Other gorges(updated August 4, 2007)
Except for the well known Samaria gorge and Imbros gorge there are over 50 other gorges in the west of Crete. You can visit most of them. They are all less busy as the Samaria gorge is. In some of them you'll hardly find a tourist. They are therefore less accessible than the popular gorges. Here we describe a number of gorges.
The 15 kilometer long Tripiti gorge, with its length of over 15 kilometers, is the longest gorge on Crete after the Samaria gorge. Both gorges run almost parallel to each other. The entrance to the gorge is at a height of 1700 meters and at about a 5 kilometer walk from the entrance to the Samaria gorge. The Tripiti gorge is much wider than the Samaria gorge is. Also, there is no path or road through the gorge. It is recommended to hire a guide to lead you through the gorge. The 10 hour walk is only to be done by well trained hikers.
Agia Eirini gorge
The Agia Eirini gorge (not to be confused with the Irini gorge) is named after the village where the gorge begins. This village is located southwest of Chania. The gorge is 7 kilometers long and the walk takes about 2 hours. At the start of the gorge is a small cafe which is open during the summer months. From here you can enter the riverbed. At the beginning of the gorge, there is still much vegetation but as the gorge progresses, the gorge is less green and becomes rocky. Along the route you can find a number of resting places with restrooms, possibility to picnic and some natural resources. At the end of the gorge you will find a café again. From there you can get on the road to Sougia. This is a small village on the Libyan Sea. Here you'll find some restaurants and you can stay overnight. In the evening you can travel from Sougia to Chania by bus; the bus departs at 19:00.
Preveli and Kourtaliotis gorge
The Kourtaliotis gorge and lower Preveli gorge are in line with each other. The Kourtaliotis gorge becomes the Preveli gorge which leads to the palm beach of Preveli. The trip through the gorge lasts about 4.5 hours and can only be walked in July and August, or as long as the weather permits. Most of the trip you wade through the river. The entrance of the gorge is about 2 kilometers south of the town Koxares, which lies south of the slightly larger Spili. The river Kourtaliotis (also called Megalopotamos) runs through the gorge. This rives flows out into the Libyan Sea. When you walk through the gorge you come across an olive oil mill, a Venetian bridge and some hippie houses. The banks of the Preveli gorge are overgrown with palm trees. Especially the piece just before the beach is very nice. In Preveli you'll find an old monastery, which is also very worthwhile to visit. This monastery was very important for the resistance against the Ottomans (Turks) and Germans. The beach of Preveli is accessible from the monastery via a steep path. In the summer the beach is accessible by boat from Plakias.
The Zakros gorge is also known as the Valley of the Dead. It bears that nickname because in the past people were buried in the caves in the sides of the gorge. The gorge starts just south of Zakros. The walk through the narrow and windy gorge takes to Kato Zakros takes approximately 2 hours. The 6-kilometer-long path runs through the riverbed. In the spring and autumn, the river is often not dry, but in the months of July and August it is. The trip is not very heavy. There are no shops along the route. Best is to bring some food and drinks yourself. The end of the gorge is located near the Minoan palace of Zakros. Zakros is almost at the most eastern tip of Crete. You can best come through from Agios Nikolaos to Sitia. From Sitia you follow the road in an easterly direction to Palekastro. From there you drive to the south to Azokeramos, then to Adravasti and finally to Zakros.