Canyoning in Crete

Arvi
Gorge

Heraklion

Arvi Gorge
(13 votes)

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. The gorges of Arvi and Cha are two most impressive canyons of Crete. The gorge of Arvi is located north of the homonym village (south of Heraklion prefecture) and is formed by limestone of Mount Dikti.

Crossing it is impossible without canyoning equipment and lights as there are many consecutive waterfalls.This is a really dangerous place and any attempt from people not keen on canyoning can turn fatal. During the winter until the first summer the canyon has water making it even more impressive. Most of the water comes from springs of Kefalovrysi that have all year long water supply. The gorge of Arvi is technical with a high degree of difficulty.

The entrance is located in the wood of Konisma (Icon) which is named after a rock that looks like an icon of Christ. It runs across the position Fournos and forms many descents, with the most impressive being an incredible waterfall of 85 meters in the middle called Kapnistis (Smoker) because the water spreads like smoke due to height. Kapnistis is one of the highest and most impressive waterfalls in Crete. But what makes the canyon really unique and totally different from all other Canyons in Greece is the part after the high rappel of Kapnistis, where the river enters the bowels of the earth for 150 meters and forms a cave (underwater river)! In the underground section, the river continues to create underground waterfalls and access to all of this section requires lighting equipment because it is completely dark. After the dark section, the gorge continues to be incredibly narrow with amazing formations and there are large rocks – splines - under which we pass. After about 20 waterfalls the gorge ends and reaches the fertile plains of Arvi known for its banana crops, next to the monastery of St Anthony.

The area in the gorge exit has a particularly cacophonous names since it is called Donkey's Ass! There existed in ancient times a rich water spring which has dried up after building wells. This miracle of nature has been an attraction from ancient times for travellers. The river of the gorge finishes in the Libyan sea, but water never reaches the sea due to the exploitation for irrigation.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Canyoneering equipment needed
  • Water: Water till spring
  • Length (km): 2
  • Altitude difference (m): 350
  • Difficulty (0-10): 9
  • Hiking Hours: 2.5
  • Accessibility: Dirt track
  • Maximum Rapel Height (m): 50

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