Agia Irini gorge, Crete

Randonnée de Agia Irini

INFORMATIONS

Hiking: Agia Irini
Location: Western Crete

Map of Agia Irini, Chania, Crete
Map of Agia Irini, Chania, Crete

Start point: Agia Irini, 555m. Spread out village, near the plateau of Omalos
Gps coordinates: N35.32451 E23.84353 (the northern entrance)
Length of grooves7.5 km (plus 2.5 km from the exit of the gorge to Sougia)
Duration: 3h – 3h30
Equipment: Hat, sun cream, and water supplies
Difficulty: None, if you choose the pathway.
Access: By bus from Chania (Hania or Chania) to Sougia. Three buses per day during the tourist season (see timetable and booking). KTEL). Duration of the trip Chania-Sougia 1h. Otherwise, you can go by car and leave it at the entrance of the gorges. At the end of your hike, you return by bus or taxi to pick it up.

I have a cruch for this hike, especially for its splendid route in a wild setting.

Agia Irini Gorge, west of Crete
Agia Irini Gorge, western Crete

A few years ago, before the trail was laid out, a sure footedness and flexibility were not superfluous. Today, this walk is within the reach of everyone. If you choose the difficult route, off the marked path, beware of falling rocks. For all the walks, when possible, I personally prefer to go downstream, and at the end of the walk, sit on a terrace by the water and ... stop time. It's a well-deserved reward. I have a soft spot for this hike, especially for its splendid route in a wild setting, a kind of Samaria but shorter (7,5 km).

A very rich flora (cypresses, pines, plane trees, maples, carob trees, kermes oaks, oleanders, chaste trees, pistachio trees, wild olive trees, common myrtles, arbutus trees, thyme, oregano, Crete ebony, lavender, etc.) and a fauna that is not to be outdone (bearded vulture, golden eagle, Bonelli's eagle, griffon vulture, kestrel, choukar partridge, swallow, and small mammals such as the grey dormouse, hedgehog, weasel, marten, badger, and of course, the Cretan chamois, the famous kri-kri.

Inside the gorge there are two water points and toilets. And at the exit, the snack bar "Oasis" to recover your strength and refresh yourself.

Snack bar, at the exit of the gorge of Agia Irini
Snack bar, at the exit of the gorge of Agia Irini

On the way back, we walk along the bed of the torrent, cross the bridge, and join the main road towards Sougia. This part of the walk is a bit painful if you can't stand the sun. You can try to hitchhike when you reach the main road, otherwise the last km seems endless... Otherwise, we can order a taxi to take you to Sougia or to go back up to the entrance of the gorges and get your car back. 

Sougia, Crete
Sougia, Crete

If you start early in the morning, you cross the gorge and arrive, without hurrying, in Sougia around noon. At 6.15 pm you take the bus from Sougia to Chania, which stops at the entrance of the gorge and you collect your car.

Finally, there is the possibility of using the boat link that connects the southern part of the county of Chania, namely: Paleochora, Sougia, Agia Roumeli, Loutro, Chora Sfakion, to go to another village in the south.  

A variant is to come to Sougia by boat and go upstream through the gorge. 

The village of Sougia, is a village built on the site of the port of the ancient city of Elyros. Very touristic, many taverns, pensions, a discotheque, a nice long pebble beach, and the nudist end.

The article's editor: Nicolas Degeorges – Nikos Papadogeorgakis