Imbros Gorge

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The stunning arch of the Imbros Gorge, Crete (image by Udo Schröter)

Imbros Gorge - Φαράγγι Ίμπρου - Faraggi Imbrou - is a stunning, rocky gorge, less crowded than Samaria Gorge, a shorter walk and just as beautiful.



Walking the Gorge

Hiking icon

Start your walk at the village of Imbros in the region of Chania in western Crete. The location is 57 km south-east of the town of Chania. If driving, park on the south side of the village and begin your walk, you will see a wooden sign post.

Pay a small entrance fee to enter the gorge. The entrance is called 'porafarago' in local dialect and was heavily fought over when defending Sfakia from the Turkish troops. The track leads to the village of Komitades which is an 8 km hike. The path is quite rocky and all downhill. Take good walking shoes and your own water.

There is plenty of shade along the way from the trees and the sides of the canyon. Keep your eye out for raptors high above you and in the rocky cliffs. You will see many, many caves in the cliffs and rocky canyon.

This track is accessible all year, it is actually not closed, because it is not a national park, but care should still be taken in autumn, winter and spring months as rains will mean water... and water wants to flow down the gorge. Do not hike if there has been recent rain.

In the middle of the gorge, the 'mesofarago' is a historic Venetian water cistern.


Imbros Gorge, near the entrance the gorge starts out quite wide (image by Graeme Churchard)

Depending on your fitness and experience levels, you will come to the end of the walk at Komitades in 1.5 or 2.5 hours. Enjoy the narrow part of the canyon, where the narrowest point is only 2 metres wide and rumour has it that echoes of horse hoof steps...

The best times to walk are spring and autumn when temperatures are not too high or low.

Tour groups do visit the gorge, so if you want to avoid them, start your walk a little later in the day.

Along the way, you will see stunning rock formations in the weathered limestone rock and at some points, very close dramatic canyon walls.

Listen out to the history of this place and imagine the allied soldiers being saved from the invading Germans during WWII. Or listen out for the echoes in the rocks. Do take all your rubbish with you and don't build any of those silly piles of rocks. Enjoy the gorge.

Then you will continue south to the village of Komitades.

Experienced walkers will join this walk with other White Mountain walks and walks from the Askifou Plateau. The E4 European Walking Path through Crete includes the Imbros Gorge.


Sedimentary limestone rock layers in Imbros Gorge, Crete (image by Graeme Churchard)Sedimentary limestone rock layers in Imbros Gorge


Flora & Fauna

Griffin Vulture of Crete (image by Andreas Loukakis)

Oleander  Nerium oleanderOleander Nerium oleander

The rich fauna of the area to keep an eye out for include the threatened Bearded Vulture, the European Kestrel, the Partridge, the Golden Eagle, Bonelli’s Eagle, Griffin Vulture Gyps fulvus (above and below), doves and martins, also partridges, alpine choughs, thrushes, hawks, ravens, eagles and other species of wild birds. Mammals include shrews, hedgehogs, weasels, martens and badgers, mice and bats, but these are hard to see in the day time.

The colourful flora of Crete can be seen in the gorge including Trachea pine, Mediterranean cyprus, plane trees and Kermes Oaks. The delicate pink and white flowers of the Oleanders line the gorge after rain. On the sides of the cliffs grow wild herbs such as sage and dittany.




Imbros Gorge
Guided Tours

Griffon Vultures nesting in Crete, these magnificent birds can have a wingspan of up to 2.8 metresVultures nesting in Crete, these magnificent birds can have a wingspan of up to 2.8m

Tours are available from both Chania and Rethymnon, with various combinations taking you through the gorge and to the south coast to see the magnificent beaches. See the gorge with an experienced local guide.

Tours By Locals - Imbros Gorge is a wonderful way to experience this spectacular canyon with an experienced local guide, Mel. This private 8 hour tour includes the gorge walk and a swim at a beach on the southern coast.

