Heraklion hosts many canyons, most of which cross the ranges of Psiloritis and Asterousia. Asterousia has wonderful hiking canyons, the most important of which are Agiofarago, Martsalo and Trafoulas. However, the most famous gorge is the canyon Gafaris at Psiloritis, crossing the magnificent oak wood of Rouvas. Other canyons of Psiloritis are the gorge of Kroussonas, through which passes the Minoan path to the Idaean Cave, the gorge Vromonero, the gorge Vorizano and the two small canyons of Asites (Saint Charalambos and Saint Anthony). Near Heraklion city, there are the lush canyons of Karteros, Kounavi, Sylamos, Almyros and Venerato. Moreover, the western slopes of Lassithi Mountains host the canyons of Roza, Ambelos, Apotyposi and the river Aposelemis by Hersonissos.
Apart from reachable gorges, Heraklion is home to some very popular technical canyons such as the imposing canyon of Arvi, which after an 80m high fall turns into a dark underground river. Especially the area of Tsoutsouras and Keratokambos is home to many steep canyons that have been equipped with bolts and anchors for training new canyoners.
The gorge of Agios Nikolaos, Gafaris or Rouvas is bounded by the peaks of Ambelakia from east and Samari from west. This is the most important gorge of Psiloritis and central Crete and took its name from the homonymous Byzantine church in the south entrance. This is an ecosystem with rich flora and fauna, smaller canyons and interesting geological formations and cliffs of rare beauty.
The canyon Aposelemis exits at the settlement Agrianá (or Adrianna as its inhabitants call it). It is the longest and most important geological canyon in the northern part of the prefecture of Heraklion.
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.
Agiofarago Gorge (meaning Gorge of Saints) is located in south of Odigitria Monastery and has been shaped near the beds of two streams. The first stream starts north - northeast of Gyalomonochoro and the other starts northeast of the Odigitria. The two streams meet, near St Kiriaki and after following a relatively smooth path, west and south of Church St. Kiriaki, it arrives in Porofarango, where the main gorge of Agiofaraggouo starts and ends at the Libyan Sea, at a small but amazing beach.
The gorge of Trypiti is formed at the range Asterousia, to the south of the village Vassiliki. The length of the canyon reaches 4 km and a beautiful pebble beach is formed at its exit. The beach is reached though a dirt road that runs high along the eastern side of the canyon for several kilometers before reaching its riverbed, just before the exit to the sea.
Kounaviano canyon is the richest (in vegetation) gorge in the prefecture of Heraklion, a real oasis in the center of the province Pediada. The name comes from the village Kounavi. It is a tributary of the river Karteros and runs parallel to Astrakiano gorge, with which in merges at position Kaki Rachi by Skalani and then form the Gorge of Karteros.
The gorge Almyros is located in Linoperamata, close to Heraklion, between Keri and Kastrokefala. Almiros Gorge is the nearest gorge to Heraklion, a natural oasis close to the bustling city, formed between the hills of Keri and Kastrokefala.
East of Voriza village, at the foot of Psiloritis, starts an arid canyon with holly trees that leads to the plateau of Nida Plateau and the cave Ideon Antron. The gorge is very steep at the beginning with small waterfalls coming from the brecciated steep limestone cliffs.
Portela Gorge is located at the south of the prefecture of Iraklion; the canyon starts from Hondros village and its exit is in Keratokambos. It is one of the most dangerous canyons in Greece.
Astrakiano and Kounaviano canyons are two lush green gorges by Heraklion that merge near the village Skalani and carry on their united course till Karteros. The total length of the two canyons is about 21 km.
West of the village Ano Asites the river that initially is the gorge of Saint Haralabos and then crosses the village soon turns into a deep and spectacular gorge, the gorge of St. Anthony.
The unknown canyon of Venerato is located 17km south of Heraklion, just next to the village Venerato and Paliani Monastery. The deep part of the gorge is very short in length (about 500m), but its beauty does not leave the visitor unaffected, although it is badly infected by human activities.
The gorge of Roza is an offshoot of the gorge of Ambelos. It starts from a point near the rural road that crosses the gorge of Ambelos and has east-southeast direction, leading to Kera.
The gorge of Ambas is located 53km south of Heraklion, in Asterousia Mountains. Starting from the small plateau formed near the village Paranymfi (710m altitude), it ends at the beach of Treis Ekklisies. This is a large (4km long) and beautiful canyon with many narrow passages, which is accessible only by experienced canyoners.
Kavousi canyon is located near Keratokambos (near Ano Viannos, south Heraklion) in Dikti Mountain. The total length is 1km and the altitudinal difference between entrance and exit is 170m.
The gorge of Gaidourorachi or Kroussonas is located 3km west of the village Kroussonas and crosses the Psiloritis Mt. Starting from ancient Zominthos, near Anogia, it ends at Kitharida village, near Kroussonas.
Martsalo gorge has a length of about 2km and is located in the south coast of Asterousia Mountains, in Heraklion Prefecture. It starts from the north and ends at the Libyan Sea, in the small picturesque beach of Martsalo. Apostle Paul stopped in Martsalo, during his journey to Rome.
Gorge of Embasa starts its course from the village Kato Kera and ends near the village Gonies, being about 2km long. Its upper part is very steep and in winter several waterfalls are formed, with the highest being about 20m high.
The gorge of Eligas is a monument of natural beauty located on the west side of the mountain Koupa near the village Miliaradon by Embaros. It is actually a high waterfall with nine rapels, ideal for canyoning. The difference of altitude between the entrance and the exit is about 230m.
The wild and inaccessible canyon of Mesosfini is located 55km south of Heraklion city, in an isolated area west of the seaside village of Treis Ekklisies. Its entrance is located at a height of 450m, near the village of Mournies and Prinias, in the Asterousia Mountains. At its exit, 2km south, it is formed the majestic beach of Voidomatis, which can be accessed via a dirt track from Tris Ekklisies.