Waterfalls in Crete

Kourtaliotis

Rethymnon

The Waterfall of Kourtaliotis
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The large waterfall in the gorge Kourtaliotis is one of the most beautiful places that one can visit in Crete. It is formed just below the church of Saint Nicholas (Agios Nikolaos) Kourtaliotis, at the point where the five large springs gush. According to tradition the springs were created by a miracle when the local saint Nicholas Kourtaliotis touched the rock with his five fingers.

This waterfall has the largest and almost constant flow of all falls in Crete. While a few meters above the gorge is dry in summer, suddenly the springs create a rushing river, which ends at the famous beach Preveli.

The waterfall is located in the darkest and narrowest part of the Kourtaliotiko Gorge with water running on the side walls reminding curtains. However, in order to reach the impressively dark spot of Kourtaliotis, one must swim upside in the very cold water for a few meters. One can also see the waterfall above a bridge, next to the church of Saint Nicholas, but the view from there is not comparable to the awe one feels from below.

The large amount of water in the waterfall makes its descent by technical means of canyoning, through the riverbed, extremely dangerous, especially after the end of many rains in the spring. Some water snakes live in the river, while dozens of pigeons nest on the side walls.

Access

The impressive waterfall of Kourtaliotis can be accessed as follows. First we leave the car in the parking lot above the gorge. We do not need to take water, as we can drink from the springs that gush on the rocks, while it is forbidden to use sunscreen (it is not needed anyway) which destroys the flora and fauna of the river.

From the road we go down the steps that lead to the church of Agios Nikolaos. A few meters before the church the path is divided into two parts. The left goes to the church, while the right steps go down to the riverbed. We take the right path, we reach a pumping station on the river and from there we carefully descend to the riverbed and follow the flow of the river upside down for about 40 meters. At this point small waterfalls run from the sides and a pond is created. We can already see on the left the narrow dark spot, where we have to swim just 10 meters to reach the waterfall.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Rethymnon Prefecture
  • Water: Water all year round
  • Maximum Rapel Height (m): 8

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