Hiking in Crete

Almiros
Gorge

Heraklion

Almiros Gorge
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The gorge Almyros is located in Ellinoperamata and the is nearest canyon to the west of Heraklion city, being a small oasis near the bustling town. It is formed between the hills Keri and the post Minoan town of Kastrokefala. It is a very important habitat and the main reason is because in the middle of the east side is the largest wood of holly (Phillirea media) in Crete. There are many other species, such as platan trees, carob and wild olive trees, despite overgrazing.

It is the only gorge in Crete with seven names:

  1. Gorge of Keri, due to the homonym hill of Keri to the east.
  2. Gorge Almiros, due to its adjacency to the springs of Almiros river at its exit.
  3. Gorge of Ellinoperamata, because it ends at Ellinoperamata beach.
  4. Gorge Porofarago, a common name throughout Cretan gorges, meaning the passage.
  5. Gorge of Tris Ekkliseis (Three Churches), due to the small monastery of Saint John Farangitis that operated inside the gorge from 1350 till its destruction during the siege of Candia by the Turks that ended in 1669. Today there are two chapels; the first is dedicated to Saint Marina and the second double-aisled church is dedicated to Saint Anthony and Saint Paraskevi. There was a third chuch dedicated to Saint George.
  6. Gorge of Strouboulas, as it starts from the foothills of mount Strouboulas.
  7. Ghosts’ Gorge, due to the fact that for many years the area of the gorge was used by groups of Satanists, who performed their various ceremonies there. Thus, many locals or hikers in the area claim to have seen ghosts or other spirits in the area as a result of the ceremonies that took place.

Although being very close to Heraklion, only a few people have walked in there. The car reaches the point where the monastery of Agios Ioannis Farangitis (i.e. Saint John inside the Gorge) was built in 14th century and was then dedicated to Saint John the Baptist., near the canyon exit The chapel of Saint Marina, still surviving, was used as a cemetery, while the main temple was the current two-aisled chapel of Saint Anthony and Saint Paraskevi with very important frescoes. A few meters later we meet a shrine dedicated to Saint George and after walking for almost 1:30 we reach the chapel of Lord Christ at the starting point of the gorge.

There are many trees along the trail and the vegetation gets dense as we ascend. Initially the gorge is usually dry, but then turns to a small stream during spring. While ascening, you will meet 3 small waterfalls, which are formed at a place with pinkish limestone color after long and heavy rainfalls.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Hiking gorge, Signed trail
  • Water: Water till spring
  • Length (km): 3
  • Altitude difference (m): 150
  • Difficulty (0-10): 1
  • Hiking Hours: 1.5
  • Accessibility: Paved road
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