It is the fantastic jungle like gorge Richtis! The amazing gorge of Richtis is located 45 km from Natura cottages, 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 4 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.
Hiking in the gorge takes three to four hours. We walk along the small river and cross it sometimes. The route starts from the stone-arched bridge of Lachanas (19th century)
The route continues in a lush landscape in the river, totally unique in eastern Crete. The mountain is actually above your head. Platan, oleander and sage are numerous, and the smells of fresh herbs change constantly.
The highlight is, of course, the beautiful waterfall of over 25 meters, that someone would expect to meet only in parts of northern Greece. The waterfall has water even in summer! Impressive also – footprint of the past – is the old water mills that the visitors meet in the path.
The path finishes in the beautiful pebbly beach of Richtis. The beach has enough tamarisk trees, with stone seats and tables around. Also, there is a stone water fountain with water all year round.
If you enjoy putting on your walking boots and setting off for a day of fresh air and wonderful scenery then you can't do better than walk the Pefki Gorge that's here in south-east Crete.
Above the village of Pefki is the mountain of Afendis-Stavros ('Stavromenos') which has a church built right on its summit. South of Pefki village the mountainous and fertile landscape lead…
Whether walked both ways, or just one way, this is a wonderful walk that's always full of interest and with lots of typical Cretan flora and mountain scenery.
One important thing to remember is that, no matter how you do the walk, you must always wear good walking shoes, not flimsy sandals or beach flip-flops. Also, if it's a hot day, then a bottle of water could be welcome and, if necessary, it can be refilled from the spring that's in the gorge.
Keen walkers visit the Pefki Gorge all year round, but if you're here early in the season then you're in for a special treat as the gorge is at its prettiest in March, April and May, when our spring flowers are at their prettiest and most abundant.
The Pefki Gorge walk is approximately seven kilometres along a very picturesque route. The surrounding hills are covered with olive trees, citrus, carob and pine trees, and you'll really love scent of pine that will be with you all along the route.
If you're feeling really energetic, start from Natura cottages and walk all the way to Pefki village that's situated right at the top of the gorge. Then enjoy a break at Piperia Tavrna (open for lunch and dinner during spring/ summer season) before taking the same route in the opposite direction to return back down to Natura cottages.
The less energetic can get a taxi from Makrigialos to Pekfi and then simply do the walk from top to bottom.
Depending on how often you like to stop to admire the scenery and take photos, the walk usually takes most people about two hours for each direction. There's also a shortcut that can be taken using the road instead of the gorge which then shortens the walk by about 30 minutes.
The village of Pefki, at the top of the gorge, is at an altitude of 420 metres and is on the southern slope of a group of mountains know as the 'Romanti'. It's also the name of the tallest mountain in the group. Up here the region is mostly rocky which creates a landscape of unique attractiveness.
The cave of Vreiko is located about 2km north-east of the village of Pefki, Makrigialos. It is a cave and gulch and the known depth is 25-30 metres. The Entrance is an open and flat place that looks like a threshing floor. In the entrance there are stairs that make the entry and exit to the cave easier. A fig tree has grown at that place and its bouches cover a big gallery which is about 60-70 metres long. At the entry and the end of the gallery there are signs from the Neolithic Era.
South of the entrance is the gulch (Latsida) where there is water which dries up during autumn. At this part of the cave there metallic stands to assist people on their ways up and down. In every corner of the cave there are beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.
It is not difficult to visit this cave as cars can go about 250 metres before the caves entrance on the west side and almost on a daily basis, during summer months people visit the cave
Psychro Cave of Zeus
The Psychro Cave, also known as the Diktaean Cave, is the place where the infant Zeus was born and nursed by Amalthea. It was the site of a sanctuary, and human figurines found there during archaeological exploration show that it was in use as a burial site and place of worship since the Minoan times.
The impressive cave of Zeus, the Diktaean Cave, is located above the village Psychro in Lassithi Plateau at an altitude of 1025m. In Psychro there is plenty of parking space, with plenty of restaurants nearby. Two paths leading to the cave start from the parking area. The easiest path is the left one, because in the right path (the oldest) the stones are worn by thousands of tourists and are slippery. The route to the cave is magnificent as the view to the Lassithi Plateau is breathtaking. If you do not want to walk, there are donkeys for transfering the visitors to the cave. Near the entrance of the cave there is a kiosk where you can buy tickets for a small price. The cave, which has an area of 2200 sq.m, is well lit and the paths in it come along a well-designed path of 250m length.
Near the entrance, on the right there is a hall, while the great hall starts at a lower level. Southeast of the chamber there is a large stalagmite complex. Also, there are some buildings. A smaller hall is located on the northwest side. While moving inside the cave, the visitor enters the great hall with the largest part of it being covered by solid rock and large stalagmites. In the second part of the cave, there is a large and very spectacular stalactite, called as the “mantle of Zeus”.
The gorge of Sarakina or Sarantapichos starts from the Mithoi settlement of Ierapetra and ends to the coastal Mirtos settlement. Its entrance is about 16 kilometers from Ierapetra.
The Sarakina gorge is a small, beautiful and very green gorge. Water flows in it during the whole year.
