To see the trail in Google Map (indicative trace) - click HERE
From Agios Ioannis, we follow the water courseuntil its confluence with the main water course of Rouvas (1). We then walk along the northern bank, until the entrance to the gorge of Agios Nikolaos, also known as Gafari gorge or Rouvas gorge (2).
We cross the water course and pass onto the footpath that has been constructed on the eastern bank of the gorge.
The path by now passes through the main part of the gorge, a little higher up than the water course level, underneath trees.
The landscape is magnificent; this is justly regarded as one of the most beautiful mountainous areas of Crete.
We next pass onto the western bank. Having reached the area of Kouroupi Prinos, where there is a designated rest area, we resume walking and 35 minutes in total since entering the gorge, we arrive at Kakia Skala.
This used to be the most difficult part of the gorge; however, path construction works that have been carried out -a little bridge and a wooden walkway- have made it a lot easier.
We continue walking down the gorge and after a while we pass onto the eastern bank of the water course, among varied vegetation. A little further down the path, we come to a designated rest area, with a drinking fountain; here, the walls of the gorge are quite imposing.
We continue, passing onto the western side of the gorge. As the footpath moves further and further away from the water course, the view of Zaros opens up ahead of us.
We walk along the edge of the cliff, until we descend to a dirt road (3).
From here, we can follow the dirt road to the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos
Alternatively, we can go northwards (left) for a few metres. At the foot of an imposing, vertical rock, we descend to the water course, cross it and come upon a spring with drinking water; scattered ruins of dry-stone buildings, which used to make up a settlement of woodcutters and charcoal makers, can also be seen in the area.
Should we take the footpath on the left -eastern- side of the gorge, we would cross a large scree area, and then ascend to the hermitage of Agios Efthymios. Down below, on the western bank of the water course, the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos can be seen, to which we descend by way of the path that zig-zags down the steep slope; 15 minutes after Agios Efthymios, we pass by the chapel of Agios Minas. We continue until we come to an old lime kiln and a small wooden bridge which we cross and then ascend to Agios Nikolaos.
If we don’t wish to go to Agios Efthymios, we can descend from the old settlement to the water course, walk along it for a while and then follow the path on its western bank; this will lead us to the Monastery of Agios Nikolaos (4).
From the monastery, we pass onto the eastern bank and follow the path southwards, on a slope covered with shrubs and sage.
Climbing for a while and walking along the edge of the slope, the path leads us above a small artificial lake, where the Votomos (5) water spring is located. There is a taverna next to the lake.
We continue southwards, following the asphalt road; 300 after the lake, on our left side, there is a trout farm and another taverna. A little further down, we come to an old watermill which is still in operation. We continue for another 500 m and then arrive at Zaros (6).