On the rugged terrain of Crete, rivers meet large faults and steep descents during their course through the canyons, forming hundreds of small and high waterfalls. Even locals are unaware of the existence of several waterfalls, as most of them are invisible and hidden in the impassable gorges. The vast majority has water from the first months of the year by the end of spring.
The most famous waterfalls with water flowing all year round are the falls of Kourtaliotis near Plakias, Richtis near Sitia and Mylonas near Ierapetra. Impressive waterfalls are formed in winter along the large fault of the Asterousia Range, with the most famous being the fall Lichnistis at Maridaki and the impressive waterfall of Ambas by Paranymfi. A large number of winter waterfalls are also found at Mount Kedros, with the most famous being Selinara, Gre Dafni and Rechtara.
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 turns into a dark underground river after an 80m high fall) and many more.
The amazing gorge of Richtis is located in Lasithi Prefecture, on the north side, between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia. It starts just outside the village Exo Mouliana and ends at the Richtis beach, east of the village of Kalabro. The total length of the route is approximately 3 kilometers and the elevation difference between the starting point and the beach is about 350 meters. The gorge, even in summer, has enough water, which is used by locals.
The Gorge of Mylonas or Saint John is located 18km east of Ierapetra. It starts near the village of St. John, at an altitude of 500m, and ends at the beach of Kakia Skala. Descending the gorge from Saint John is impossible, as it is stopped by a high waterfall, and canyoning equipment is necessary.
The gorge of Kotsyfos starts at Kannevos village and ends at Plakias. The starting point is very narrow with a width of about 10m, which gradually increases and reaches 600m. The total length is 1800m, and the almost vertical sides that reach a height of 600m. Inside the gorge there is a small temple built inside a rocky cavity dedicated to Saint Nicholas.
Nearby the lush green and full of water springs Orino village we meet one of the most steep rivers of Crete. Its springs are located high on the plateau Abelia on the slopes of Thripti and Papouri mounts. They shortly form a river which crosses the village square and enters the rugged canyon of Orino.
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.
1.5km east of Spili, next to the main road connecting Spili to Agia Galini, you will meet the chapel of Agia Fotini, also known as Agia Fotia. Next to the road, you will find the springs of Agia Fotia, an old mill and a quite high waterfall (in winter).
One of the highest known waterfalls in Greece is located at Thripti range and has a height of 215m. It is located just above the small settlement of Monastiraki, by Ierapetra, and is visible from the plane west to the village.
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.