Gorges in the Sitia Area
Richtis Gorge: (Exo Mouliana, Sitia Area 5 km approx. 2.5 hours one way)
This truly magnificent gorge is to be found approx. 20 minutes from Sitia, on the road towards Agios Nikolaos. You start at an altitude of about 350m, just outside the village of Exo Mouliana and walk down the gorge, ending down on Richtis beach. There is river running down the gorge, which you will have to cross several times during the walk (there may be water throughout the year!).
The gorge begins with an impressive 19th century stone arched bridge named Lachanas. You will be surprised how green the gorge is, with a vast array of plants, fragrant wild herbs and oleander bushes – it is easy to forget that you are in Crete!! You will be amazed to find the fantastic waterfall, which is over 15m high and flows all year round – you can take a dip in the pool there! You will also come across old mills and stone houses on your way.
The path ends at the beautiful pebble beach of Richtis, with stone seats and tables and tamarisk trees for welcome shade in the summer months. There is also a stone water fountain, with clean drinking water. To get back to Exo Mouliana, walk back up the gorge, not up the cement road. Another option for a shorter walk would be to drive to the bottom of the gorge, walk up as far as the waterfall, then back down again to your car. This very windy road (approx. 5 km) starts from in the village (look for a sign on your right about halfway down the village).
Zakros Gorge: (Zakros area, 4 km, approx. 2hrs)
You can start this walk either from the village of Pano Zakros, (suggested) or about 4km further down the road towards Kato Zakros (you will see a parking area). This gorge, an area of outstanding beauty, is known as the “Valley of the Dead, as many caves were found there with tombs from the Minoan period. In the springtime, the gorge is full of wild oregano and many other fragrant herbs and plants.
The gorge ends at the beautiful bay of Kato Zakros and you will pass the ruins of the 4th Minoan palace (this closes at 3pm!). There are welcome tavernas by the sea and during the summer months, there is a bus in the afternoon (check days and time beforehand!), which you can take either back to Sitia or to get back to your car.
Karoumes Gorge: (Palekastro Area, 3.5 km, approx. 2hrs each way)
This walk begins at the village of Choklakies, 8km south of Palekastro on the road to Zakros and is mainly down a riverbed (there may be water in the springtime!). The gorge winds from right to left along very steep cliffs, ending at the beautiful beach of Karoumes, with crystal-clear blue water and trees for welcome shade.
The only other way of getting to this beach is by boat!
Xerokambos Gorge: (Xerkambos area 3 km, approx. 2 hrs)
This very impressive gorge is approx. 3km in length and is located in a rocky, deserted area between Ano Zakros and Xerokambos. The entrance to the gorge is about 500m from the sea – the first kilometre is relatively easy to follow, the path then divides into two and you take the right fork for approx. 1,5km. This part is very rocky, with lots of bushes and no clear path! The walk ends before you reach Xerokambos.
Agioi Pantes Gorge: (Sitia area 4.5 km, approx. 2.5 hrs)
Medium Difficulty.The walk starts approximately 4km north west of the village of Skopi on the
main road. The first 2 kilometres are downhill on a cement road, which then turns into a dirt track. In the middle of the gorge is a cave “Skafidara”, famous for the 4 local men, who managed to steal and hide a heavy German machine gun with ammunition there during the second world war. You will also come across 2 freshwater springs and if you are lucky enough to be here early in the season, you will see many beautiful endemic wild flowers and herbs. Passing the small church of Agioi Pandes, there is a picnic area and then you come out at the sea.
The route is marked with red paint on rocks! The gorge is partly shaded.
Kapsa Gorge: (Makri Gialos Area, 4,5 Km appox. 2,5 Hours)
Medium Difficulty, with a few tricky parts! We recommend you start the walk from down by the sea early in the morning, as the sun will be behind you.There is a shaded parking area by the sea, close to Kapsa Monastery (which is well worth a visit).The gorge is full of herbs and rare wild flowers in the springtime and there are many pine trees on the route. The gorge is partly shaded. The first part and the end of the walk are relatively easy, the middle part is more difficult.
You will finally reach the small village of Pervolakia. You can either walk back down the gorge to the sea, or alternatively, there is a well marked path down the hillside, with red paint on rocks (no shade!). There is also a taverna close to the monastery.
Pefki Gorge: (Makrigialos area 3km, approx. 1hr 30 mins)
This gorge begins just outside the village of Pefki and ends back in Makrigialos. It is a gentle walk, along old donkey tracks, through a forest of strong-scented pine trees, steeped on each side by high vertical cliffs. From the village square you take the road down towards Agios Stefanos and after about 150m, there is a sign for the gorge on the left. You will be impressed by the contrasting colours of the pine trees, cliffs and rich blue of the Libyan sea in the distance.