The Tripiti Gorge on the south coast of Crete can be driven through completely by four-wheel drive vehicle. Besides an overwhelming panorama between mountains and sea, it offers a pinch of adventure on gravel roads between steep walls on a Crete holiday.
After the famous Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Crete, the Tripiti Gorge is probably the most visited gorge in Crete. This is due to the spectacular view and the overwhelming vertical cliffs. At the end of the gorge, an idyllic pebble beach awaits with a calm sea and a small taverna offering snacks and refreshments.
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PICTURES: Tripiti gorge and beach on Crete
Journey to Tripiti
Tripiti is located on the south coast of Crete, a good 70km from Heraklion and about 12km east of Lendas. This is also where the entrance to the gorge is located. An off-road vehicle with four-wheel drive is highly recommended for the journey to Tripiti, as the gorge can only be reached via unpaved roads. Also in the gorge itself, numerous potholes endanger wheel suspensions that are too weak.
Two tracks lead to Tripiti. The first is a turnoff on the route from Lendas to Krotos over the wild landscape of the Trafoulas cape. The second road leads over 9km from Vassiliki towards Lendas over the untouched Asterousia mountains directly into the gorge. The panorama is overwhelming the whole way!
Through the Tripiti Gorge
The entire length of the Tripiti Gorge, all the way to the beach, is accessible by off-road vehicle and has some extremely impressive passages. Even the entrance to the Tripiti Gorge gives a foretaste of the steep, almost vertical walls that await the visitor inside.
In some places you can park the car for a short while and walk a few metres to the course of the river - under the open sky the mighty cliffs look even more impressive!
The best comes at the end: Shortly before the end of the gorge, there is also its most spectacular spot. At the "Steno Faragi" ("Narrow Gorge") the walls are so close together that a car can just drive through.
The Tripiti Gorge can of course also be walked through, the walk from Gigilos to the Libyan Sea takes about 6 hours. The walk from the exit of the gorge to Sougia to the next bus connection takes another 3-4 hours. Here you walk along the long-distance hiking trail E4 and pass the ruins of a Turkish tower and the chapel of the Prophet Elias.
The beach of Tripiti is lined with tamarisk trees and, like most beaches in Crete, consists of small pebbles and attracts visitors with its clean, calm sea. A small taverna fights hunger in between, otherwise there is no infrastructure on Tripiti beach. Nevertheless, the secluded beach can sometimes get quite crowded, especially in the high season in August.
Near Tripiti beach at the exit of the gorge is also the small cave with the church Panagia Tripiti, which gave its name to the gorge and the village. On a hill to the north-east, the ruins of the old Minoan settlement of Papouri can still be seen. Because of the tiny windows and doors, it was once thought that dwarves lived here. The view of the southern coast of Crete and the sea is absolutely breathtaking.
To the east and west of Tripiti beach are two other hidden pebble coves, offering gentle swells and mostly absolute solitude. The small beaches form a picturesque scenery with large rocks and the play of colours in the water and are ideal for diving and snorkelling.