Katholiko Monastery
Katholiko Monastery
4.5

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4.5
155 reviews
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Conram
Giv'atayim, Israel414 contributions
May 2014 • Couples
This is how I got to the Katholiko monastery. We started at the Gouvernetou Monastery (presently being renovated). We parked the car at the entrance and walked through the monastery without visiting it. If it is closed go around along the north wall. When you get to the other end you will see a gate existing the monastery walls, there's a small clearing with a memorial and beyond that there is a marked clear path.
A thoroughly enjoyable walk with lots of stairs. You first reach the Αrkoudospilios cave (Bear Cave) you will need a flashlight. After the cave we returned to the path and continued downwards, many more stairs. We eventually reach a complex that begins with the cave of St. John the Hermit (here you will need lights strapped to the forehead to visit inside, you will need both hands free one to hold the lead string and the other to help crawl through small openings), then a small church, followed by the remains of the Katholiko Monastery on a bridge across the Avlaki gorge.
At this point you can choose to return to the parked car or try to find the path descending to the Avlaki gorge and continue along the gorge down to a fjord. I didn't find it and anyway had started a bit late so we decided to return before it was hot. I recommend starting very early, since the path provides a view to the east try and get to Gouvernetou around sunrise and see it from the pathway, that way you are sure to return before it is hot even if you go down to the fjord. In summer it would probably be better to do it in the afternoon depending on the weather and the time the sun sets.
To find the Gouvernetou monastery on Google maps you will have to search for the full name "Moni Kirias ton Aggelon Agiou Ioannou Erimitou Gouvernetou, Chania, Hellas" cahanging to satellite view will allow you to see the pathway almost all the way to the Katholico complex but that's when it vanishes into the shade of the gorge.
The walk from Gouvernatou to Katholiko monasteries and back is about three hours easy walking, The distance is 1.5 km, 3 for there and back but some sections are very steep with many stairs you descend 200 meters along the 1.5 km there and ascend all that on the way back. If you continue to the fjord there's another 100 more meters to descend and climb back.
The path was beautiful with wonderful scenery and since it was still spring full of flowering plants and the smells of Cretan herbs, I thoroughly recommend it.

There is no good link to this hike that I could find. Here are some of the links
Arkoudospilios Cave:
http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-west/EN-Gouverneto-Monastery-Arkoudospilios.html
The Cave of St. John the Hermit:
http://www.cretanbeaches.com/Caves/Chania-Caves/cave-of-agios-ioannis-the-hermit/
Katholiko Monastery:
http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-west/EN-Katholiko-Monastery.html
Avlaki Gorge
http://www.cretanbeaches.com/Gorges/Chania-Gorges/avlaki-or-katholiko-gorge/
Written May 11, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gianluca P
Caerano di San Marco, Italy23 contributions
Jul 2017 • Solo
You can only reach this monastery walking through a simple and ruined path through rocks and beautiful views over the sea. It will take some time (about half an hour) to go down there but it is definitely worth it: at the end of the journey, you will find a still and quiet place in the middle of nowhere.
Throughout the walk, just let your mind go slowly and admire the beautiful scenery around you: wilderness, nature, the sea.
It's all so good.
Go there!
Written January 29, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Giulia P
78 contributions
Jun 2018 • Couples
This Monastery is the oldest on the Akrotiri peninsula and the hardest to reach.
It was built in the 11th century and its ruins are beautiful and impressive.
The hike is not easy, but the view of the mountains and the sea on the way down is stunning. We definitely recommend to wear trainers and bring lots of water.
The hike starts just a few meters from the Monastery of Gouvernetou (you need to open the door to the fenced area). First you will see a WW2 memorial and then the path descends. After 10/15 minutes you will arrive to the cave of St John the Hermit where you can rest and admire the huge bathing tank.
Hiking down another 10/15 minutes you will reach the ruins of Katholiko. They truly are magnificent and we felt at peace surrounded by nature and silence.
From there you can continue to the gorge and the sea.
The hike back up is extremely tiring, but we think it is definitely worth the effort.
Written June 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bruzhania
Vilnius, Lithuania112 contributions
Jul 2014 • Family
Visited the site in July 2014 - this is an amazing place combining natural beauty, architectural monuments and Christian history. The path goes from Gouverneto Monastery (which is under reconstruction at the moment, but you can see its yard when the monastery is open) and down the hill. Halfway you see the White Bear Cave (a small ruined chapel built next to a cave). You can ring the bell there. Continue down and you will finally reach the Katholiko Monastery - there is an ancient bridge, a chapel built in the hill, remains of some buildings and a path leading to the sea or to remains of some buildings on the other side of the gorge. You can also see some caves on the side of the mountain, which most probably were used by monks earlier, but they are really very hard to reach (unless you are a professional hiker or you have very good shoes :)) The atmosphere there is really fantastic. We did not take the path down to the lagoon, but went the opposite way, in an attempt (a failed attempt I must say) to reach some other buildings on the side of the hill, which you can see from the Gouverneto hill. Unfortunately, we started out pretty late and had some kids with us, so we only went halfway. The nature in the gorge is fantastic, goats walking along, cicadas singing. Take plenty of water with you.
Written July 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

