Marmara Beach. Exit from the Aradena Gorge

Aradena gorge


Start point: The hike in the Aradena Gorge begins in the abandoned village of Aradena, in the south of the Prefecture of Chania, in western Crete.

Gorges de Aradena, carte
Gorges de Aradena, carte

GPS coordinates : N35.22249 – E24.06268 (downstream)
Path marking: cairns and paint. Follow the riverbed downstream.
Elevation gain: 650m
Length: 4km
Duration: From 3-4 hours depending on the rhythm chosen
Difficulty: The route is hilly in places and a good physical condition is required. Within the reach of anyone who practices a minimum of sport.

Equipment: You will need good shoes, a bottle of water, provisions for a small picnic, a hat, sun cream and a swimming costume for a well-deserved swim at the end of the gorge, at the beautiful Marmara cove.

Gorges d'Aradena, ouest de la Crète
Gorges d’Aradena, ouest de la Crète

Small restaurants are available thanks to the installation of a friendly local hut on the rock. The route in the gorges is rather shady. On the other hand, at the exit of the gorges and up to Loutro, there is a 1 hour walk, and, in summer, the sun... is shining. But there is the solution of the small taxiboat, which picks you up at the exit of the gorge, in Marmara, and transports you, fifteen minutes later, to Loutro. A very pleasant crossing. Then, from Loutro you take the boat which brings you back, 20min later, to Chora Sfakion. From there, either the last bus at 6.30 pm or a taxi, which you have already booked. And the circle is complete.


Panneau d'Aradena, cible
Panneau d’Aradena, cible

This very the beautiful Aradena hike  et sauvage, est encore peu fréquentée. Environ 6 km, d’Aradena jusqu’ à Loutro, mais seulement 4 km de gorges.  Randonnée balisée, un passage difficile d’une dizaine de mètres était auparavant franchi grâce à une échelle de corde. Dans les années 2000, une échelle métallique a facilité ce passage délicat, mais ça restait quand même impressionnant. 

Depuis une dizaine d’années, un sentier pierreux a été tracé sur le flanc de la montagne, avec un garde-corps en bois qui n’est pas toujours en bon état. Au moins, la randonnée devient accessible à presque toute personne ayant le pied sûr et qui pratique la randonnée. Enfin, il faut faire attention aux chutes de pierres, souvent provoquées par des chèvres en liberté et surtout ne pas s’y engager en dehors de l’été.

Aradena Gorge: How to get there

Access: The start of the hike is in Aradena, in the south of the Department of Chania 

1. By bus
If you choose the public bus, don't forget to book your tickets on the website of the bus company "KTEL" (see the timetable KTEL).

From Chania to Chora Sfakion (1h40): In summer, there are 2 buses per day at 7am and 2pm. Price: €7.60. From Chora Sfakion there is a daily bus to Anopolis and Aradena, at 9am.  So, by taking these two buses, and coming from Chania, you go directly to Aradena, at the entrance of the gorge. 

From Chania to Chora Sfakion:In summer, there are 3 buses a day at 7am, 11am and 6.30pm. The latter waits, if necessary, for the passengers of the last boat, coming from Agia Roumeli and Loutro (those who have done the Samaria gorge and those from Aradena).

If you come from Rethymnon or Heraklion, you have to change buses in Vrysses (one bus per hour). But the journey is too long for this hike, which already takes a whole day from Chania alone.

2. By taxi
From Chania to the entrance of the Aradena Gorge it costs about 100€. You can use the local company

 3. By rental car
If you choose to rent a car, leave early in the morning in the direction of Vryses, halfway between Chania and Rethymnon, then continue in the direction of Askifou and Chora Sfakion (also called Sfakia). Beautiful mountain road and after an hour you arrive at Chora Sfakion. From there, take the direction of Anopoli. Arrival half an hour later. Very nice winding road over the sea.

Plage de Marmara. Sortie des gorges d'Aradena
Plage de Marmara. Sortie des gorges d’Aradena

From there, take the direction of Anopoli. Arrive half an hour later. Very nice road winding over the sea. This traditional village offers the possibility to rent rooms. 2 km away, the village of Aradena, the last village on the road, was abandoned in the 1960s after a mais depuis peu on retape des  vielles maisons pour faire revivre ce beau site. 


Description de la randonnée dans les gorges d'Aradena

A l’entée du village, on traverse le  pont “américain d’ Aradena“, impressionnant au-dessus des gorges d’une profondeur de 138m. Ce pont Bailey, un don fait par un riche grec pour désenclaver le village voisin d’Agios Ioannis, a un tablier, fait de grosses poutres de bois légèrement espacées et quand on le traverse en voiture, le bruit et les 138m de profondeur provoquent quelques sueurs.

This bridge is suitable for bungee jumping. In the summer, and during the weekends, if you have the heart, you can taste the pleasure of bungee jumping. (voir website)

Les gorges d'aradena, ouest de la Crète
Les gorges d’aradena, ouest de la Crète

From the bridge and the side of the white chapel of Michaïl Archangellos, vous apercevez le beau  chemin muletier qui relie les deux bords des gorges. Jusqu’à la construction du pont, en 1986, ce chemin (kalderimi) était le seul moyen pour relier les deux bords du canyon. Prendre le chemin qui traverse le village, et à 200m vous commencez la descente. 

Cette randonnée est un vrai plaisir mais attention aux éboulements et chutes de pierres, sur des parois cuivrées de 200m de hauteur. La nature est très belle, il y a encore très peu de touristes, et, d’ailleurs, je me demande si je devrais continuer à publier cette page… 

From Marmara, if you choose to walk in the direction of Loutro, with the sun at its zenith, you will pass a few restaurants on the seafront, in the area of Lykos. Otherwise, a little further on, there is a good restaurant in Phinikas (Finix) which offers local products, vegetables, fish and especially lamb, which is delicious. All that remains is to reach Loutro, after a half hour walk. There is a beautiful view and the ruins of a Venetian castle overlooking the sea.

Loutro, southwest Crete
Loutro, southwest Crete

Arrival in Loutro (see our page), touristy but peaceful and picturesque village, before 5.30 p.m. in summer, to catch the last boat (See Loutro boat timetable) which provides a link between the ports in the south of the Department, taking you to Chora Sfakion after 20 minutes. With a taxi that you have booked in advance, drive back up to the entrance to the Aradena Gorge to collect your car.

The ideal solution, the one I prefer, is to organise this excursion with several people in two cars. In the morning, when arriving at Chora Sfakion, leave one of them there, and with the second one, and all the hikers of the group, go up to Aradena (about 20 km) and leave it there, at the entrance of the gorges.

At the end of the afternoon, after crossing the gorge and taking the boat, you return to Chora Sfakion. There, you pick up the first car left in the morning, and you go back to Aradena to pick up the second one. A little gymnastics but it allows you to be independent from other means of transport and to control the time. map of Chania).

The article's editor: Papadogeorgakis Nikos / Degeorges Nicolas

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