Agiofarago – Asterousia
Agiofarago (or Agiofarango meaning the Saints’ Gorge) is probably the most impressive reasonably manageable gorge of the former Asterousia municipality. It is approximately 1,5 kilometre long and ends up at a magnificent beach.
Imposing, steep cliffs rise on both sides of the gorge, for the greatest part of its course. These cliffs are riddled with numerous caves, once used as dwellings by hermits for many centuries. A little before reaching the sea one can visit the chapel of Agios Antonios, which is dated to the 13th century. Agiofarango was the first centre of ascetic life in the region, and the whole of Crete, since the early years of Christianity.
Today, its steep slopes are an ideal training field for rock climbing.
To reach Agiofarago from Heraklion, you follow the main highway ( OE 97) through to the village of Moires after which the regional roads will lead you to the southern coast and the village of Kaloi Limenes. You may wish to leave your car in the parking lot, about 6 km from the village. The road is best suited to off-road vehicles. After heavy rain, parts of the road may require you to cross through water streams, which may pose a challenge to certain cars. A canteen operates next to the parking lot, where you may wish to obtain cold water and snacks for the hike towards the beach. There are no shops next to the beach and all rubbish should be taken with you when you leave. While parking under the shade may seem like a wise idea, the population of wild goats that frequents the area is partial to climbing on cars to get a better resting space, so it is best avoided.
If you are staying in the area, you can combine your visit with a stop by Martsalo Gorge located nearby. The beach of Agiofarango, is arguably one of the biggest attractions to the area, offering solitude and pristine waters. This is a place where the grandeur of nature is allowed to shine and wild goats roam freely. Do not be surprised if you spot hermit monks in the area. For those not wishing to hike, you may also reach Agiofarango beach on a ferry from Matala, Agia Galini or Kaloi Limenes.