Walking in the area of the Pefki gorge on Crete

Walking in the area of the Pefki gorge on Crete: Sometimes it seems that all the nice sights on Crete are on the north and west of the island. This could not be further from the truth, because East Crete also has a large number of beautiful places to visit. For example, you can go walking in the area of the Pefki gorge on Crete, which is on the southeast coast. The gorge and the village of Pefki owe the name to the many pine trees in the area. A special phenomenon, because the south coast of Crete has a very dry and warm climate. 

The walk through the gorge starts at the eponymous picturesque village of Pefki via an old stone path. This kalderimi leads to the water mill of Ilias. This is one of the oldest existing water mills, which functioned until the beginning of 1920. The mill was used for grinding grain and pressing olives for oil. Around 1920 the water mill was abandoned, because the water flow for the operation of the mill was not sufficient. Immediately after the Ilias water mill is the entrance to the Pefki gorge. 

Pefki gorge on Crete

Initially, the path does not pass through the gorge, but alongside it. After 700-800 meters the path descends to the riverbed in the gorge. The gorge is overgrown with tall pine trees, plane trees, carob trees, colourful oleanders, and fragrant bushes. There are also impressive white rock formations on the sides with a height of more than 100 meters. The striking contrasts with the variety of colour combinations make this piece of nature unique to Southeast Crete. 

E4 walking path on Crete: The route through the gorge is generally via a clearly marked path. This is part of the E4, the European long-distance path. Parts of the path go through the riverbed in the gorge, sometimes via the sides. At the exit of the gorge to the south is a well with clean drinking water, wonderful to cool down and fill a bottle of water. 

Volakas tou Sarakinou at Aspros Potamos

The exit of the gorge is not near the sea, but in the area Pisokaminos, close to the village of Aspros Potamos. There is a large rock called “Volakas tou Sarakinou” (“Saracen’s rock”). According to legend, a Saracen pirate hid himself there after he was left behind on Crete. On the rock you will notice small, egg-sized pebbles. This has given rise to various stories and theories. The locals say that this is from the time of war and hardship. Children passing here threw stones on the rock. If these remained on the rock, then there was food at home. When the stones rolled away again, there was nothing to eat at home. 

Makrigialos Crete: At a short distance from the Saracen rock is the village of Aspros Potamos (“White River”), where the asphalt road continues to Makrigialos or else back to the village of Pefki. Makrigialos is a fairly large village on the southeast coast of Crete. With beautiful long beaches this is a wonderful place to recover from the walk. Makrigialos was initially a small port without roads in the 1950s, but has experienced strong growth. Today it is a tourist destination in the region of Southeast Crete and you can find everything from a place to sleep to a beachside restaurant.

More information

Walking in East Crete: In addition to the many walks we organize in the central and western part of Crete, we also go with our guests to East Crete. A part of the European walking route E4 runs all over the island and there are also beautiful walks in the east. The Pefki gorge is just an example of this. Please read more about the many options we offer, such as the multi-day hikes on the E4 in Crete. Besides the E4 walking path there are also many other beautiful areas for walking. Should you have questions or specific wishes, you can contact us anytime.

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