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“Picnic by the little church and the waterfall”

Kourtaliotiko Gorge
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4x4 Preveli and Kourtaliotiko Gorge Safari In Southern Crete
Ranked #3 of 17 things to do in Plakias
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A long and pleasant walk along the gorge through breathtaking scenery, past waterfalls, fountains, deserted chapels and monasteries, to an authentic palm beach at Preveli. You can even catch a glimpse of a lammergeier if you are lucky. Watch out though for slips and trips - stout shoes essential.
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
62 reviews
6 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 60 helpful votes
“Picnic by the little church and the waterfall”
Reviewed July 10, 2012

It is a long way down the donkey steps (they are large steps for a donkey or mule to walk on but there are some small steps as well. If you like to explore, go ahead! If you are afraid of heights or have any other phobia, do not do it and if you have any issue with your knees or legs in general do not attempt this. It is very doable but it is not very easy either.
Do not worry the steps are large and good for you to descend into the “small grand canyon” of Crete. Most people stop on the enlarged parking area and watch the large birds that nest on the narrow canyon walls, or take pictures of the Libyan sea in front of them! If you are able to walk down the many numerous steps (I did not count), please do so. You will be rewarded and the site will be in your memory forever ! At the bottom there is a small church, leaves some change for he person who takes care of the church, light a candle and sy a prayer.

Then go around the Church, open your picnic basket or the food you have in your bag, and listen to the water coming down the Kourtalioti river. There are many large stones inside the river that shape small ponds where you can relax and take off the heat! The waterfall is like music if you do not want to enter the water! Spend some time alone with your other half and the rough incredible beauty of Crete.

Every time we visit Crete, we do this because the Kourtalioti Gorge (the sign says Canyon) is the shortest way to the South side of Crete and exits at the Asomatos village. Right there you can turn left towards Plakia or go right toward Rodakino and Sfakia..

Visited June 2012
7 Thank EVADS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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216 reviews from our community

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Rethymnon, Greece
Level Contributor
22 reviews
11 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
“excellent hike”
Reviewed July 5, 2012

We're not pro hikers by any means, but this was a beautiful walk that we did as a family (my wife and I, and our children of 12, 8, and 5 yrs old). We were somewhat in shape, as the hike is 8 km, and we did get tired a bit. We were able to stop half-way down and have a sandwich; a park ranger was regularly walking the trail back and forth to check on the travelers.

The hike is a gently sloping walk and ends in (what else, this being greece) a cafe where someone offers you a cold drink and a ride back up to your car's parking spot.

The nature and geography is amazing, really worth seeing

Visited September 2011
5 Thank Emanuel P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weesp, The Netherlands
Level Contributor
77 reviews
25 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 160 helpful votes
“See the full Gorge”
Reviewed July 1, 2012

Many people forget to go down in the gorge. See the big waterfall, the church of St.Nicolas and the wild nature of this gorge which end at Prevelli Palm beach. Name of the river Megalo Potamos, the river that all year has water ALWAYS !

Visited August 2011
3 Thank Albert v
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rethymnon, Greece
Level Contributor
30 reviews
8 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
“real Cretan scenery!”
Reviewed May 15, 2012

amazing views! we visit crete almost every summer since early 2000's. this time we decided to stay in rural Crete and at small untourstic village called Mixorrouma. We stayed at an amazing villa with private pool and amazing views (Anna Boutique villas). the villa is located 2 km from Kourtaliotiko which we crossed several times by car and bike! amazing place to explore! also visit the small church built within the rocks!

Visited April 2012
Thank Yiannis_Pol
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
44 reviews
7 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 43 helpful votes
“Literally Breathtaking”
Reviewed April 15, 2012

Firstly, you descend the gorge to St Nicholas’ chapel.

According to a legend the five springs were made from the imprint of the fingers of Saint Nicholas, an ascetic who was born in the nearby village Frati and used to live there years ago, on a rock. This miracle happened because the ascetic had no water and was about to leave the place. In memorial to this Saint, who is celebrated at September 1st, the local people called the spring "evlogia kyriou" (Lord's blessing) and built a small chapel a little further from that spring.”

The name of the gorge derives from the Greek word for castanets. At the top of the gorge there is an area where the wind whips through rock formations and makes a noise as if someone is clashing together a pair of titanic castanets. Another version is that the word means hand claps - but the outcome is the same! The wind is always very prevalent as you will always discover later.

On the way down the gorge, there are several waterfalls - one that was man-made. The cold water is so cold that it comes out grey (icy). The river is called the megalopotamos - big river.

Then there are the hippy tents, caves and goldfinches, griffon vultures (perhaps you might see lammergeyers), plants and all sorts of interesting stuff.

When you leave the top gorge, you have to walk along the open road, until you reach the next crossing - a fake Venetian bridge - but very beautiful in its own way. More importantly, there is a bar there for food and drink. After that, you walk past Kato Preveli - burned down by the Turks - and another ruin.

During your walk along the track, you may even see baby terrapins.

Sooner or later, you will reach another chapel. There is no access to the chapel as it was shut due to robberies that have occurred over the years - which seems very sad! There are icons inside and your guide may take photos for you.

Then you must mount the hillside to the second part of the gorge, from which you can catch views of the world famous Preveli Beach.

There are loads of steps to go down, and the beach is not all that impressive. There is however a chance for a jaunt into the hinterland - the palm forest - where you can enjoy yourselves, wading and paddling.

If you come from Plakias on the trip, there is a boat home, picking up at 3.30, which lets you take photos of the coast.

Visited May 2011
3 Thank mccarthyseanmac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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