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Walking through the Imbros Gorge in Crete

I think you should try to hike through the Imbros Gorge even if you don't normally go on hikes. The hike is not hard and it only takes three hours of your life, and it is three hours full of pleasure. The hike has its start in the village of Imbros, which lies along the road to Chora Sfakion, southeast of Chania city.


The gorge of Imbros in Crete.

The gorge of Imbros. Camilla stands next to the arrow.



The gorge of Imbros is Crete's second most popular hiking trail after the Samaria Gorge. The walking distance is 8 kilometres and it takes between two and three hours to walk depending on your pace. I walk quite slowly and for me it takes about three hours. During the hike you will be offered a fantastic scenery. The cliffs that border the gorge are 300 metres high in places. The narrowest passage is only two metres wide.

Bring plenty of water as it is not possible to buy it in the gorge. After just over an hour's walk downstream there is a rest stop where you can eat lunch and play with goats doing everything they can to steal your food. The goats usually follow hikers along the way, they know that most people bring food.


Hikers in the Imbros Gorge in Crete.

Happy hikers in the Imbros Gorge.

Something that makes this hike special, and a little eerie, is when you consider that thousands of Allied soldiers escaped the Nazis via the Imbros Gorge. The Germans had managed to occupy almost the whole of Crete and the Allied troops had no choice but to evacuate the island. Ships were waiting in Chora Sfakion to take them to Alexandria in Egypt, and the only way to get to Chora Sfakion reasonably safe was through the Imbros Gorge.


Hiking through the Imbros Gorge near Chora Sfakion in southern Crete.

A part of the hiking trail goes between these cliffs. I can promise you that you will feel small.



Of course, the Germans knew this and they did everything they could to stop them. One way was to snipe the escaping soldiers from the cliffs above the gorge. The fact that it must have been terribly anxiety-ridden for the escaping troops is understood when walking through the gorge, there is only one way to walk and it is downhill, and there are not many places to hide, plus they had to get all the way to Chora Sfakion. It must have been horribly terrifying!


The road down to Chora Sfakion in southern Crete.

The road down to Chora Sfakion.


When you reach the exit of the gorge, it is not far to the village of Komitades where there are some tavernas where you can rest and have something to eat and drink. If you have parked your car at the village of Imbros, you can take a taxi back. All tavernas in Komitades offer unofficial taxi service back to Imbros.

I've been riding an illegal taxi that distance. We sat in the back on a pickup and I can promise I was terrified the whole trip. The road is more twisting than a go-kart track and it is important to be attentive to the curves, the precipices and the oncoming traffic, but eventually you end up in the village of Imbros, for further travel to, for example, Chania city.


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