Crete is an island that combines sea and mountain on its own unique way. It is filled with many beautiful beaches and impressive mountains and gorges. Among the most famous gorges on Crete is the gorge of Imbros, located at the southwest side of Crete, at the south end of the Askyfou plain. Start your walk from the village of Imbros, where the entrance is located. Enjoy a relatively easy walk (8 km distance lasting 2-3 hours) through intense wild natural beauty. There is plenty of time to admire the beauty of the gorge. At the end of the gorge, reach the traditional village of Komitades, where you can enjoy a meal in one of the many tavernas. After that, head to the east at the Venetian fortress of Frangokastello, where there is a nice beach. Refresh yourselves in the waters of the Libyan sea and learn about the legend surrounding the fortress.

Askyfou plateau
Gaze the wild breathtaking view of Askyfou on your way to Imbros.

Unspoiled nature
Discover a gorge of rare natural beauty.

The right distance
A hike for everyone, challenging but not exhausting.

Komitades village
Complete your hike and relax in this historic, charming little village.

Frangokastello fortress
Stroll around the castle or go for a refreshing swim at the sandy beach.

In order to arrive at the entrance of the gorge of Imbros, you will pass from the vast plain of Askyfou, surrounded by the mountain range of “Lefka Ori” (White Mountains). After the gorge of Imbros, at the southernmost part, there is the village of Sfakia, a historical village where many revolutions took place in the past.

Towards the south side of the plain, you will arrive at the entrance of the gorge, where the village of Imbros is located. There are plenty of tavernas, where you can provide yourselves with snacks and water before starting the hike. In the gorge, there are no springs, so it is recommended to have something to eat and drink. There are however plenty of resting areas.

The gorge of Imbros is 11 km long, but you will have to walk 8 km to complete the hike. This will take you 2-3 hours depending on your physical condition. In general, the hike is considered easy because it is a steady descent and at the biggest part of the path there is shade. That’s why it is a suitable hike also for children. You start the hike at an altitude of 700 m and you end up at almost sea level. The entrance is located a few steps after the end of the village of Imbros. The first part of the gorge is called “Porofarago”. it is quite wide and the sides are not really high. But as you start descending the path starts getting narrower and the sides higher. Due to the narrowness of the path, you will have the chance to observe the impressive nature of the gorge within a close range. Cypresses, oak trees, hollies, etc are only a few examples of the variety of nature inside the gorge. As you walk you will also notice many caves and traces of the old stone trail that was connecting the village of Sfakia to Chania. This trail was used many times during battles of Cretans against the Turks at the 19th century.

After that, you will find yourselves in the area called “Gournia” (basins), where there are a few small basins that are filled with water in the winter. The next part is the most impressive of the gorge. It is called “Stenada” (narrow area), and for a good reason. Here the distance between the sides of the gorge is only 1.6 m and their height is 300 m. That means that if you stretch your arms, you will be able to touch both sides of the canyon, which is really impressive. Moving on, you will arrive at the area called “Mesofarago”, with a Venetian cistern and the small house of the gorge’s warden. Finally, close to the exit, there is an impressive spot called “Ksepitira”, where a big stone arch is formed, another highlight of the gorge. After that, you will easily find the exit, where the village of Komitades is located. The village is filled with traditional taverns, where you can enjoy a meal after the walk.

After the hike and the meal, find yourselves on the beautiful beach of Frangokastello, located 10 km east of Sfakia, named after the Venetian castle. The beach is sandy and the waters are clear, making for an enjoyable swim. There is also a bar, where you can get food and drinks.

The Venetian fortress was built at the end of the 14th century in order to protect the coast. The name means literally “castle of the Franks”. It is possible to visit the inside of the fortress. There was also a fierce battle here at the 19th century between the Cretans and the Turks. The battle was so fierce that it is said by many locals that the shades of the fallen soldiers appear as ghosts every early June since then. These visions are called “Drosoulites”, as they appear during the “drosoula” (dawn). It is impressive that the locals have kept alive for so many years the legend of the area, as part of their cultural history.

The tour to Imbros gorge is often recommended as an alternative to the longer gorge of Samaria, which is the most famous gorge on Crete. However, after you visit it, you will realize that it is a gorge of its own unique beauty. The sceneries, nature, the history, the legends, all these combine to a tour not to be missed.

Bring with you
  • Sport shoes or walking boots
  • Hat
  • Sun protection lotion
  • A bottle of water
  • Camera
  • Swimming suit
  • Light snack
Food and drink availability
  • In the resting break on the way to Imbros
  • In Imbros village
  • In Komitades
  • In Frangokastello
WC facilities
  • Not on board of the bus
  • In the resting break on the way to Imbros
  • At the village of Imbros before you enter the gorge
  • In the village of Komitades
  • In Frangokastello