Imbros Gorge Experience, Crete

Imbros Gorge & Frangokastello Beach - experience the gorge and the southern beach of Frangokastello with its haunted Venetian castle and crystal clear waters. Taste local food and try a Sfakian pie. 11 hours.



Chora Sfakion

Chora Sfakion village (image by Vasdekis)

The seaside village of Chora Sfakion is also known as Sfakia, is 5 km from the exit of the gorge.

This small village where many visitors come because it is the ferry port for sailing to and from the southern coast of Chania and the island of Gavdos. The village and the region of Sfakia has a long and proud history.

In Chora Sfakion enjoy:

  • Seafood in waterside tavernas
  • Sfakian Pies
  • Local Cretan food in traditional style
  • Beautiful beaches
  • Ferry Port
  • Monument remembering Allied Evacuation here in WWII
  • E4 European Walking Trail in Crete
  • Departure point for walk to Loutro village


Accommodation

Here are our tips for handy accommodation in Chania Old Town and close to Imbros Gorge. Relax in comfort before your walk.


Sophia's Lovely Rooms in Chora Sfakion, Chania, Crete

Sofia's Lovely Rooms in Chora Sfakion are close to everything; buses, ferries, shops and tavernas. Crisp and colourful with great friendly service with local Cretan pride. Ask for a sea view. This accommodation is 16 km from the entrance to Imbros Gorge.

Villa Galatia has traditional Cretan design and modern comforts, relax on the Askifou Plateau, Sfakia, Crete

On the Askifou Plateau is the Villa Galatia with 3 bedrooms, welcoming 8 guests in such character. Enjoy the beautiful views of the White Mountains, peace and quiet, in a real Cretan home made from stone and wood. Find local knowledge from the owner and host, Despina. This accommodation is 7 km from the entrance to Imbros Gorge.

At Fagotto Art Residences you will be staying within the walls of the Old Town of Chania

At Fagotto Art Residences you will be staying within the walls of the Old Town of Chania and experiencing the style and character of the Venetian town. Central and comfortable, very nice historic accommodation. 57 km from the entrance to the gorge.



Chania Town

Chania street corner in the old town, Crete (image by Christine McIntosh)

If you do fly into Crete via Chania Airport, you may want to stay a while to enjoy the highlights of Chania Town, which include:

  • Old Town
  • Venetian Harbour
  • Venetian Lighthouse
  • Fort Finca
  • Maritime Muesum
  • Archaeological Museum
  • Mosque of the Janissaries
  • Ancient Kydonia
  • Trimartiri Cathedral and Square
  • Pedestrian Shopping Streets
  • Cafes and Tavernas
  • Chania Food Market


Imbros Gorge Video

Below is a beautiful video by Giannis Psaridakis of his walk through the Imbros Gorge. This beautifully filmed video shows all the natural beauty of the rugged canyon, the limestone cliffs and steep sided passageways.

Where nature helps you with 'perspective'!





Maps

Getting a good walking map of the gorge and the surrounding area is a great idea and will enable you to navigate to the start of the walk, and plan your journey in safety.

See more here about maps...

We like the Anavasi maps and find them very useful for general touring and for hiking. Walkers will choose the 1:25,000 Anavasi maps to detail this countryside.

Leave only footprints because We Love Crete!

Take all your rubbish with you and leave only footprints because We Love Crete!


Stop Rock Stacks!Please don't build any of those silly piles of rocks!


Getting Here

Drive south-east from Chania  57 km, through the Askifou Plateau to the village of Imbros, park in the village and walk south. When you complete the 8 km hike, you will arrive at the village of Komatides, where you can have lunch or a snack and a drink at one of the tavernas. From there you can take a taxi back to your car or onwards to Chora Sfakion by the sea. Later, take a taxi or a bus back to the little village of Imbros, back to your parked car.

Yes, you can do all of this on the local bus, with perhaps some longer waiting times, more bus information here...

To get to the start of Imbros Gorge from Rethymnon, the drive is south-west for about 54 km.

Details for travel to the island of Crete are below.




Anastasi & Apostoli - authors of We Love Crete


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