of Asterousia Mountains. The distance from Heraklion is approximately 66km. The gorge is only crossed with technical equipment.