Sarakina gorge is about 1,5 km long; its width varies between 10 and 3 metres, while its walls reach the height of 150 metres. Despite its small size, its characteristics create a very imposing scenery. The walk down the gorge takes 1 hour and the outlet is located at a wide watercourse, which a few kilometres further on drains into the sea, at the coastal village of Mirtos.
Kriopotamos stream flows through the gorge almost all year round; in summer the gorge can be walked through, while in spring it is ideal for canyoning. Due to the ponds and water crossing, it is best to bring a change of clothes or shoes that you don’t mind getting wet in. From Ierapetra, you can estimate about a half an hour drive, for a distance of 20 km. Most of the route is accessible to children, especially if the river is dry , otherwise the climbing sections can make it a bit challenging.
Locals also call it Sarandapichos gorge. According to Greek mythology, a giant named Sarandapichos, bent down to have a drink of water from the stream, as he passed by the mountain. Suddenly, his long beard tore the mountain in two, thus creating the gorge. The natural environment in the gorge is magical. While on the path, one admires rich vegetation of tall plane trees, oleanders, myrtles and chaste trees (Vitex agnus-castus), as well as pools of water and waterfalls that require caution, especially after heavy rainfall. There are a lot of fallen boulders in the stream and natural rock arches, through which visitors must pass to continue their walk. Altogether, the impressive geological formations, natural wealth, and location make this one of the best gorges to visit in Crete island.
In Myrtos, you can enjoy a relaxing swim or dine in one of the many seaside tavernas. Two remarkable Minoan settlements have also been unearthed at the locations of Fournou Korifi and Pyrgos. Further north, you will find the wild pine forest of Selakano, one of the most important ecosystems in Crete that joins with the E4 European long-distance trail.