Gorges and caves
The Platanias Municipality extends from the beaches on the northern coast of the island of Crete to the snow covered peaks of the Lefka Ori ( White Mountains) in the central- southern part of the island. Therefore, there is great diversity of landscape: the plains with the orange groves all around the Keritis River, the hills with the olive trees which produce extra virgin olive oil –famous worldwide for its miraculous qualities, the gorges and ravines , the amazing Omalos Plateau surrounded by the mountain range of the White Mountains.
Photos from the Messavlia – Deliana Gorge
The most important gorges and caves worth visiting are :
- The Samaria Gorge
The longest gorge in Europe with a total length of 18 kilometres . Its entrance lies in the Omalos Plateau and it is home to many unique specimens of the local fauna and flora as well as endangered species such as the local wild goat known as “kri-kri”.
- The Messavlia- Deliana Gorge
Its entrance lies just outside the Messavlia village to the west of Platanias village (approximately 20 kms away). It’s easy to walk through and admire the plane trees and chestnut trees as well as the local flora which is at its prime in spring. The exit of the gorge is at the Deliana village only 5 kms downhill from its entrance.
- The Cave of St. John the Hermit in Marathokefala Village near Kolymbari, approx. 20 kms west of Platanias village. It is a church built in the cave on the spot where the saint is believed to have lived for 3 years. In the cave there is a spring producing holy water believed to be miraculous and healing. A religious ceremony is held in this church on Christmas Eve every year , representing and honouring the birth of Christ.
- The Roka Village Gorge : a 2 km- long ravine starting from the village of Roka and ending, after a route among plane trees and many vertical cliffs, to the village of Deliana.
- The Vavouledo Ravine : a 6km-long ravine running alongside a little river, full of plane trees and rich in local flora , ending up in the village of Palia Roumata where traditional “tavernas” await the visitor offering special delicacies and samples of the famous Cretan cuisine .
- The Tzanis Gulch in Omalos : a vertical cavern extending to a length of 2500 metres and with a vertical drop of at least 280m. There are many legends connected with this cave.