Chania area Gorges . Caves . Hiking . Outdoor

Imbros Gorge – stunning natural landscapes

Imbros Gorge - stunning natural landscapes
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Local delicacy Sfakiani Pita

Together with my friend Despoina we decide to walk through the Imbros gorge.  At 08:00 hrs in the morning we drive from Chania through the village of Vrisses in the direction of Chora Sfakion. This road also passes through the village of Imbros, where the entrance into the gorge is not to be missed. We enjoy a short but invigorating coffee break with Sfakiani Pita – flat bread with cream cheese filling, fried in a pan and drizzled with honey.  As the name suggests, this is a local specialty from the district of Sfakia.  Then off we go.

The hike through Imbros Gorge

After about 10 minutes we arrive at the ticket kiosk.  We gladly pay the required 2 euros admission per person, because as the young man enlightens us, even the 6 men scoring team in the Canyon staff will get paid (among other things) with that money.

 

We do not need 2 to 3, but almost 6 hours for the walk through. This is certainly due to our many photo stops and …. the Raki brandy break with the gorge guards Manoussos and Leonidas halfway. As a souvenir Manoussos gives us 2 slices of cypress wood, which smell so strongly like medicine that each patient is healthy already from the smell alone. He also peels fresh walnuts  for us, and we thankfully put a few in our pocket.

The entire walk through the Imbros gorge takes visitors through stunning natural landscapes, to the only 1.60-m-wide narrowest point of the once raging riverbed surrounded by high rocks. Here everyone stops for a photo.  Huge rock formations, behind many corners one finds a “WOW” effect, the gorge is full of surprises, wonderful and varied vegetation  like wild fig trees, plane trees, cypresses, broom or cyclamen (depending on the season) as well as the melodic sound of goat bells accompany us up to the exit.

The return trip is a little odd …

Right at the end of the Imbros gorge, you pass a small café, where you will be asked about a taxi back. Since we had already been informed  about the price of a taxi from here to the parking at Imbros (20 euros), the said price of 5 euro per person seemed a good deal. As a “taxi”  pick-up  truck showed up,  we sat on a blanket behind on the open load area, along with a young couple from Holland. Full of joy and the feeling for adventure. The next 15 minutes of my life I lived in fear and saw my life flash by. The driver drove  100 km/hrs on the steep zigzag roads, busily overtaking of course other vehicles, because the faster he goes back and forth, the higher will be the daily intake. When we arrived in Imbros, it was clear to us that we had lived a literally unique experience.

Useful information (last updated 2015)

Length of Imbros gorge is 8 km, altitude difference 500m spread over the whole distance

Opening times: Because there is no water flowing through the river bed, the gorge is open all year round, from 1 November to April you pay also no entrance fee, but one is completely responsible for itself, there are no guards in the gorge.

Entrance fee: 2 €

  • You walk the whole way over boulders which is why at least sneakers are strongly recommended
  • There is no drinking water in the canyon, neither from a source nor to buy
  • In the center of the gorge is a guard station where the tickets are checked, there are also a donkey for an emergency transport and toilets, the latter subject to weather conditions to avoid because of the wasps
  • Cell phone reception is in many places, but not consistently.

Approach: best park your vehicle in the village of Imbros at the existing car park (free of charge, you drink at least a cup of coffee in the adjacent taverns on the way back), and either enter directly on the canyon output in a “Pick Up” for 5 euros per head, or a little further down, where there are 2 taverns,  call a taxi for 20-25 euros per trip. But as they told us, there are only 2 taxis in the village of Chora Sfakion. The journey back to  Imbros takes 15 minutes.  You can also walk to the bus stop 2 km further direction Chora Sfakion, take  the bus to Rethymnon and get off at Imbros, but there are only twice buses: one in the morning around 11:00 hrs, and the second, after the arrival of the Ferry from Agia Roumeli late afternoon (about 18:00 hrs depending on the season).

Be advised by the program of the Cretan Public Bus Company.