Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Richtis Gorge

Richtis Gorge is located between Agios Nikolaos and Sitia in northeast Crete. The landscape inside the gorge is so diverse- it feels as though you are walking through a mix of coniferous forest, deciduous forest, and jungle! The highlight of this gorge is the 15 meter waterfall. If you decide to cross the gorge, you will need to wear shoes with good treads- waterproof hiking shoes would be ideal because you will be walking through some streams, but we walked in our tennis shoes and did just fine, although our shoes were completely soaked. You will also need a bathing suit and towel if you are going to swim beneath the waterfall.

You can access the gorge through the top entrance which is just east of Exo Mouliana, or through the entrance at Richtis Beach. Whichever way you go, keep in mind that you will have to hike back the same way you came. There is no public transportation or taxi service to and from the beach entrance.

The top entrance is easy to find- Just after you exit Exo Mouliana, going east toward Sitia, you will see a sign on your left and a parking area. You can park here, but it is quite a walk to the entrance of the gorge. The small paved road that starts at the parking area goes all the way to the entrance. Follow it all the way down, and when you get to the fork in the road take the one on the left. Eventually you will get to an old stone bridge, and there is a clearing to the left of it where you can park your car.

The trail is fairly easy, but there are a few tricky spots where you have to climb over some large boulders. You will also be walking through some streams filled with tadpoles, and over some rocks covered with frogs, so take care not to step on them! The hike to the waterfall from the top entrance of the gorge takes at least one and a half hours.




The hike to the waterfall from the beach entrance takes only about half an hour. The path is just as beautiful, but the drive down to the beach is quite scary if you are afraid of heights. The road to Richtis Beach starts in Exo Mouliana. You will see a sign pointing to the road as you drive through. If you get from one end of the village to the other without seeing it, you have missed the road, so just turn back around. The road down to the beach is very long- I have no idea how many kilometers, you will wind through olive tree farms for quite a while before driving along the cliffs which go down to the beach. Be very careful as you drive on the road here, and honk your horn as you go around turns so cars coming the other way can see you- the road is very narrow and there are no guard rails. As you near the beach you will see the clearly marked bottom entrance of the gorge. You can park your car here and then follow the path. This walk is not only shorter, but it is much easier, with no boulders to maneuver around.


Once you reach the waterfall you can take a swim, and there is a picnic table where you can eat and rest.



3 comments:

  1. It is a 15-20min drive from the village to the beach. I don't understand your comment about the path being shorter from Richtis beach to Exo Mouliana village rather than from the village to the beach. The distance is, of course, equal, I agree, however, that the beach to village route is somewhat easier. In my opinion it is a more rewarding experience (and not difficult at all) to start from the village, because this way your hike will culminate with the waterfall and the beach. The path is beautiful throughout but "discovering" Richtis waterfall and the beach after our 2.5h walk from the village was THE sensation of our hike. I have already been there 3 times the past 5 years and I definitely recommend the village to beach path, especially the first time you visit.

    Regards,

    Mark, UK

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  2. Hi Mark,
    I meant the distance from Richtis beach to the waterfall is shorter, not the distance from the beach to Exo Mouliana. Have you been to many other gorges on the island? I grew up in Crete, and am amazed that I did not know we had such spectacular gorges.
    Despina

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  3. we saw this last year on another travel website and visited in July. I don't know if that year the water level was lower than usual but it was fairly easy to walk all the way down to the beach without getting our feet wet.

    beautiful walk and not too touristy. definitely the highlight of our stay in Crete.

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