Only 6km up the road from Myrtos is one of the most beautiful gorges of Crete, Sarakina gorge, also known as Myrtos gorge. The gorge is between 3 and 10 meters wide, and reaches up to 150m in some parts, making the narrow parts really impressive. In summer it’s a nice place to come and cool down, and you can take a dip in the small pools along the way.
There are many plants and birds inside, especially in the last part, where the gorge opens up more wide. In the gorge, the Kryopotamos river flows through all year; the amount of water in it depends on the season. In summer and fall there is not so much water and most years you only have to pass some places with water. The winter of 2014-2015 had a lot of rain and snow, so there was much more water inside the gorge, even in summer. About 15 minutes into the gorge is a small waterfall with a pool underneath for a cooling swim. According to legend, the son of Zeus, a giant named Sarantapihos stopped for a drink from the river. His long beard cut the mountain in two, and created the gorge.
It takes about 1 to 1,5 hours to walk and climb up; in some parts you have to walk through the water, climb over rocks, or use the ropes that they put there to pull yourself up. The beginning is easy, and you can avoid the water by stepping on the stones in it. After that it’s get a little bit more difficult, as you have to climb over big boulders, but hand and foot holds have been cut in some rocks to make it easier to pass. In a couple of places they put ropes to help with more difficult parts to pass. The last part is easy to walk as the gorge opens up, and at the end you can relax for a bit on one of the benches.
At the end of the gorge, you can either go back down, or follow a dirt road up, where you have a really beautiful view of the forest in front and Males in the distance. From there you can walk back to the beginning of the gorge along the serpentine asphalt road, or, if you are lucky, get a lift from a passing car.
Sarakina also has a lesser known, lower part, where it is also beautiful. There is a viewpoint along a small road from where you can see through. It is possible to walk a bit down, but it’s not possible to walk all the way through. From the other side you can wlak in the river untill you reach the narrow part.
How to get there:
From Myrtos, you drive through the village of Mythi, and find the entrance to the gorge a little past the village, on the left side of the road. There you can park your car, walk up the steps, follow the path and enter the gorge.
Other sights to see in the same area:
- Panagia Exakousti monastery