Asomatas - Crete

Crete Island Greece - walking along Imbros Gorge and Prassanos Gorge.

About a walk along Crete's Imbros Gorge and the wild and beautiful Prassanos Gorge - with Photos.

Walking through Imbros Gorge on Crete.

As probably like many visitors who go out to Crete on holiday, we really did want to walk through Crete's famous Samaria Gorge whilst there but due to weather and sea conditions this was not possible, mainly because the sea state was poor. We therefore went in search of a gorge we could walk and since the Imbros gorge is well publicised we took a drive across the Island to do this instead.
Unless you intend doing a "there and back" walk you obviously you have to decide which end of the gorge to start from and then sort out parking and a transfer to the other end of the gorge to do this jaunt.
Picturesque Imbros Gorge on Crete
We decided to park at Komitades and found a Taverna which was signed as "park and taxi to the Gorge". This lugging of tourists to the top of the gorge is quite a nice little money spinner for the local Greeks, the taxis concerned are basically anything with wheels - from a knackered old Nissan (our taxi of course) to pick-up trucks and think of anything on wheels in between. You have to negotiate the price which involves a little discussion and loads of arm-waving and head shaking and so on. (Matter of interest when we got back we later heard our taxi driver quoting quite a lot more for the trip than we payed so getting to the start early obviously pays off whilst there is little business around).
Imbros Gorge foliage Imbros Gorge Donkey - Crete Easy walking inside Imbros Gorge on Crete Mind your head - Imbros Gorge
The trip up to the top of the gorge in a car is not too bad, it is a very steep road with big hairpins etc and coaches coming down, the drivers of which seemed to think it was a one way road - their way. In our taxi the drive up was quite a major exercise in keeping calm, the car had poor steering and the taxi-driver seemed more interested in waving at his passing friends than being on the road surface. He did take huge delight in explaining about one very sharp and steep bend with a heavy drop down where apparently several tourists had been killed in an accident - this may well be the local version of the Loch Ness Monster.
Imbros Gorge Crete Crete - Imbros Gorge Imbros - famous Crete Gorge Narrow route through Imbros Gorge Crete
We started the walk by the shrine in Imbros - you cannot miss the several paths which head down from the village to reach a streambed at the bottom - turn right. It is not possible to get lost on this walk, since there is only one path back down to Komitades. We were extremely disappointed to find that the gorge had been commercialised in that it had a little wooden shed at the start of the gorge with a man who wanted money, and a shed halfway down with a donkey and another man (also selling ice-creams and so on) to check you had payed - we don't mind paying to help upkeep such places but the picnic sites and so on sort of spoiled our ideas that this would be a nice wild gorge.
However the scenery was pretty good and we would love to have done this walk when it was just a wild gorge.

Prassanos Gorge start point Crete

Walking the beautiful Prassanos Gorge on Crete Greece.

Having walked the Imbros Gorge we really needed to find a walk through an unspoilt wild gorge and fortunately we found the Prassanos Gorge on our map and decided to try it out. This walk is fairly strenuous and requires agility and really a little commitment. Weather conditions are important since if it has been recently raining heavily the gorge cannot be passed; even in late April we found some quite deep water and anyway a lot of the walking was through the river itself i.e. mostly the river bed is the path.
While on holiday in Crete we were staying near Missaria and got a taxi to take us to the start of the walk which is on the road to Amari (just past the Mirthios turnoff), however he knew where we meant. Go left onto a concrete track going down through deep ferns towards a small farm which you pass on it's left, keep down to the stream bed which is clearly obvious. Turn left and make your way along the mostly clear path often criss-crossing the river on stepping stones but also some paddling is necessary. For the first couple of kilometres the walk is straightforward since you just follow by the side of (or in) the river bed - but eventually the path disappears completely and the river bed becomes blocked in places with rocks.
Prassanos Gorge Crete Crete Gorge Prassanos Gorges huge boulders High sided Prassanos Gorge Crete
Crete's Prassanos Gorge Prassanos - Crete Gorge Walks huge boulders in Prassanos - Cretes Gorge plants grow well in Prassanos Gorge

wet Prassanos Gorge Crete These rocks are huge in places and this makes walking quite difficult since the power of the water during heavy rain often moves and piles up these rocks making a clear way forward less than obvious, with sometimes the route being totally blocked and forcing you to by-pass or climb over these obstructions. There is often also a lot of dead foliage - from bracken to large bits of trees all tangled up in the rocks making movement far from easy.
The hardest part of the walk was when we came to some really huge boulders, two of which give the appearance of an opening, which is the way forward. However there is a long drop down into the water of probably about 8 feet.
Gorgeous Crete Gorge Prassanos Gorge river water still in Prassanos Gorge Crete We therefore went to the right hand side and scrambled up and over the boulders and then got back to the stream bed - this was very difficult especially the final part since I had to lower my wife using a rolled up towel while she went through a narrow gap and dropped about 6 or 7 feet down to the river bed and then I dropped down myself by laying on my stomach and holding onto some cracks in the rocks and dropping the last few feet. At this point our river bed had developed from being around 6 or 8 inches deep to maybe 14 to 15 inches deep and we decided just to walk through it and be wet. Nothing like soggy walking boots..
The walk was then more straightforward although we still had to climb round huge rocks, or use them as stepping stones etc. etc.. from time to time. Eventually we came to the narrowest part of the gorge - in places down to about 12 feet wide - and this was full of water to about 3 feet - so you have to paddle it. This is why it can be impassable if there has been heavy rain or potentially dangerous if it is actually raining since a sudden increase of water getting into the gorge would soon make this narrow area quite hazardous. After the paddling we tried to dry off a bit and then kept going down the now much drier river bed and eventually walked out of the gorge.
When you see a fence on the left hand side come out of the river bed and go alongside it on the left by the olive trees. Unfortunately a lot of junk and rubbish has been dumped in the river bed for a while along this stretch which spoils it somewhat. Eventually you will see a small bridge on your right but keep straight on also passing some holiday accommodation until you reach a junction - take the right hand track going under a road bridge and eventually join the main road at Missaria.
end of Prassanos Gorge Crete As mentioned we did do this walk in late April and probably by end of May there is no water left in it which would make navigation a bit easier - but then you might not see the crocodiles (spotted by my wife apparently). It really is worth emphasising that this gorge is quite a remote walk and could be dangerous because of not only it's reasonable distance but also because of the heavy boulders and foliage which often block the route through.
As with all walking in gorges there is always the chance of rocks falling down especially with the naughty Greek Crete Goats clambering around on the gorge sides. Where these gorge sides are really narrow you can easily imagine the probable water depth and violence should a heavy rainfall occur up in the hills and rapidly fill the river. Like other possible hazardous walking before doing this trip it is worth checking the weather forecast and also letting someone know where you are going too.
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