Kato Zakros walking in the gorge Crete: Crete is an island where you can discover many hidden beauties. For example, the island has fantastic beaches, but there are also several beautiful gorges and canyons hidden in the mountains. Many of them are thanks to findings clearly linked to the rich history of Crete. In the far east of Crete is the Zakros gorge. This gorge is also called the Dead Valley or Valley of the Dead.

Departure on Monday, October 26, 2020 until October 29, 2020.

Do you dare to cross the Dead Valley? It might sound a bit risky or even scary to you, but the name only has to do with its history. In the Minoan time, the dead were buried here in the caves. The relationship though between the Minoan population and death has never been established. In any case, it must have been a great honour for the survivors to risk their lives by burying the dead in the high caves. Archaeologists did not find many intact graves, since most of the graves were already looted before investigation at the site. During the hike you can see these caves.

Hiking in the Zakros gorge: There are different ways to enter the gorge, but this time we choose the adventurous route. After a wonderful overnight stay in Kato Zakros we first visit the archaeological excavations of Zakros. The Minoan palace of Kato Zakros is one of the four Minoan palaces of Crete that has been partly excavated. Then we walk along the top of the gorge and just before Zakros we enter the gorge. We do not do this via the regular path, but in a spectacular way we go down into the gorge with the help of ropes. Never do this yourself without any guidance. Once down, we walk back through the gorge to Kato Zakros.

Chochlakies gorge Crete: When the conversation is about a gorge walk in Greece, people think of the long Samaria gorge at the island of Crete. But there are many more gorges on Crete and these are not all long and difficult to walk through. For example, in East Crete is the Cochlakies gorge between the eponymous village and the beautiful beach of Karoumes. This gorge is not hard or long and is the last part of the European trail E4. The Chochlakies gorge is beautiful with a rich flora, interesting geology and provides an easy walking path.

Hiking in the Chochlakies gorge Crete: A brook flows through the gorge most months of the year and parallel to it is a path. In principle it is not difficult to walk this path, but you must be careful not to step on loose stones. On both sides are beautiful high rock formations with at some spots trees that are literally growing in the rocks. The Chochliakies gorge ends at the pristine beach of Karoumes. The crystal clear water, the fine sand and the beautiful landscape are the perfect reward after walking.

Pelekita cave: After the walk through the Chochlakies gorge, there is still time to visit the Pelekita cave. This cave belongs to one of the larger caves on Crete with a length of 310 meters and is at an altitude of 105 meters above sea level. The cave is also called Sykias Spilios after the fig tree near the entrance (Sykias is Greek for fig tree and Spilios is cave). It is not easy to enter the cave, but it is worth it once you see the beautiful stalactites and stalagmites.

Hiking holiday in East Crete: East Crete is a less well-known part of the island. In general, people have heard of the cities of Agios Nikolaos, Sitia and Ierapetra and the world-famous palm beach Vai. But what many people do not know is that there are also beautiful hiking routes in East Crete. There is even a part of the European E4 hiking trail, which ends in Kato Zakros.

In addition to this E4 hiking trail, we have also set out several hiking routes, ideal for a hiking holiday in East Crete. During this 2 to 5-day hiking holiday we will stay in an accommodation in Kato Zakros on the east coast of Crete. We book the apartments in Kato Zakros in advance. It is a quiet village where at the end of the day you can reminisce on the hiking trip.

Zakros Gorge: One of the hikes will go through the Zakros gorge, also called the Dead Valley or the Valley of the Dead. This rather macabre name does not mean that it is life-threatening here, but it has to do with its history. In the Minoan time, the dead were buried here in the caves. Archaeologists did not find many intact graves, since most of the graves were already looted before investigation at the site. During the hike you can see these caves. In summer, this gorge is not difficult to walk through. In winter there is water flowing through, which makes the stones slippery and it is hard to keep your feet dry.

During the hiking holiday in East Crete we will visit certain places. We do take into account the wishes and hiking experience of our guests. For example, besides the Zakros gorge, we can walk through the small Hohlakies gorge. Or a walk to the mountain top of Traostalos, an important peak sanctuary for the locals. At the foot of Mount Traostalos lies the Pelekita cave at an altitude of 100 meters. The Pelekita cave is one of the larger caves on Crete with a length of 310 meters.

If there is a day you do not feel like walking, you can relax on the beach of Kato Zakros. This beach in Southeast Crete has been awarded the “Blue Flag” certificate, thanks to its clean environment and good quality of seawater. In Zakros there are a few museums that you can visit to gain insight into the environment, history and tradition. Other options are a visit to the palm beach of Vai or the city Sitia.

The Minoan Palace of Kato Zakros: In 1961 systematic excavations in Zakros revealed one of the four Minoan palaces of Crete. The palace of Kato Zakros was one of the major bases of the Minoan fleet in Crete. Around 1600 BC it had the largest fleet of that period. The area was of strategic importance to the trade and communication with Egypt and Near East. The excavations in this area have continued until the present day, because the palace has not been completely unearthed yet. Loose pieces from the Minoan period are exhibited in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion.

Sitia Crete: Sitia is the easternmost town on the north coast of Crete. The city has a port with boat services to Piraeus, Santorini, Rhodes and in summer multiple services to various other islands. There is a Venetian castle. The main source of income for the locals, is the high quality olive oil. In addition, there are many cultivated grapes around Sitia to produce wine. In Sitia is also a small archaeological museum. Along the waterfront is a pleasant boulevard with several restaurants and coffee shops.

The palm beach of Vai: About 20km east of Sitia and on the east coast of Crete is the palm beach of Vai. The beach is famous for its palm trees that grow there, the Cretan date palm. The palms are together in groups and give the beach a tropical feel. This large palm forest would originate in the Middle Ages when Arab pirates spit out the date pits on the beach. The beach is a tourist attraction.

Do you dare to cross the Dead Valley? It might sound a bit risky or even scary to you, but the name only has to do with its history. In the Minoan time, the dead were buried here in the caves. The relationship though between the Minoan population and death has never been established. In any case, it must have been a great honour for the survivors to risk their lives by burying the dead in the high caves. Archaeologists did not find many intact graves, since most of the graves were already looted before investigation at the site. During the hike you can see these caves.

Hiking in the Zakros gorge: There are different ways to enter the gorge, but this time we choose the adventurous route. After a wonderful overnight stay in Kato Zakros we first visit the archaeological excavations of Zakros. The Minoan palace of Kato Zakros is one of the four Minoan palaces of Crete that has been partly excavated. Then we walk along the top of the gorge and just before Zakros we enter the gorge. We do not do this via the regular path, but in a spectacular way we go down into the gorge with the help of ropes. Never do this yourself without any guidance. Once down, we walk back through the gorge to Kato Zakros.

Gorge walk Crete Greece

Walking in East Crete: The Zakros gorge is not the only gorge walk in Eastern Crete that we organize. A part of the E4 walking route runs through the eastern part of the island, but there are also other beautiful hidden places that we would like to show you. Read more about our walks on this page of the website or contact us if you would like to receive more information.