It is accessible and its passing lasts about 1.5 hours. It is 1.5 kilometers long, 3 to 10 meters wide and 150 meters high.
According to the myth, as the giant Sarantapichos, the son of Zeus, was passing by the area, he got thirsty and kneeled to drink water. His big beard cut the mountain into two and the Sarakina or Sarantapichos gorge was created.
Milonas gorge situated aproximately a 18 minute drive (18km) from the valley of Aspros Potamos and Natura cottages, you will need to make a right on the highway when you will see a wooden sign that reads “Milonas Waterfall.” It is easy to miss.
The drive to the entrance to the gorge is about 2 km of a dirt road, which you will most likely need to drive slow if you wouldn’t want to miss any red signs.
The hike is of medium difficulty however it is rather a short hike of 40 minutes. The Milonas gorge is mostly popular for its magnificent 40-meter high waterfall at the end of the gorge. The only way back is where you came from and the hike is slightly easier.
Tip: Consider which season you would like to visit, as the waterfall usually dries up during summer.
Ha Canyon located in Lassithi. The entrance is just three meters, is located at an altitude of 370m. and the output goes downhill and ends at an elevation of 140m. It has about 33 rappels the largest of which reaches a height of 35m. Generally have very narrow walls, with only a few centimeters wide. Towards the end of the gorge waterfall poured a large amount of 215 meters.
The gorge of Ha has 26 technical descents, the largest of which is 30 meters. and almost no walking. That is why the visitors that enter inside are mainly experienced climbers, as it is quite dangerous. Considered one of the wildest gorges of Greece and one of the most difficult to traverse, but one of the 10 most beautiful in Europe.
The canyon has a rich flora and fauna. The ponds are important wetlands for many migratory birds, but also permanently birds and mammals. Since mammalian species is dominated by the Cretan hare, and found and the Cretan weasel (kalogynaikari) and the Cretan badger (Arkalon). She also observed the spiny mouse, a rodent that does not exist elsewhere in Europe and the african wildlife. The canyon will encounter the pine trees and many other species of trees and shrubs, herbs and flowers. Many rare and endangered plant species have found refuge in the great ravine.
Near Ha are old stone mills that are now deserted, monuments of a bygone era. A legend says that in the depths of chaos, in the heart of Ha is buried a golden chariot, pulled by horses gold. And is gold cords, the diamond of Ploumidi. Sparkle in the sun so that it dazzled Crete Cretan bold when someone found the golden chariot. To go to one where it is to be tied with ropes and slip into the rock.
You could say that the canyon is a virgin habitat untouched by humans since the configuration prohibits anyone to know well, to traverse or exploit. The first who crossed in 1987 are three Thessalonians climbers, experienced and adventurous and time it took seven days efforts. Today the canyon is insured and is a heavenly destination for canyoning. The gorge is about 33 rappels, the largest has a height of 35 meters. Some parts are very narrow, with a width of only a few centimeters, which makes it special.
Orino or Butterfly Gorge
It’s one of the most known gorges of south-east Crete (Makrigialos-Ierapetra area). Its entrance is at the little forest of Koutsouras, which is just 6 km from Natura cottages. Its end is just 2 kms far from Orino settlement. The best time of the year to cross it is winter or spring (December-June). You will find out wonderful landscape and small waterfalls are scattering along the route.
There is a path, which is a little bit difficult to cross in some places and you need to pay attention, because you may make a mistake on your way. You have to pay much more attention at the middle part of the gorge, which is not passable through the torrent, but through a dirt road at the western side.
We can divide the gorge in three parts. From Koutsouras as we ascend, there is the most verdant part, full of pine trees and a lot of impressive clif, which rise around. After one hour walking, the gorge leads to a cultivated upland, that has not the image of a gorge. After walking for half an hour, this cultivated upland comes to an end and the rocks rise around you soon again.
The last 2 kms (walking from south to north) are very impressive, because the view is abundant to the surrounding mountains. At the end of the gorge we had a marvelous surprise: A waterfall was coming out of the cleft of a rock. We can say, the last three waterfalls at Peristerionas position are some of the most beautiful in East Crete. Impressive also is the amount of water, very rare at the dry Makrigialos region. Sometimes, even during the summer months there is water flow in the gorge. An asphalted road (which connects Orino mountain village to the coastal area of Koutsouras) is very near. These last 2 kms are very uphill, but they reward the outdoorsy with the wonderful pictures of the surrounding area
The gorge starts right next to Kapsa Monastery, 7 kilometres from the valley of Aspros potamos and Natura cottages, and ends at Pervolakia village, from which it takes its name.
You can leave the car at Kapsa Monastery and either visit the small pebble beach or enter the gorge, which is the rockiest in the area but also the most impressive.
Pervolakia Gorge is usually traversed by challenge-seekers, as it’s not very easy to walk. Some sections are relatively inaccessible and you may need to do some climbing.
The average time it takes to walk through the gorge is 2 hours.
You will then reach the village of Kato Pervolakia, where you can call a taxi if you have left your car at Kapsa Monastery.
So make sure you’ve got the phone number of a taxi driver from Makry Gialos, or hitch a lift from someone leaving the village.