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.
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.
This is a short canyon, easily accessed that leads to the beach of Psili Ammos. The gorge has water till early spring, while it is actually a part of a longer gorge.
The beautiful canyon Galliano starts southeast of Gallos and ends at the town of Rethymnon. It is 5.5km long and the walk is along a verdant ravine. Along the way we meet the mill of Saounatsides used till the 20th century, with traces of an old chapel next to it. In the gorge there is also the temple of St Anthony.
A very short gorge with the small wonderful beach of Agriomandra formed at its exit. To find that you should follow the dirt road that crosses the green meadows west of Kavoussi, known as Lakos Ambelion position, till the entrance to the gorge.
Platys (i.e. wide) river is one of the rivers of foremost importance in Crete, flowing all year round. It gathers almost all water quantities of Amari valley and leads them at the beach of Agia Galini. At a secret location between the settlements Agia Paraskevi, Vyzari and Petrohori, the wide river gets narrow and forms two impressive ravines. The first is the small Mesa Faragi (inner gorge), reminding of the gorge of Kourtaliotis.
Agii Pantes Gorge is located next to Skopi of Sitia province, near Faneromeni Monastery, and is one of the easiest places to walk in Crete. The very well signed trail runs along the riverbed of the gorge, below the shade of hundreds platan trees. There are two fresh water springs in the canyon, one is called Koutsounari and the other one, located inside a cave, is called Hosto Nero. The exit of the gorge is the beach of Agii Pantes (by Platani beach). The area floods in winter turns to an important wetland. Near its exit, you will admire the white limestock formations, reminding of huge pleurotus mushrooms.
The Gorge of Kandanos is a place of exquisite naturalistic and historical importance, which is today endangered by the operation of a large quarry. The Gorge of Kandanos hosted the first battle between armed residents against governmental troops in the history of the Second World War.
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.