Gorges in Crete

Martsalo
Gorge

Heraklion

Martsalo Gorge
(13 votes)

Martsalo gorge has a length of about 2km and is located in the south coast of the wild Asterousia Range, gathering rain water from the area Aginara near the monastery of Panagia Odigitria (the area is a monasterial property) and emptying on the beach Martsalo. Initially, a well maintained short path leads from the nearest dirt road to the cavernous church of Panagia Martsaliani, which dates back to the early Christian years and is believed to have functioned as a catacomb, where the first Christians took refuge. Around the church there are hermit cells carved into the rocks and traces of old buildings.

From there one can descend relatively easily into the bed of the gorge and end up on the beautiful beach of Martsalo, where according to local tradition the Apostle Paul disembarked for a while during his trip to Rome. On the way to the beach we meet many clusters of Cretan date palm trees, which compose the second largest colony in Asterousia, after the palm wood of Agios Nikitas.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Type: Hiking gorge
  • Water: Generally dry
  • Length (km): 2
  • Altitude difference (m): 170
  • Difficulty (0-10): 2
  • Hiking Hours: 1
  • Accessibility: Dirt track
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