Crete : Geography & Nature
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Kalikratis Village & Gorge
Sfakia, South Hania
at 0km (N)
Kalikratis is a small mountainous village at the foot of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) at an altitude of 750m above sea level. It is a traditional village with many well preserved stone houses. A German army of two thousand soldiers, invaded the village during the October of 1943 , burned it down and executed twenty men and nine women who did not manage to leave on time.
A little to the south of the village starts the gorge of the same name which is part of the European hiking footpath (E4) and after some 4km walking ends at the village of Patsianos.
Imbros village and gorge
Sfakia, South Hania
at 7.8km (W)
The ravine begins from the last houses of the village of Imbros and 8 km after it ends at the village of Komitades. Its crossing is smooth and entails no danger...
Rodakino, South Rethymno
at 8.6km (SE)
At the end of the canyon that traverses the area of Rodakino lies the beach of Korakas at the bay of the same name. It is a nice, wide and 400m long beach, with clear waters and small grayish sand and pebbles. There are a few accommodation options in family run apartment complexes and a few taverns on the beach front. Umbrellas and sun beds are also available at the eastern part. The headland to the east separate Korakas Beach from another lovely beach named "Klimata". At the east side of that headland there is a small fishing harbour and along its coast there are sharp rocks in the shape of a crow's beak (Kórakas GR: Κόρακας, means crow) thus giving the name to the bay.
at 9.8km (N)
Crete's only freshwater lake, Lake Kournás (GR: Λίμνη Κουρνά), is relatively large, with a perimeter of 3.5 km. Although almost all touristic leaflets say that it is possible to walk around the lake, that is not true. At least not at the end of the rain season (winter). There is a nature preserve on the Southwest of the lake. But there is a rustic road from the North of the lake to the Hills on the West of the lake too.
at 15km (N)
The traditional little village of Vrisses lies approx. 35 km from Chania town. The old village square with its tall plane trees, the tavernas and kafenions is the perfect place to relax and enjoy the lush green landscape by the river Vrissanos and taste the renowned and particularly delicious local yogurt.
at 22.4km (SE)
The gorge that forms the river "megapotamos" ends at the Libyan Sea creating a small lagoon at its mouth. This lagoon, which the locals call "Lake" (limni , Gr:Λίμνη), is surrounded by palm trees and rich vegetation and is one of the most attractive places in Crete. In the past it used to be the ideal place for camping and naturalism. The sea is clean with a dazzling range of green and blue colors and the beach has fine white sand.
Marine Life Museum of Rethymnon
Rethymnon Old Town
at 23.9km (NE)
The Museum of Submarine Life is situated at Arapatzoglou street, at the center of Rethymno's old city. It was founded by the "Moshaki" family, in memory of their lost child, who drowned in the sea. The largest part of the exhibits are made up of shells, while a few vertebrates, sponges and fish are also on display.
Kri-Kri or Agrimi
Cretan Ibex, Lefka Ori, Hania
at 27.4km (W)
Kri-Kri is the common name of the Cretan feral goat (Capra aegagrus ssp. cretica) which is the largest wild mammal on the island. Its grandeur, its bravery, its ability to observe without being noticed, its speed and its impressive horns are the features that were loved by the locals and made it a symbol of Crete and the untamed Cretan spirit. It lives mainly on the White Mountains and its local name is "Agrimi" (GR: Αγρίμι = the wild one) for the male and "Sanada" (GR: Σανάδα) for the female. Recent years, young kri-kris have approached the old village of Samaria, where they are fed by the park rangers and can be seen by the visitors. Kri-kris and goats are close genetically, as the hybridization that exists between them show. Kri-kri's size however is a good deal larger than that of a goat
Kri-kris have a strong sexual dimorphism. Males are larger than females. They all have horns, with annual rings and knobs, from which their age can be easily calculated. Males have larger horns than females (up to 90 cm), which curve backwards. An other characteristic of the males is the beard, which rarely occurs in females. Their coat is short and brown in summer and brownish and denser in winter. They have a black line on the back, which extends from the neck to the top of the tail while at its shoulders the line intersects with another one that reaches the stomach. There are also black patterns on the front parts of their legs.
There are numerous representations of Kri-kris on ancient sealstones, vases and coins, indicating the esteem in which they were held by the people of antiquity.
Phototograph by Anastassios Sakoulis - www.photophysis.gr
Sfakia, South Hania
at 28.1km (W)
The Samaria Gorge is one of the longest ravines in Europe (with a total length of 16 km) and offers one of the most spectacular hiking routes in Europe. Its width ranges from 150 m (widest part) to 3 m (narrowest part). The walk from Xyloskalo in the plateau of Omalos to the shores of Libyan sea at Agia Roumeli, takes 6 to 8 hours. The Samaria Gorge has been designated as a national park in order to protect its flora and fauna. It is one of the last shelters of the mountain goat of Crete (Cretan Ibex, common name : kri-kri). The flora is extensive, ranging from high cypress trees to flowers and herbs. The walking path follows the river which flows to small lakes and waterfalls.
The Gorge is open to visitors from May to October.
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