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  • Yes, this landscape is in Crete!Yes, this landscape is in Crete!© Cretazine
  • The 19th century arched bridgeThe 19th century arched bridge© Cretazine
  • Follow the stream!Follow the stream!© Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
  • © Cretazine
  • One of the haunted stone made watermillsOne of the haunted stone made watermills© Cretazine

The gorge of Richtis: a “tropical” Cretan jungle

A stone made bridge, a lush forest, a river that shapes refreshing ponds, wild flowers, wild berries, mushrooms, watermills, and a few meters before the exit to the Libyan Sea a watery surprise.  Plus, fairies, elves, and smurfs – just kidding, those we imagined. 

Cretazine Tips

  • The gorge is about 4.5 km long and you can reach it by car (you will park near the stone bridge of Lachanas).
  • From the stone bridge to the waterfall you will need to walk for appr. 50 minutes to an hour. From there, you need to walk 20 more minutes to the beach.
  • As you will have to cross the stream, stepping on rocks, and climb up and down rocky hills, hiking shoes are recommended!
  • Remember to take fruit with you or some snack to enjoy a nice picnic in front of the waterfall (there is a wooden table for this purpose) or at the beach if you prefer. 
  • If you dare to swim in the chilly waters of the waterfall, remember to take your bathing suit as well.
  • If you are not a fan of trekking or you don't have much time, then you can drive directly to the beach and walk to the waterfall from there (but why miss the beautiful route, and the smurfs?)
  • The stone bridge you meet at the entrance (bridge of Lachanas) hides a tragic story (or maybe legend?): here Christians slaughtered Muslims who attempted to reach the town of Sitia and board on a ship, during the population exchange between Turkey and Greece.
Published in  Crete in action

The 19th century stone made arched bridge you will meet before you enter the gorge marks the entrance to a small wonderland, an escape from the typical Cretan landscapes. However, the bridge is just a trick to mislead rationalists and disbelievers; you do not need to cross over it. Instead you will walk under its arch and follow the stream (that becomes a small river in spring) and the arrows strategically placed on trees. In a little while you will arrive in a dense forest with plane trees, chestnut trees, oak trees and other ‘forest spirits’. Ivies climb up the trees and hang from its branches and the deeper you go into the forest the more beautiful surprises you meet. Wild flowers in spring, wild berries and mushrooms sprouting in the most dark and humid corners. Ponds with refreshing waters between the rocks, glades and intoxicating herbal scents.

While you explore your adventurous instincts, jumping from rock to rock to cross the playful stream, remember to keep your eyes open. In the most unexpected corners of this wonderland you will encounter haunted stone made watermills that have become one with the environment and the vegetation. Surprises do not stop here: palm trees pop out from time to time, giving an exotic touch to your route. After an hour walk the ravine opens and the color blue of the sea appears in the horizon. A vertiginous wooden staircase will lead you there where the sound of running water becomes louder and louder. 

Ivies climb up the trees and hang from its branches and the deeper you go into the forest the more beautiful surprises you meet.

And now you known the wonderland’s best kept secret: a 15m high waterfall spills into a dreamy lake, surrounded by a carpet of moss. A perfect place for a picnic, a romantic date, nature photography, a chilly swim or whatever else inspires you. When you miss the salty sea water, you just need to walk 20 more minutes to reach the pebble beach of Richtis. Unless you have arranged for a car to pick you up from there, take a deep breath and go back to the wonderland, walking all the way back. Fairies, elves, wise spiders with their artful nets and smurfs will keep you company (what do you mean "these things do not exist?")  ;-)