Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece: This deep and steep gorge is located in the South-West of Crete, close to Hora Sfakion (Sfakia) and Loutro. The narrowest parts of the gorge are connected with an impressive bridge towards the white mountains, next to the abandoned village Aradena. This challenging hike starts at a height of 650-700 metres and has a length of 16-18 kilometres.
Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece – Walking round trip through the gorge of Aradena
Walking round trip in the Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece: We will start at the small village Finika at the coast of the Libyan Sea. Dirt roads give us ample space to park our cars. From Finika, we take a right turn along the sea heading west; this path leads towards the beach of Marmara. Watch your steps here, since there are some challenging parts ahead! The path is marked well with blue, green and red arrows and dots, you really can’t miss it. Halfway you pass a small cave. Right after this cave there is a mean and dangerous drop that leads straight to the beach of Marmara. Here you will take another right turn: you can see the gorge straight ahead now.
The start of the gorge is quite easy. After about 20 minutes on your right hand side you see a small, low cave surrounded by stalagmites. A pebble path has been formed here by water running through the gorge; keep following this path. Mother Nature has left some obstacles on the way like high cliffs and big rocks. It makes this path quite adventurous. On one of these rocks you will see the word ‘Liviana’ painted by hand, this is where you need to go left. This is also your first possibility to leave the gorge, but you will miss the gorgeous views of the south coast of Crete. If you decide to continue your hike, just keep walking through the gorge. You really cannot go wrong.
The gorge will make a slow right turn, after which you will be able to see the Aradena bridge far ahead. About 500 to 600 metres before the bridge you will come to a spot where you need to make a decision. On your left hand side there is a challenging stone path that goes up and down quite steep. Your other choice is the two high ladders that we like to call the adventurous road for hikers. Both choices lead to the bridge.
Should you choose to take the steps, note that you encounter some climbing-ropes that cannot be trusted… they have been neglected and are frayed. There are a lot of loose rocks here, so you should not walk to close to each other in case of stones falling. As soon as you have reached the end, you are right at the bridge where the other stone path joins you. The walk underneath the bridge is breathtaking with views of magnificent red cliffs as high as the sky. Right after the bridge you will see an old donkey path on your left.
This path leads you straight up to the village of Aradena and takes you out of the gorge. Aradena is a lovely traditional village that leaves a strange impression, since it has been abandoned. Once you have passed the village you need to take a left turn to the bridge. There is a small kiosk that is selling water and drinks. Passing the bridge itself shows you exactly how high you are and how deep this gorge really is; the views are fabulous. The bridge itself is well known for bungee jumping events, about which we will be happy to inform you. At the end of the bridge you need to take another left on to the paved road.
Your next possible left will take you to the village Livaniana and is about 7,5 kilometres long. After about 100 metres on this road you will see the hiking signs to Loutro, Livaniana, Finix (Phinix) and Finika. Following these signs leaving the asphalt road and walk to Finika with the Libyan Sea straight ahead of you on old donkey trails. This hike is extremely heavy in summer due to the heat.
Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece – Just hiking the gorge at Aradena
Hiking just through the gorge: Should you wish to hike just through the gorge, you can drive straight to the bridge of Aradena and park there. Enter the gorge and walk all the way to the Libyan Sea. There is a lovely beach with sun beds, umbrellas and a tavern. Of course you will need to walk the same way back to your car, because the beach of Marmara can only be reached by boat or on foot. The hike back may be a bit trickier, since you now have to go up. This is though a beautiful hike showing constantly different parts of nature. The hike both ways takes only 4 hours and is definitely worth the while.
Nature en route: You have stunning views from tops of rocks and there are natural caves with amazing stalagmites. There grow many pine trees and oleander bushes. Even a natural water well is present. In short: Crete at its best.
Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece – How to get there
Directions to Aradena by car: From Rethymnon you will have to drive to the village Vryses (Vrises) in the direction of Chania. Here you will take the road towards Sfakia (Hora Sfakion) in the south of Crete. While you drive towards Sfakia you will pass the Imbros gorge. At Sfakia you will see a sign: Kambia-Anopoli-Aradena. Take this road to Anopoli where you will find the next sign to Aradena. Should you wish to hike only through the gorge towards the beach, then you have to take the road to Aradena, which leads you to the bridge.
Should you wish to go for the entire hike, you will need to take the road right before Aradena (left) to Livaniana. The sign itself states: Livaniana 7,5 kilometres. This road leads all the way to Finika where you can park. Please note that this road has many unpaved parts and very sharp and difficult curves.
Bungee jumping on Crete: On the bridge of the Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece is a small platform from where bungee jumping is organised. We will be happy to let you know when jumps are made. Please send us an e-mail should you be interested.
Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece – The abandoned village of Aradena
The abandoned village of Aradena: The village has been deserted in the 1940’s after a family vendetta became violent and where people actually got killed. The villagers moved to the village of Anopoli. The village could only be reached by foot or donkey using the old donkey trails through the gorge and mountains. In the 1980’s the bridge was built, which made it a lot easier to reach the village. Since then people have started to move back to the village, but it still gives a deserted feeling. The small alleys, the beautiful 14th century church, the deserted houses; they all give you a good impression of what life was like in Aradena. The village is surrounded by old olive trees, which proves prosperity in the old days. The view of the huge white mountains behind the village is absolutely fabulous.
Hiking and accommodation on Crete: The location of our apartments is directly by the sea. The apartments are suitable for everybody: from families to groups, but also for two persons or singles! The beach is in front of the door!
Photo book about walking and hiking on Crete: Excursions and hiking on Crete Greece photo book with information about hiking and walking, both summer and winter. Here you will also find more pictures of the Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece.
Walking on Crete on YouTube: Here you can see a lot of movies of our hikes on Crete. Each week we post a new video of our last walk, so you get an idea about hiking in summer and winter on Crete.
Information about walking on Crete: Here you find many hikes on Crete, since there are unlimited possibilities for hikers on Crete. We have hiking trails that you can walk by yourself, but we also offer hiking tours on Crete accompanied by a guide. You can go for nice walks on Crete.
Excursions: A page filled with lots of excursions you can do on Crete.
Holidays on Crete: Apartment rental and accommodation on Crete.
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Aradena Gorge on Crete Greece