Crete is the most mountainous island of Europe and has a spine of high mountains boasting up to 8000feet (from sea level this is impressive!) This topography lends itself to some spectacular gorges, one of which, the Samaria Gorge is the most famous due to its reputation of being the longest gorge in all of Europe. Hiking is only permitted from May through the end of October depending on the weather. So, while we wait for it to open, we’ve been getting in shape by hiking some other gorges, each with their own dramatic beauty.
We grabbed two friends, Katerina and Sifis and headed south towards Sfakia on a high road that divides the island. On the way there, we got caught in a “Cretan traffic jam”. These vehicles have legs instead of wheels and bells instead of horns but they own the road.
Not too much farther down the road was the trailhead to the Imbros Gorge. This gorge is an 11km long canyon full of interesting flora and fauna specimens so it is a very popular hike. It also has interesting historical significance in that it was the primary escape route for the thousands of Allied troops crossing the island from the north after the Battle of Crete (1941) to evacuation locations in the south. The path through the gorge is relatively flat with terrain varying from green meadows to narrow canyon walls.
An easy walk – we took our time to enjoy the scenery and even a cup of mountain tea.