Cretan Wetlands



Almiros wetland
(16 votes)

Almiros spring is located at the northeastern side of Psiloritis range, a few hundred meters far from the beach Ellinoperamata and 8km west of the city of Heraklion, near Gazi. The spring, known as Mati, runs off the highest water quantity in Crete directly into the sea through the river Almiros. The water of the spring is brackish because somewhere quite deep it is mixed with seawater, excluding some winter months that its potable.

Researches have indicated that water comes from two different areas. The first is Psiloritis mountains and its plateaus, such as Nida, from where winter rainfall can reach the spring in 9 hours; the second source are the hills which are nearby, such as Stroumboulas. However, the largest amount of water comes from Psiloritis sinkholes and the underground rivers (caves) and after a deep route merges with sea water. There, the big fault of Tylissos - Kroussonas, bouding the fertile planes of Heraklion and the rocky massif of Psiloritis, traps the brackish water forcing it to come out from the spring.

The water supply ranges from 3 till 40 cubic meters per second. A small artificial pond was formed around the spring during a failed mission in 1977 to reduce salinity due to hydrostatic pressure caused by elevated water level. Remnants of watermills operating here in the past for grinding cereals are still visible. 

From the springs a wide river starts that finishes at the beach, after creating one of the most important wetlands of East Crete. At the wetland of Almyros many birds can be observed all year round, as well as the Cretan date palm (Phoenix theophrastii). Shortly before reaching the beach, a channel transfers 1/3 of water supply in the local Public Power Corporation (PPC) plant for cooling the engines.

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Additional Info

  • Location: Heraklion Prefecture
  • Water: Water all year round

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