Bob’s Christmas Quiz 2013

Visitors come to Crete for many reasons  – the climate, beaches, welcoming hospitality, the ‘Mediterranean diet’ of wonderful taverna food, spring flowers, and for walking, especially through the spectacular gorges, which vary in difficulty from an easy stroll to technically demanding, requiring climbing equipment and expertise.

I’ve no idea how many gorges there are in Crete, and I doubt whether anyone knows exactly, though I’m sure the number must be well into triple figures.

Aradena gorge Deliana Gorge (1)

The most easterly is ZAKROS – the “valley of the dead”, with ORINO, the “butterfly gorge”, also in the far east.  Close to Sitia and Ag. Nikolaos are CHA and KRITSA gorges, with ABA  and ARVI to the south, near Agia Galini.




South of Rethymno are MYLI and PRASSANOS, with DIKTAMOS and THERISO close to Chania.  Most gorges are located on the south coast, many ending at the sea. P4110926

East of Sfakia are IMBROS, ASFENDOS, KALIKRATIS and SFAKIANO, and to the west, between there and Agia Roumeli, are ILINGAS, not to be confused with the more difficult ELIGAS gorge, ARADENA and the ever-popular SAMARIA…..  P7250985






















Moving west, towards Sougia, are TRIPITI, KLADOS and KERATIDIA, with KAMBANOS,
AGIA IRINI, PRINES and FIGOU all inland.










In the Paleochora area are the SPINA, ANIDRI, PERDHIKI and ROPANAS gorges, and in west Crete are ROKAS, TOPOLIA, MESAVLIA, also known as DELIANA, SASSALOS and KALOGIROS, with KAMBOS gorge (see ‘Explore’ October 2013) the most westerly.

Of these 36 gorges, 32 can be found in the wordsquare, vertical, horizontal or diagonally. When you’ve found them, 26 letters remain unused.  Circle these, then read left to right, top to bottom, to spell out another three.

Which is the one remaining gorge?

Pop your answer and details in the form at the bottom of the page. The prize is a free copy of the Explore! book (or a gift voucher if you have already bought it) Winner will be drawn from a big cooking pot at The Old Schoolhouse Cafe in Anidri on 1st January 2014 by the nearest beautiful assistant (probably Emily). Good luck!


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The Kambos Gorge

I’m always reluctant to reveal the locations of favourite places, and appalled when I see books and calendars entitled “Undiscovered Crete”, “Hidden Beaches of Crete” and the like, for secret they will be no longer. But I must tell you about the Kambos Gorge and Platanakia beach, and you must go there, soon, for reasons outlined below.

It’s 40km from Paleochora to the village of Kambos on Crete’s west coast, around an hour’s drive. Although it’s much longer should you stop for a fresh orange ‘ximos’ in Elos, a morning coffee in Kefali, and to take in the stunning views from the corniche road between there and Kambos. These extend to an uninhabited rock islet 20km distant, on a clear day to Antikythira island 50km away, and with the sea, breathtakingly, some 500m below.

Park in the platea at Kambos, where there is an information board, with map and photographs outlining the route.

paleochora walks

This begins inauspiciously down a loose gulley, keeping left almost immediately to meet a wider track (note this point carefully for the return journey).


Follow the track, always heading downhill towards the gorge and coast, with yellow arrows pointing the way. When the sea comes into sight, turn right on a narrowing path, through a wire ‘gate’, and descend rather precarious wooden steps into the gorge itself.


A path runs alongside the stream, flowing until early summer, through another gate, to reach a picnic site. Here you must cross the stream, the path then taking you through the narrowest and most scenic part of the gorge before rising to join a rough track. Left now, re-crossing the stream to a ‘rest area’ with water source and (maybe) a toilet.


The track winds westwards, and soon Platanakia beach comes into view, still far below – frustratingly so as the rough road takes a circuitous loop, passing a small white chapel, to reach a plateau with animal feeding troughs and nearby ruined shepherds’ huts. Keep right here, heading back towards the gorge and beach.

P4250937 PA021091 (2)

In April this year the road soon ended, and a narrow footpath wound delightfully down to a deserted beach. But between then and September, someone (in their wisdom or folly) bulldozed a wide track, obliterating the footpath, all the way to the beach. Millions of years of unspoilt beauty desecrated in days, and part of Crete’s spectacular coastline destroyed for ever.


Go there soon, for by next summer there may well be a car-park, ‘cantina’, sun-beds and the aroma of suntan cream on a crowded beach. Go during the mild days and warm seas of autumn, or on a wild winter’s day with westerly waves crashing against the shoreline, and enjoy the solitude while it lasts.

Return to Kambos is by the same route, rising 300m from sea level to the village where, in season, there are a couple of tavernas. The distance each way is around 4km taking a leisurely hour and a half.


[important] This is Bob’s 50th article for Explore!  I would just like to thank him for the hard work and dedication in bringing Crete to life for many. I know loads of people who have benefited from his walks and insights and also many who enjoy reading about the Cretan countryside and may never embark on a walk themselves. Wel done Bob!

You can comment below or follow the comments on The Paleochora Site’s Facebook page[/important]



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