The hike through the Imbros Gorge, with its steep walls up to 300 metres high, is just as spectacular as through the Samaria Gorge, but a lot less complicated - and without crowds.
Next to the famous Samaria Gorge, one of the longest gorges in Europe, the Imbros Gorge is the most visited gorge in Crete. The hike is easier, shorter and has equally spectacular sections with imposing cliffs.
Once the main road between Chania and Sfakia passed through this gorge and it is also significant in recent history - Cretans and Turks fought many a bloody battle here during the Ottoman occupation in the 19th century. A memorial plaque at the upper part of the gorge commemorates the fallen "Sfakiots".
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PICTURES: Hiking through the Imbros Gorge on Crete
Journey to Imbros Gorge
Imbros is located on the main road that connects Crete's north with the south. It is therefore very easy to reach the Imbros Gorge by rental car. There are plenty of parking spaces at the tavernas in Imbros, and the subsequent footpath to the ticket booth is signposted.
Buses travelling from Chania to Chora Sfakion also stop at Imbros and many local tour companies offer organised tours of Imbros Gorge.
Best time to visit Imbros Gorge
Unlike the Samaria Gorge, which is only open from May to October, the Imbros Gorge can be walked through all year round. The hike is most beautiful in spring, when everything is green and in bloom. Probably for this reason (and also because the Samaria Gorge is still closed), most tourists are out and about in April.
Even in summer, the hike through the Imbros Gorge is pleasant, because either trees or the steep walls almost always cast cool shade.
Attention! On rainy days, the risk of falling rocks increases in the Imbros Gorge, so you should not risk a hike in heavy rain, no matter how weatherproof you are!
Hike through the Imbros Gorge
The approximately 2.5-hour hike through the Imbros Gorge is easy to do and also recommended for families. Over a length of 8 kilometres, 600 metres in altitude are overcome without steep climbs or dangerous precipices.
The hike starts below the village of Imbros. Surefootedness is required on the stony path, but hiking boots are not necessary. At the beginning, the path leads through a sparse forest of Cretan cypresses, plane trees and maples, but soon the walls become higher and the path narrower.
After 1.5 to 2 hours, the narrowest point called "Stenada" is reached, here the Imbros Gorge is only 1.60 metres wide, while the steep walls shoot 300 metres into the sky.
About 15 minutes later, you will reach the exit of the gorge in the village of Komitades, where you can end the hike with a well-deserved stop at a cosy taverna. This is also where the return buses or (private) taxis to Imbros or Chora Sfakion start. Alternatively, the walk to Chora Sfakion takes about another hour.