Top gorges in Greece
Greece has some exceptionally beautiful gorges, scattered in various geographic regions, both on islands and its mainland, offering excitement to canyoning lovers. The gorges’ tall and remote cliffs are home to wildflowers and birds’ nests. They vary in size but will most certainly win you over as you cross them; climb the rocky paths, dive and swim in the rivers you’ll come across and see the waterfalls. The Visit Greece team has noted the best. Let’s begin our adventure!
There is no question that one of the most famous gorges in Greece is located in Chania, Crete, which welcomes thousands of visitors each year. Not to wonder why UNESCO considers it as the only biosphere reserve.
The northern entrance to the gorge is at Xyloskalo; the name was not randomly given as it came from a cypress trunk that looked like a ladder. You’ll be crossing steep slopes in the early stages of the gorge. The ravines depth and the running water from the springs compose an impressive scene. At the end of the route, a stunning surprise awaits you; an encounter with the Libyan sea!
Tips: You will need approximately 6hrs to cross the gorge so make sure you have suitable shoes and a good physical condition. The Gorge is open from May 1st to the end of October (as long as the weather allows it) and it is prohibited to spend the night in the gorge therefore everyone must have exited by 7 PM.
Vikos Gorge is located in the heart of Vikos - Aoos area; North of Ioannina town at Konitsa’s borderline and at the northwest part of Zagori in Epirus. It was established as a National Park in 1973 and stretches from Monodendri and Koukouli villages up to Kleidonia Bridge. It is a magical place of great ecological value. It was after all included in the Guinness Book as the deepest canyon in proportion to its width (a width: depth ratio). The ravine has steep rocky slopes where various rare flowers and herbs grow. Its width varies from 30 to 100 metres.
Voidomatis River - a tributary to Aoos - goes through the Vikos gorge. It is considered to have the clearest waters in Europe and makes it an excellent choice if you wish to have your first rafting experience.
Tips: The gorge is renowned for its herbs; their medicinal properties were known to empirical doctors (called Vikogiatroi, meaning doctors from Vikos) of the surrounding villages. They are quite famous as they used to tour the Balkan area.
It is one of the major attractions of Arcadia, a place ladened with history and religion. Lousios Gorge is an area of unspoilt beauty. It is referred to as Agion Oros (MountAthos) of the Peloponnese; home to historic monasteries from the Byzantine and Post Byzantine Era, hermitages and churches this area is a protected by the Ministry of Culture.
The ravine is named after Lousios River- a tributary to Alfeios- which crosses it and according to mythology, this is where baby Zeus was bathed by the Nymphs Neda, Agno and Theisoa.
Enjoy a unique journey passing by willows, Populus, vitex and Platanus trees. Slopes brimming with oaks, laurels, palms, olive trees and other climber and creeper plants along with the rich fauna create a bouquet of aromas and a pleasant colourful scene, especially in spring.
Start your journey in the gorge by entering it either from Dimitsana, Ai-Giannis, Moni Prodromou, Elliniko and Ancient Gortyna.
Tips: In addition to hiking, Lousios is also suitable for alternative tourism. Meet up with experts who organize rafting and kayaking adventures. Some descents stop when they reach the point where Lousios meets Alfeios River and some other ones continue. This is why adventure enthusiasts flock to the area for memorable experiences in these breathtaking natural landscapes.
You must not miss the Vouraikos Gorge in spring- Achaias jewel - with its beautiful natural scenery.
Climb up the rack railway that begins from Diakofto and goes up to Kalavryta town at a 750 m elevation above sea level. It will be an astonishing 22 km hiking journey; the train ride has been characterised as the most spectacular one throughout Europe. The wild charm of the steep cliffs, the waterfalls, the caves filled with stalagmites and stalactites, the lush greenery and the number of rare types of plants you’ll encounter will catch your eye!
Tips: Don’t let the starting point mislead you as you’ll see large lands covered with lemon and olive trees. The landscape changes as you go on and gains a ‘wild’ interest! Tunnels and tall red cliffs markedly eroded by a constant water flow alternate before your eyes!
From Glyki’s Information Centre start your expedition towards Skala Tzavelenas. Follow this easy path used by Souliotes during the Ottoman Period and go down the lush green slope to the river’s bank. Make a stop at the Dragon Cave and praise the gurgling springs. Continue under the thick shade of the forest trees, among climber plants and ferns that will lead you back to Glyki. Try to discover more of the area’s glory by hiking from Skala Tzavelena to Souli’s Plateau (a village called Samoniva). On your way there you’ll get to appreciate the impressive gorge of Acheron and the scenery’s alternations.
Tips: The river at one point gets very narrow and the surrounding rocks seem to prohibit entering. These rocks in the past used to meet at the top, giving the impression of a Gate which they called ‘The Gates of Hades’. Your final destination Samoniva is one of Souli’s villages.
Vyros Gorge in found just outside of Kardamyli in Messinian Mani. Its wild beauty resembles that of Samaria Gorge. It is surrounded by various signposted paths, which go through some picturesque villages with Byzantine Churches and wonderful stone buildings. You can walk until Vyros river springs (2 hours and 30 minutes duration). After that the gorge becomes difficult to walk through. Close to Vyros springs, several old flour mills are still preserved. The route starts from old Kardamyli by going up inside the gorge. After almost an hour you will see the white/red sign that leads to Likaki monastery. Continuing towards the gorge's bed and after an hour you will reach Soteiros monastery located in the right side of the gorge. There is a visible pathway that goes upwards and leads directly to Pedino settlement.
Tips: Vyros Gorge is formed by the streams flowing from the peek of Chalasmeno Vouno (meaning Broken Mountain) and the plateau which is home to the magnificent Vasiliki Forest.