familyof6plusadog
Washington DC, DC465 contributions
Aug 2019
There is the "new" monastery close to the carpark. It is only open sometimes: closed Wednesday and Friday and only open 9-12 and after 5 (I think) on the other days. There is also the old monastery which is a 30 minute hike downhill (about 1 hour hike back uphill - so bring water). It's worth it, if you're into old churches, and the view of the water is beautiful.
Written August 11, 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Livelife88
Perth, Australia574 contributions
Jun 2018 • Couples
Nice, relatively easy hike. Really cool to see the monastery at the end. Recommend to step into the cave on the way down, has a really eerie feeling and is completely silent inside.
Written June 25, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Charles K
Haarlem, The Netherlands344 contributions
May 2018 • Couples
If at the monastery you need to pay 2.50 pp for entering but also for just hiking into the gorge.
Its steep going down, passing a cave and a well and until the ruins of Katholiko (monastery) its a 30 m downhill but an exhausting and steep 1 hour uphill. Not for the weak, elderly or the ones who dont bring water.
The monastery is not that interesting. Better visit the one 5 miles away
Written May 19, 2018
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

jennywren546
Dublin, Ireland10 contributions
Nov 2014 • Solo
This is a beautiful spiritual place and well worth a visit, BUT !.. some visitors are treating it like a regular attraction shouting and screaming and worse using the holy chapels as their personal lavatory.. please respect it. The path to the sea from Katholiko is closed There is a sign on the gate explaining the rules, dress code etc,follow them and get a sense of what the place actually means. .The monks preserve this ancient site with great care and hard work, they open it to the public out of generosity, I would hate to arrive again to the entrance to discover it was now closed to the public due to lack of respect.
Written October 22, 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Albatross199
British Columbia, Canada457 contributions
May 2014 • Couples
I believe others before me have written how to get to this fascinating location. The trail is really very well established leading past the front of Gouvernetou Monastery and on down the hillside towards the ocean. While some parts a little uneven it is mostly paved with raw stone. The walk is definitely worth the effort. First one passes the Cave of St.John the Hermit and the remains of some simple shelters. Further down and closer to the ocean are the actual remains of the monastery made up of numerous small caves into the hillside, a larger house which must have served as living quarters and the most remarkable bridge set over a chasm. This arched bridge is wide enough to be made for road traffic, however there is no road and never has been. Leaving the visitor wondering why such a large bridge was built in the first place. We walked on down to the ocean through the valley which the bridge spans. There is no established trail beyond the monastery. The path terminates at a small bay, which was very nice to swim in,even though the sign at the gate to the Gouvernetou Monastery forbids such actions. Noteworthy is the small boat-ramp and shelter hewed into the solid rock which leads up the left side of the bay. It is a little difficult to see unless you walk along the left side of the bay. We really enjoyed our outing to this unique monastery and seaside cove. It was a highlight of our stay in Chania.
Written June 19, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Melanie L
Naxxar, Malta114 contributions
Apr 2014 • Couples
We did this hike recently and would definitely recommend it. We also read that there was a fjord at the end of the path that leads from Katholiko. The hike was about 40min to Katholiko at a leisurely pace and the monastery didn't disappoint. However we did not find a path down to the gorge and other hikers seemed to have the same problem. In the end we found somewhere that looked reasonably safe and we kind of climbed down into the Avlaki Gorge. Walked underneath the bridge which was breathtaking, it's absolutely huge. Be careful of mountain goats (you hear them as they're wearing bells) as we had small stones/bits of rock falling down from the top quite near us and got really scared of landslip! The path to the fjord is not that easy to hike IMO and it took us another 30min (we read 10min on the internet but found that understated, just like many other distances and timings on Crete, actually!). It was very pretty at the fjord and we sat down with a picnic, but you might be disappointed if you were looking for a great swim. Access to the water is not that easy but certainly impossible. All in all, I would recommend the hike to Katholiko but not the fjord. Samaria is probably safer if you wanted to hike a gorge. Bring lots of water as the walk back is steep and uphill!
Written April 27, 2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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