For millions of years, the geological upheavals are reflected strongly in the intense relief of Crete. While mountains rose, the river water continued its corrosional route through the limestone terrain, forming today's "land of gorges", Crete. With more than 400 canyons, Crete hosts the largest number of gorges in Greece. Many travel agencies offer packages for gorge trekking and there is are several hiking and mountaineering clubs based in Heraklion, Chania, Rethymnon, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, Ierapetra and Mires.
Cretan rivers meet large faults and steep descents during their course through the canyons, forming hundreds of small and high waterfalls. Crossing gorges of Crete with high waterfalls is possible only by using technical equipment. Appropriate training in canyoneering techniques can be offered by specialist companies on the island. The most popular technical canyons of Crete include the imposing gorge Ha, Tsoutsouras, Kalami, the gorge of Arvi (which after an 80m high fall turns into a dark underground river) and many more.
One of the nicest gorges of Crete is that of Vrissi on the north side of the White Mountains, crossed by the river Vrissiotis which gathers water from Melidaou area and waters Zourva and Lakki. In the gorge there is the cave - underground river with water springs, while many waterfalls of exquisite beauty are met in several places. The trail to the spring of the cave starts from Lakki and ascends along the walls of the gorge. From the spring starts another downhill trail to Zourva.
The beautiful Gorge of Kato Zakros (or the gorge of the Dead) starts in a short distance from Ano Zakros, nearly 100km southeast of St. Nicholas, and ends at Kato Zakros. The beauty of the landscape, the historical importance of the gorge and its accessibility, attract many visitors every year.
Near village Meskla at the root of the White Mountains, we meet the small, but really impressive, gorge of Sarakina (don't confuse it with the other popular gorge named Sarakina in East Crete, by Mythi at Province Ierapetra). The name Sarakina comes from the faith of the locals that Saracenes used to hide in there.
The canyon of Diktamos starts 21km east of Chania, next to the village Katochori at an altitude of 300m, and ends 8km eastern, at the village Faragi, at an altitude of 40m, next to the village of Stylos. Thus, it is also known as Katechori Gorge or Stylos Gorge.
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.
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.
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.
Kollita Gorges, i.e. Twin Ravines are located nearby the picturesque village Argyroupolis, about 22km southwest of Rethymnon city. They are named so, as they consist of two parallel canyons that end near Kato Poros settlement. Here we refer to the easternmost gorge of Moundros.