20. Kanevos to Plakias Walk and Cycle in Crete
through the Kotsifas Gorge
Four and a half kilometres of road and track. Binoculars are useful to examine the plants that grow in profusion out of reach of the goats. The only way to appreciate this gorge is to walk down through it from the crossroads at Kanevos. Its overhanging rocks dangle plants above your head and drop the occasional stone onto the road.
15 min. The road drops through two sharp hairpins into the gorge and then follows a ledge blasted out of the side with the rock overhanging above.
25 min. Sheets of limestone tufa have formed where carbonate rich springs bubble out high on the rock face.
30 min. Half way down a line of rock shelters can be seen high on the east wall. The most northerly has a stone wall built across the entrance but access is difficult.
40 min. At the south end of the gorge take the left fork in the road for Plakias but after the first hairpin move onto the bulldozed track that continues down the right-hand bank of the valley.
50 min. The river at this point is normally dry but further on the sound of running water can be heard through the vegetation below. The track now climbs slightly as it enters the olive groves and eventually follows the contours round to join the tracks from Selia down to Plakias.
60 min. A much more interesting route takes an old path diagonally down and north through the olive groves to a lower track. The fork is obscure but there was an eight centimetre metal standpipe opposite the start of this path in 1993. The path follows the same diagonal all the way down and is easy to see at both ends although obscure in the middle.
70 min. On the lower path continue south towards the sea, keeping an eye open for water mills in the valley below. The top of the first is easily visible with a concrete roofed store room beside it. The second is more ruinous but clearly visible. When you are level with this second mill look out for a path heading down a ridge towards it.
Again if you miss the path continue on the track and turn left when you reach the track down from Selia.
85 min. The path starts down the top of this ridge but then turns right to drop by several zigzags down the southern side coming out at the stone arched bridge. Follow the path
2 hours down the right-hand bank of the stream back to Plakias.