Hiking in Crete



Attention! The heavy rains of the last years have damaged many gorges and many paths have been destroyed so they are no longer accessible. You could inform us for such cases, so we update the listings in our website.
Aradena Gorge
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The deepest gorge in Chania prefecture is the gorge of Aradena. The 138-meter-deep gorge is ideal not only for sightseeing or hiking but for bungee jumping as well. Trekking inside the canyon till the exit on the majestic Marmara beach is an unforgettable experience for those who attempt the descent of the canyon.

Drakolaki caveDrakolaki cave

Aradena is one of the most interesting gorges and one of the longest ones (15km long). The old Sfakians called it Faragas (Huge gorge) due to its size, to discern it from the rest gorges of Sfakia. This characterization was later falsely used for Samaria Gorge. The gorge actually starts from the root of the peak Thodoris of the White Mountains, and specifically from the underground stream of cave Drakolakki. However, most people think that it is only 7km long because the easiest way is to reach it from Aradena village, at the middle of the gorge length.

Aradena bridgeAradena bridgeIn order to reach it from Chora Sfakion, you walk the carriageway up to the mountain village of Anopoli (12 km, at an altitude of 600 m), built on the southern side of the foot of the White Mountains. You then walk another 3,5 km to reach the village Aradena (at an altitude of 520 m), built on the brink of the gorge and deserted after vendetta. The ancient city of Aradin used to be there.

An iron bridge over a vertiginous precipice unites both sides of the gorge, constructed by the family Vardinogiannis, one of the most famous in Greece, over a dizzying precipice, to unite the two sides of the Aradena gorge. This is the bridge from where visitors can make jumps with bungee 138m down! This is the highest bridge for bungees in Greece and the second in Europe.

Before the bridge, on your right-hand side, you will find an old stone path once leading to the Aradena gorge bed next to the scenic chapel of Astratigos (Michael Archangel). You walk from there down to the bottom of the gorge and then on slightly rough ground to its end in the South Cretan Sea for 2,30 hours. At the end of the gorge, on the very clean gravel beach of Gialeskari, widely known as Marmara, you can enjoy an unforgettable swim.

On your way into the gorge, you will meet a 9m deep vertical pass where an iron ladder was placed for accommodation purposes. There are very high vertical cliffs, however, there are 8 places (apart from Aradena) where you'll find old trails to the walls of the gorge. There are two more abandoned villages on the sides of the Gorge, Azogyres and Sterni (Saint Vasilios).

From the exit of the gorge up to the picturesque village of Loutro, where there are boats to Chora Sfakion, you can walk for about an hour across the beaches of Likkos and Finikas. From the beach of Marmara, small ferries run to Loutro daily. Alternatively, it takes two hours to walk from Loutro to Chora Sfakion.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Hiking gorge, Signed trail
  • Water: Generally dry
  • Length (km): 7
  • Altitude difference (m): 520
  • Difficulty (0-10): 2
  • Hiking Hours: 3
  • Accessibility: Paved road, Boat
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