The gorge of Pefki is one of the most well-known and popular gorges in eastern Crete and a favourite among visitors. A small gorge, it offers impressive rock formations and lush vegetation starting south of the village of Pefki and ending a little north of the area of Aspros Potamos in Makry Gialos.
A very well-formed path follows the bed of the gorge almost along its entire length. Its total length is about 2 km and the altitude difference between entrance and exit is about 300 m. The walls of the gorge can reach heights of up to 120 m.
For the full experience, you can take the E4 European long-distance path that starts in the village of Pefki and reaches the coastal settlement of Makrygialos crossing through the gorge. The natural scenery shines during early spring in March and April, when the flowers and herbs spread their aroma and the temperatures are mild. Wild thyme and sage dominate the scenery and there are plenty of mountain springs, where you can fill your water bottle from. The route from Pefki takes approximately 2 hours depending on how often you rest or stop for photos. Pefki translates to “pine” in Greek, a fitting name, considering the area is covered in pine trees, as well as oak, carob and olive.
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. 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.
Another gorge you might want to check out in the area is the gorge of Orino also known as Butterfly Gorge. This gorge starts close to the village of Orino and travels south towards the area of Koutsoura. The area suffered from extensive fires in previous years, the effects of which are still visible, but it has managed to recover quickly.