Kritsas Gorge, on the mountain slopes outside Agios Nikolaos, Lassithi

Kritsas Gorge, on the mountain slopes outside Agios Nikolaos, Lassithi

For those who love nature and the gorges, Crete is a true paradise. If you plan to stay in Lassithi prefecture, in the eastern part of the island, Kritsas Gorge is a magnificent wonder of nature that needs to be seen. It is located within close distance from Agios Nikolaos or Elounda with nice rock formations full of herbs, suitable for hiking offering a low degree of difficulty.

The gorge of Kritsa is a walking area in North and Central East Crete. It has a length of 13 km, and the hike through the gorge is truly a unique experience. Located in the beautiful area of Kritsas village, the gorge impresses from the very first meters as the mountain is torn in two, forming the narrow passage of Havgas (1, 5 meters wide). In the gorge grow plane trees, oaks, oleanders and many typical species of plants that are endemic to Crete. Also lots of birds find shelter in the holes of the cliffs in the gorge. The way back goes over an old Roman path. The gorge ends in Tapes village, built on top of an eponymous village from the Minoan period. For this hike, you will need good walking pair of shoes (plus a pair of extra dry socks), a backpack and enough water.

From Kritsa there is an interesting and spectacular climb to the plateau of Katharo. It is possible to go by car or on foot following an old path (3.5 hours walk), 16 km west of Kritsa, at an altitude of 1150 meters under the shadow of the imposing peak Lazaros (2085m). Alternatively, you can visit the ruins of ancient Lato, located approximately 3km north of Kritsa, scattered between two hills at an altitude of 380m. Lato is a visited archaeological site that is considered the best-preserved non-Minoan ancient site that is worth the trip for the rural serenity and stunning views down to the Bay of Mirabello. 

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