We live to explore Crete. Follow us!

CRETAZINE

© 2012 CRETAZINE,
All Rights Reserved

All articles and photos published in CRETAZINE is available to visitors strictly for personal use. It is not permissible to reproduce or retransmit in any manner or to any extent whatsoever any part of this web site, with or without editing, without the written permission of the publisher.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

  • In Aradaina you will find the highest bridge for bungee jumping in Greece. Jump if you dare!In Aradaina you will find the highest bridge for bungee jumping in Greece. Jump if you dare!© Cretazine
Crete as we Live it

Anopoli - Aradaina: nature, adrenaline and... sfakian pies!

Starting from the touristic portside of Chora Sfakion you cannot imagine that in just a few kilometres away you will arrive at a landscape resembling the Alps! In Aradaina you will see the highest bridge for bungee jumping in Greece, surrounded by imposing mountains and a deserted village built on the edge of the steep cliff. As good as it gets!

Cretazine Tips

  • If you are brave enough you can try bungee jumping from the bridge of Aradaina during the weekends. It will cost you 100 euro, and the 'jumping-season' is from the beginning of June until the end of August, from noon to sunset! Only on Saturdays and Sundays!
  • The bridge of Aradaina has become one of the most popular bungee jumping sites, since it is the highest bridge in Greece (138 m.) and the second highest in Europe. Brrr...
  • The gorge of Aradaina is accessible until autumn. Do not attempt to cross it during rainy days and the winter. If there was rain recently, ask the locals if it's safe to cross it. 
  • In one of the frescoes of Michail Archangel you can see a wild animal staring at the saint. The same wild creature was found in representations of the Sfakian deity Vritomartis, thousands of years ago. 
  • The temple of Michail Archangel was one of the 4 'miraculous' temples of Sfakia when the ritual of 'solving differences' was taking place.  In the time when animal stealing was a common practice, if a shepherd suspected another shepherd for stealing his animals, he made him swear in one of these churches that he is not guilty. Fearing divine punishement, no one took a fake oath in these temples, and in this way violent resolutions were avoided! 
  • Animal stealing is part of...local traditions! A leftover from the Turkish period, when locals looted the properties of Turks.
  • Don't forget to buy honey and the famous sfakian rusks from the bakery in Anopoli.
  • If you don't feel like walking down the gorge, you can drive back to Chora Sfakion. On the road you will see the path that leads to the dreamy beach of Glyka Nera

 

Published in  Island Routes

1st stop: Anopoli

Anopoli - Aradaina: nature, adrenaline and...  sfakian pies!The route from Chora Sfakion to Anopoli climbs up the zig zag road crossing the ‘naked’ mountain, treating you with excellent views down the portside and across, to the island of Gavdos. And then the landscape changes, your eyes fill with white stone and pines until you reach Anopoli, the historic village of Sfakia. At the central square stands the statue of Daskalogiannis, who led the 1770 revolution against the Turks and originated from this place. The village expands to a large area –and according to the baker who will prepare luscious sfakian pies for you, it has 7 cemetaries! The history of the village goes back many centuries. Anopoli was one of the autonomous ancient cities of Crete (and you will meet another one a bit further down the road). Climb to the hill of Agia Ekaterini to enjoy breathtaking views to the Libyan Sea and explore the remains of the ancient city and part of the fortification walls on the northern slope. Before you continue the route, do not forget to pay a visit to the sfakian bakery you will see on the left side of the road as you enter the village. 

αριστουργηματικές σφακιανές πίτες περιχυμένες με μυρωδάτο ντόπιο μέλι Sfakian rusks (paximadia) aromatized with anis and coriander, raki, Greek coffee and of course the local culinary masterpiece: sfakian pies, filled with white cheese and topped with honey.  The hardest part of the trip is to leave this bakery and the pleasant company of the baker, Yiannis Orfanoudakis, who has a lot of stories to tell...!

2nd stop: Aradaina

The bridge of Aradaina

Η γέφυρα της AράδαιναςWith a happy stomach you continue towards the village of Aradaina. The constant interchange of white stone and pine trees tells you that you are in Lefka Ori, the majestic mountains of Chania prefecture. You will know you are in Aradaina once you cross the bridge that takes you to the other side of the gorge. Don’t be frightened by the noise, the bridge is quite stable! This metal construction hangs 138 meters over the ground, so even if you are not here to try bungee jumping, the ‘threatening’ gap will give you a nice dose of adrenaline. Park your car and walk to the middle of the bridge, where brave ones try the … salto mortale. From there you will see the gorge in all its majesty, as well as hikers small like ants crossing its narrow ravine, steep wild cliffs and trees sprouting in the middle of nowhere.  Then you will feel the subtle swinging of the bridge– caused by the wind.  Go back to stable ground and sit for a drink at the canteen before you continue your tour to the deserted village of Aradaina.

The ghost-village and ancient Aradin

Το χωριό – φάντασμα και η αρχαία ΑραδήνAradin was one of Crete’s ancient cities, which flourished during the Roman, Byzantine and Venetian times. It was an autonomous city, with its own coin that prospered until the 1770 revolution of Daskalogiannis, when it was utterly destroyed by the Turks. Today the deserted village, built almost at the edge of the steep cliff near the bridge, is an open air museum of Sfakian architecture. Or, a ready-made cinematic scenery: arches, staircases, little yards, roofless houses, all made of stone and covered by plants, with almond and fig trees sprouting from their interiors. There you will also see a public wine press and the Byzantine temple of Michail Archangel. Bearing a sword and wings, Michail Archangel was the appropriate spirit that would protect brave Sfakian fighters in the numerous battles they took part. The temple was built around 1300-1400 B.C over the ruins of an older temple. Take a look at the original iconostasis with the icons. Michail Archangel doesn’t look very ‘angelic’, and in another icon you will see Adam and Eve completely naked in the Garden of Eden.

The gorge

You admired it from above, now it’s time to cross it! Take the path that starts next to the bridge – to your right you will see the stone-made trail leading to the bottom of the gorge. The route is not very difficult with just 5.5 km in the ravine and it will take you about 3-4 hours to reach the exit, right at the Libyan Sea and the wonderful beach of Marmara. A swim in the crystal clear waters of this isolated beach is the perfect way to end this rewarding walk through the wild nature of Aradaina: abundant vegetation, wildlife, and vertical cliffs rising 150 meters over your head. From Marmama you can either decide to walk east towards Loutro (where you can take a boat back to Chora Sfakion) or walk all the way back. If you really like walking, you can try walking all the way back to Chora Sfakion, following the E4 trail. On then again, you might decide to stay...