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.
Avlaki Gorge at Katholiko
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Avlaki gorge is located at the area Arkoudovounia in Melecha Cape, near the monastery Gouverneto, 16km east of Chania city. It is one of the most important gorges in Crete with a particular religious value, as many monks and hermits found shelter in its caves. Inside the small canyon there is the deserted Katholiko monastery, one of the oldest monasteries in Crete; therefore, the gorge is also called Katholiko Gorge. The gorge is not accessible in all its length, but there is a paved path that starts from the Monastery of Our Lady of Angels Gouverneto and heads to Katholiko monastery. Walking in the path is easy, but quite downhill, so the return is a bit tiring. After 10' of walking, you will meet the Cave Arkoudiotissa with the ancient temple of Artemis. From there the trail becomes steeper and the scenery rougher. After 10 more minutes, you arrive at the abandoned monastery of Katholiko and the cave of Saint John the Hermit, who lived here. The cave is very deep (151m) and whoever wants to walk inside it must have a torch..

From the monastery, one can walk along the riverbed for more 15-25 and reach the exit of the gorge to the sea, after meeting the caves where the hermits lived in the past. At the exit of the gorge, a narrow and rocky fjord is shaped with deep blue water. There is a small Venetian well, a small harbor where the monks parked and repaired their boats and the quarry for the building materials of the monastery. Also, here is a boat-shaped rock, which is said to be a pirate ship that was petrified by the curses of the abbot of the monastery.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Hiking gorge
  • Water: Generally dry
  • Length (km): 2
  • Altitude difference (m): 280
  • Difficulty (0-10): 2
  • Hiking Hours: 1
  • Accessibility: Walking
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