Hiking in Crete



Kallikratis Gorge
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Kallikratis is a relatively small gorge in the southeast region of Lefka Ori (White Mountains) in Chania Prefecture. The trail in the gorge is part of the E4 European long distance path. The gorge connects the mountainous pasture lands with the lowland villages. It is a very pleasant walk, offering great views and rare flowers, but is not very popular to tourists compared to the neighbouring gorges of Imbros and Samaria. The Kallikratis’ Gorge together with the Asfendou Gorge can be a full day’s excursion.

Start early in the morning, when it is still cool, and climb from Agios Nektarios to Asfendou, and from there head on to Kallikratis. Take your time to wander around the abandoned villages and, early in the afternoon, descend to Patsianos. Until recently, if you found yourself at Asfendou or Kallikratis, you had the feeling that time had stopped many decades ago. With the recent construction of the tar road though, this feeling of isolation is lost. Nevertheless, life is now easier for the people who live there. Wandering on these rough paths is a unique experience.

The course

If you climb from the Asfendou Gorge, turn right going northwest as soon as you reach the main road. Follow the tar road for 1 h 30΄ until you reach Kallikratis. Before entering the village look south to the low part of the basin. You will see a small country chapel built on top of the hill. Make a picture of it in your mind, because it marks the start of the road that will take you into the gorge.

The village seems deserted, but there are still two or three cafes which offer food if needed. Walk to the church where you will see the ornate bell tower and then descend, towards Asi-Gonia, leaving the village behind. 400 m later, turn right. At the next junction, turn right again towards the small chapel on the hill. It will take you half an hour to get there. From there, follow the gravel road to the right with the riverbed on this side, which is getting deeper as you move along. 45΄ later, the road climbs to the left and the stream is quite deep now. There, on the left side of the gully, the path starts.

A bit further on, the path is partly destroyed because of the rubble discarded during the road construction. The gorge is getting narrower and deeper. The slopes hang above the path, like they want to protect the walker from the harsh Cretan sun. Beautiful little plants grow in the middle of the cracks of the chalky walls. Depending on the season, you may see unique bell flowers and the dittany, the most popular indigenous herb of Crete.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Chania Prefecture
  • Type: Hiking gorge, Signed trail, E4 trail
  • Water: Generally dry
  • Length (km): 6.5
  • Altitude difference (m): 510
  • Difficulty (0-10): 2
  • Hiking Hours: 3
  • Accessibility: Paved road

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