Oreino gorge is an interesting gorge that starts from Oreino village and ends in the area of Koutsoura. Despite the catastrophic fires that the forest has suffered in the area of Orino, the gorge remains one of the most beautiful ecosystems of Sitia with intense vegetation. It is relatively easy to cross and does not require much effort.
Its total length is about 3.5 km and the altitude difference between entrance and exit is 500 meters. It is also known as the “Red Butterfly Canyon” or Kokkines Petaloudes Gorge because of the many red butterflies that live here. However, their population, in recent years, after the fires, has decreased significantly. On Google Maps you will find it under the place name, “Butterfly Gorge“. The distance from Sitia is less than 50 km, while it is also easy to reach from Ierapetra (27 km).
The gorge of Orino is fairly popular, due to its accessibility and can be crossed all year around. In late winter or early spring, small waterfalls are formed along the route. However, it is not uncommon to find the waterfalls and springs full of water during the summer as well. The last part of the route is where you find the most impressive and highest waterfalls so save your rest break for then. As you near the end, the terrain becomes quite hilly but rewards you with stunning panoramic views of the area below.
After your hike, a swim in the southern coast of Crete is a must. The settlement of Makris Gialos is a wonderful and remote harbour village with stunning sandy beaches and secluded coves that you can explore at your leisure. The E4 European long-distance path crosses through the village of Makrygialos. From the gorge of Pefki, another excellent gorge in the area that is worth exploring in full, it takes approximately 2 hours to reach Makrygialos, depending on how often you rest or stop for photos. Makrygialos is one of the fastest-growing tourism destinations in the region of Eastern Crete. The main beach, known as Makrygialos beach or “Long Beach” is a great option, but you can also check out Lagoufa and Kalamokania beach.