This fabulous gorge is located in the region of Sfakia
. It is situated at the southern slopes of the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) from Aradena village
at 750 meters to the small beach of Marmara (a beautiful little beach to the west of Loutro
). The Aradena Gorge is one of the neighbors from the famous Samaria gorge. This gorge is for hikers that prefer a peaceful walk instead of being with a 2000 other walking fans in Samaria. Generally, the Aradena gorge is quite relaxed but is not for people without any walking experience. Many passages require a good deal of surefootedness, especially if you are walking downwards. Also, in the past the walk through the gorge used to be considered difficult because of a high passage in the upper part of the gorge which had to be negotiated with a rope. About 10 years ago a solid metal ladder (famous ladder of Aradena
) was attached to the cliff instead of the rope, making the passage easy - as long as you do not suffer from fear of heights (it is about 10-12 meters high). Three years ago, a path was built which avoids the ladders and makes it a little bit more comfortable for people with fear of heights. But beware; although this new path has a handrail it is not appropriate if you suffer from vertigo. Near the end of the path the Aradaina bridge crossing the gorge. It is 138 meters high and the highest bridge for bungee jumping in Greece and the second highest in Europe.
The starting point is a small village in south Crete, Hora Sfakion. It is the seaside capital of the county, a coastal village located on the Southwestern coast of Crete, 70 km from the city of Hania and 150 km from Iraklion. In its small and enclosed harbor, the boats from Agia Roumeli dock in the summer, bringing the hikers from the Samaria Gorge.
Regular public transportation from Hania is available for visiting Hora Sfakion. The bus from Hania to Hora Sfakion
departs every day at 8.30 am, 11.00 am and 2.00 pm.
The road from Hania to Sfakia crosses the island from North to South, through the village of Vrises. At the 33rd km of the road Hania-Rethymnon you should leave the main motorway and follow a paved side road to Vrises. From this village starts an impressive trip to the east side of the White Mountains crossing the mountainous area of Sfakia and ending to Hora Sfakion by the Lybian sea. Half way from Vrises to Hora Sfakion is the fertile plateau of Askifou, surrounded by high mountain peaks.
From Askifou plateau to Hora Sfakion is the most impressive part of the route. The road hugs the western slope of the wonderful gorge of Imbros and the view to the gorge and to the Libyan sea is breathtaking.
In Hora Sfakion catch the ferry to Loutro, its first stop. Get off at Loutro and go to the concrete jetty at the western end of the harbour. Alongside the jetty should be "Manoussos", the 11.00am small boat to Marmara (marble) beach. Taking the boat ride will save your time, but much nicier is a coastal walk to the Marmara beach from Loutro (50 minutes). The route starts right in front of the harbour and you should go up on the zigzag path, between 2 tavernas, towards the western end of Loutro harbour. At the top follow the E4 trail yellow and black markers westwards, bypassing Phoenix. The E4 trail then descends to the coast and passes through the tavernas at Likkos, before climbing the cliff face to rejoin the footpath on a shelf, taking you to Marmara. To avoid some rock climbing on the coastal cliff you can instead follow the new dirt road westwards from Phoenix. When the dirt road turns inland take a new cliff path on the left, marked with blue paint, descending to Marmara.)
Ferry to Loutro - 20 minutes
Loutro to Marmara - 20 minutes by boat (or walk 50 minutes)
Marmara to Aradhena village through gorge - 2 hours 30 minutes
Aradhena to Anopolis - 50 minutes
Anopolis to Hora Sfakion - 2 hours 30 minutes
No fees. The price for the ferry
from Hora Sfakion to Loutro is 3 EUR per person in one direction. Alternatively, you can walk to Loutro, The coastal E4 path connects Hora Sfakion and Loutro.
Camping is allowed everywhere.
When to hike
All year. In the summer 2.5 litres of water, hat and a sun lotion are absolutely needed.