Rozas gorge on Crete Greece Roza canyon, the rose gorge: The Rozas gorge got its name from the colours of the rocks of this canyon. The impressive rock formations of the Roza gorge are rose and red. The downhill route of this gorge is spectacular, the view is even better than the Samaria gorge. It is a deeply carved canyon with many different plants and flowers. In the early morning you have a breathtaking view, you can even see the sea far away.
Entrance to the gorge from multiple locations: You can start at the bottom of the gorge in the village Gonies, near Mohos and Avdou (the road to the Lassithi plateau). From Gonies begins the hike in the gorge upwards. You can also start your hike through the gorge from the village Kera, the last village before the Lassithi plateau. As a roundtrip, you can also walk both routes. You can also hike the Ambelos gorge from Kera.
Rozas gorge on Crete – General information about the hike
Length of the Rozas gorge on Crete: This depends of which route you like to hike, but the gorge hike from Kera to Gonies is 6 kilometres, so back and forth 12 kilometres. You can also extend your hike with a village walk through the lovely Greek villages of Kera and Gonies, which makes this roundtrip around 15 kilometres.
Difficulty level of the Rozas gorge on Crete: The climb is a bit tough, there is a difference in height of 450-500 metres within the distance of 5 kilometres. When you are hiking downhill, you have to be very careful of loose stones. Don’t rely too much on the wooden fencing, they are a little unstable at some places. This gorge is not suitable for people who are afraid of heights.
Hiking on Crete: This is not an easy hike, there are lots of loose stones. There is a path you can follow through the gorge. The difference between an easy walk or a hike is huge on Crete. A hike through a canyon is not the same as an average walk. A good thing of the Rozas gorge is that you can choose whether you just like to climb up or only hike downhill. This hike is not suitable for small children.
Sheep in the Rozas gorge: You regularly will see herds of sheep on your way. At different spots you will have to open fences to continue your hike. Please make sure you always close the fences behind you, these fences are especially made for the herds of sheep. You will hear the tingling sound of the sheep bells on your way through the mountains.
Kalderimi in the Rozas canyon: There are real old kalderimi trails near Kera. This is an old donkey path that used to be the connection road between the villages. In ancient Crete these were the only roads to travel over the island. You can also call this a trade path, because farmers had to travel over this roads to sell their crop. Many of these old roads have disappeared through the years, but you can still find hundreds of kaldirimis on Crete! Before cars were invented, it was the only way of transportation over the island. This kalderimi starts near the monastery of Kera and descends through the gorge. You can see the old kalderimi from the village of Kera, a beautiful route.
Nature in the Rozas gorge: The Rozas gorge on Crete is a paradise for geologists with its pushed up, deeply carved rocks. The Cretan geology is very noticeable from this gorge. Rock formations run like a big wave over other stones, you really have to see it to get a good impression. The rose, red, brown and grey rocks looks different with or without sunlight from different angles. The nature of the Rozas gorge is magnificent with many green trees, plants and flowers. Down in the gorge are oleanders, which have beautiful pink flowers from May to August. During the winter you will see a lot of Iris flowers in the gorge.
Rozas gorge on Crete – The walk can be started from different locations
Entrance from Kera (Lassithi): You will see the gorge and the village (Gonies) immediately below. It is also nice to make a small village walk in Kera. This is an authentic mountain village, actually Kera is the last village before the Lassithi plateau. At the beginning of the village you will find the tavern of Niki. At Niki’s terrace you have a splendid view to the entrance of the gorge. Early morning Niki is already open for a nice Greek coffee, before you start your hike. Here you can enjoy real good Cretan food during summer and winter. Lots of Greeks come here on a Sunday afternoon with their families.
You walk downhill from Kera and follow the marked path. You can also walk through the olive groves with a GPS. You will see signs and arrows towards the Roza gorge on your way. At one point there is a picnic place with a fantastic view to Gonies. You will now descend via wooden fencing into the gorge, it is a steep track, so be careful! You hike further to the bottom of the gorge, from this point you hike further through the canyon. At the end of the gorge you will find another picnic place, from here you follow the quiet asphalt road to Gonies. Total distance: 6,80 kilometres.
Entrance from Gonies (Lassithi): From the village of Gonies you can follow the same track, but now upwards. It is the reversed route as above. From the village Gonies the Roza gorge is well marked. Up through the gorge you follow the marked arrows. It is a tough climb to the top. You will see Kera far above the gorge!
Round tour Rozas gorge, Crete: You can make a great round-trip from Gonies. You start early in the morning in the village Gonies and follow the marked arrows towards the gorge. Through the canyon you walk to the village of Kera. This is a heavy climb over lots of loose stones (6.80 kilometres). In Kera you can enjoy a Cretan lunch in one of its taverns. Afterwards, you can walk to the monastery of Kera: the Karidiotissa monastery. This monastery was built in the beginning of the 14th century.
After the monastery you walk back to Kera to make a small walk into the village. From Kera you start the downhill track through the Roza gorge or the Ambelos gorge. This is a steep descending trail. When you arrive in Gonies at the end of the gorge, have a walk around this authentic Cretan village. The total roundtrip is 15 kilometres. You need a full day for this hiking roundtrip.
Car road tour and hiking on Crete: The Rozas gorge be reached easily by car. You park at Gonies for the roundtrip. In Gonies you can also get petrol, if needed. You drive from Mohos up towards Lassithi or via Avdou. Along your way you can visit the cave of Agia Fotini (the cave is well marked with signs). You can also walk to the cave, but if you don’t like to walk anymore after the gorge, the cave is easily reached by car.
Rozas gorge on Crete – Multiple days hiking
Multiple days hiking on Crete: At Lassithi you can hike beautiful tracks in multiple days. You start at the Lassithi plateau. This walk goes from village to village on the green Lassithi plateau with lots of agriculture and beautiful nature. You walk through areas with hardly any tourism, but the Lassitih plateau is a well-known place on Crete, so it depends on which season you go hiking if you meet more tourists or not. After a long roundtrip at the agricultural area of Crete we go the Havgas gorge (canyon Lassithi). After our hike through the Havgas gorge, we stay overnight at Lassithi.
On our second hiking day we walk via the hills around Lassithi to Kera. On our way we visit caves and a monastery. From Kera we enter the Rozas gorge to Gonies. On country roads and off-road hiking trails we continue our hike via the Agia Fotini cave to Avdou. We stay the night at Avdou. On the third day we follow the trail towards the reservoir lake of Avdou. We follow the rivers to the coast. We reach the Aposelemis gorge through small Cretan villages. Through this fantastic gorge with vultures we arrive at the bird spotting area of Analipsi and Gouves. We walk back on the beach road to our accommodation. The distance is approx. 25 kilometres per day.
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Rozas gorge on Crete