River trekking is quite unknown in Crete, as most visitors think that because of Crete's geographical position at the south edge of the European continent, all rivers dry up on summer. However, there are a few all-year-round flowing rivers that are ideal for river trekkers and lately, some companies offer relevant tours.
Rethymnon Prefecture, around Kedros Mount, hosts most of the trekking-friendly rivers in Crete, flowing with clear freshwater all year round.
If you are a small team of friends, you would not probably have special problems descending rivers alone. However note that many gorges in Crete have high waterfalls and in some cases, you have to find a path on the sides to overcome them without ropes, if possible. It is very important to have studied what place you are about to visit.
The Gorge of Kourtaliotis is located 22km south of Rethymno and has a length of 3km. It is one of the most spectacular natural attractions of Rethymnon. It starts from the village Koxare and flows between the mountains Kouroupis (984 m) and Xiro Oros (Dry Mountain - 904m). The huge cliffs of the canyon reach a height of 600 meters and are full of openings and caves, where significant fauna species live.
16km west of the Ierapetra is the traditional village of Mythi. In a short distance from the village, the small Sarakina Gorge starts, which ends near the Mirtos. The length of the canyon reaches 1.5km and its width ranges from 3 to 10 meters, with only a few points exceeding that.
Gorge Smiliano or Kalamafka is located north of the village Ano Meros, about 100km southwest of Heraklion city. Through the gorge runs the Lygiotis river which is supplied by the valleys of Gerakari and the slopes of Samitos Mount. The canyon has a lot of water in winter and crossing it, by any means, is very tough.
The River Platis Potamos is one of the rivers of Crete with lot of water and dense vegetation. Indeed, along the banks there are several stone bridges with arches built by the inhabitants of the area to cross the river.
Fratiano Gorge is one of the long canyons of Rethymno Prefecture, running alongside Kourtaliotiko Gorge and crossing Xiro Oros Mount. Its entrance is located 23km southeast of Rethymnon, next to the village Frati, and it mouth is located near the exit of the gorge Kourtaliotiko.
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.