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Category: Gorge
Prefecture: Chania
Address: Sfakia
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Kallikratis gorge is situated eastwards from Chora Sfakion in Chania Prefecture, starting from the mountain village of Kalikratis in Sfakia, at an altitude of 750 m (14 km distant from Imbros village), and you need three hours in order to cross it.

The gorge ends in the village of Kapsodasos, at an altitude of 120 m and at a distance of 9 km from Chora Sfakion and 5km far from Fragokastello and after 3,5 hours of walking.


Places near Kallikratis

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Asfendou 3208 hits

Asfendou plateau is about 63 kilometres from Chania, at an altitude of 770 metres, and is part of the area known as Sfakia in southwest Crete. It is surrounded by the White Mountains (Lefka Ori).
The road goes through a desolate landscape of steep mountains, small rocky hills, and small fields full of stones. The first village driving from Imbros (west) you will encounter are Asfendou village and plateau. The area is almost entirely deserted, but the stone houses still hold, probably because they are maintained by the shepherds who continue to bring their flocks in the area. The Sfakian village of Asfendou is located in this small and fertile plateau, 8 km from Imbros and 7km from Kalikratis village to east.It has approximately 40 houses and it is inhabited mainly during the summer. In the south of the village, in a small cave, frescoes on the rock have been brought to light, depicting hunting scenes and wild animals. From here through the beautiful ravine (gorge) of Asfendou the visitor can reach the Sfakian village of Vouvas within a 2 hours walk.

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Asfendou Cave (Skordalakia) 3042 hits

The cave is located in the area of Skordoulakia near the village Asfendou / Sfakia, prefecture of Chania (in the northeast part of the entrance of the gorge Asfendou). Asfendou can be reached coming from Chania (towards Sfakia) when turning left after the village Askifou towards Komitades. The cave is "locked" and not to be found without the help of locals. The key and a "tour" to the cave entrance can be get locally: on the village exit of Asfendou look on the right side for the "last electricity pylon" and (approx 100 m besides the road) a located House (roof). Immediately at the electricity pylon a path (through a wire gate) leads to this house. It is inhabited by an older, very hospitable couple.

The Lady of the house is the "key keeper” and leads interested parties to the cave entrance (a corresponding "obolus" for this service should be of course!). She shared with us during our visit, that in the last 10 years, no scientists visited the cave; the last visitors were Greek archaeologists from Athens, Chania and Iraklion. The way to the cave (500 m) leads east of the House through a small plane (thistle field, therefore wear sturdy shoes and long pants, etc.). Halfway, you pass a cistern which is about 15 m deep and whose "rope tracks in the rock" indicate the use of well over 100 years.Access to the cave is located at the southern foot of the left (of the house) range (approx. 700 m above sea level). The cave was originally a “flat cave” under a overhanging rock (and served previously as shelter) of around 6 m wide and approximately 16 m almost horizontally depth with a height of about 2 m at the entrance to up to 1 m at the end of the cave. The entrance then was closed with boulders after the initial exploration of the cave and only an access of approx. 60 x 80 cm was left on the right side, which was closed with an iron bars. This "input" leads (crawling on the stomach) inside the cave. The ceiling height here is max 60 cm which seriously limits the "mobility". The figural rock engravings are located on natural given surfaces, which in some places appear smoother, primarily located two adjacent, probably former “water holes”, which today are filled with soil; the larger has a diameter of approx. 23 cm while the minor measures approx. 16 cm in diameter. The individual engravings are a few just inches large and in different engraving techniques. The total area of engravings covers about 2 square meters of the cave floor. Due to the different engraving techniques and motives multiple development periods and scene groups can clearly be distinguished. The Petroglyphs are well preserved; this concerns both the deeper point engravings and the finer etching.

In her book "Caves of Greece" mentioned Anna Petrocheilou (1992) the cave at Asfendou with only five sentences and underlines their prehistoric importance without any detail. She writes about "rock engravings of stone age people as representations of wild animals, arrow and bow, branches and much more". An interpretation of the probably older line engravings and the depressions arranged in circles is not to be found in this literature.Petroglyphs are known by countless people from all continents except Antarctica. Often the representations for the communities of which they are have high cultural and religious significance. But no general conclusions are allowed. Recognizing the importance of Petroglyphs is possible, if at all, only by excellent knowledge of culture which has established - everything else are conjectures. Let us take the Petroglyphs of Asfendou currently in as what they are - a unique testament to a previously little explored Neolithic culture on Crete.


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Asfendou Gorge 2996 hits
The Gorge of Asfendos in Sfakia is a small but beautiful gorge and it starts southern from the Sfakian mountain village called Asfendos, situated at an altitude of 620 m and a distance of 45 km from Chania city.



Four kilometres of cobbled path dropping steeply in places down an open gorge. I often wonder who built these ancient cobbled ways which still provide excellent walking routes through this rocky landscape.

Follow the path that leads south away from the village down the valley.
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Kallikratis plateau 2794 hits
Kallikratis is situated off the beaten tourist path, scattered on a small plateau in Lefka Ori (southwest Crete) with an average altitude of 540m. Kallikratis can be reached via Asi Gonia, via Asfendou or via a newly paved winding road north of Kapsodasos that offers stunning views of the Frangokastello plain and the Libyan Sea in the distance.

Kallikrates has become a well known name in Greece, being the name given to the government scheme to overhaul local Municipalities, but in Crete it is also the name of a small Plateau and mountain village in Sfakia (west Lefka Ori mountains) where just three Sfakian families remain (2011).The village of Kallikratis was the birthplace of the family of Cretan artist Kostas Mountakis. Located at an altitude of 540 meters, the village and was named by Manoussos Kallikrates, who in 1453, with 1500 men and five ships, led a campaign to defend the area from the Ottomans Kallikrates is accessible either through the village of Asfendou from the west, Asi Gonia from the east or from the windy road which starts north of the village of "Kapsodasos" and ends in the plateau of Kallikrates. Southwest of the plateau is Kallikratis Gorge, which leads to the village of Patsianos. The gorge is 4 km in length.

Walking the Kallikratis - Argiroupoli E4 path.Route - Natural environment: The route is the continuation of the E4 northern branch, coming from the administrative region of Chania. After Kallikratis plateau, the path goes down to Asi Gonia, crosses Giparis gorge and ends up at the water springs of Agia Dinami and the village of Argiroupoli.

The prevailing rocks of the region are limestone rocks with firestones, while there are also: A Phyllitic - Quartzose texture (with schist, phyllites, quartzites, meta-basaltic and meta-gabbro rocks) ñ Colluvial deposits containing mainly limestone ñ Breccia and porous dolomites.

Kallikratis is a stockbreeding village with a great amount of water and vegetation surrounding it. The church of Agios Georgios, the patron saint of flocks, is very interesting.History

Kallikratis has a long tradition of participation in liberation struggles. During the Cretan revolution of 1867, Turkish forces under the command of Omer Pasha tried unsuccessfully to invade Sfakia via Kallikratis. During the German Occupation, Resistance forces had installed a radio in the Anemospilios cave near Kallikrates. The partisan George Psychoundakis in his book, "Cretan runner" states that he had remained hidden in the cave in the spring of 1942, aided by locals. In 1943, the paramilitary group of Fritz Schubert (a branch of the German Wehrmacht) looted and burned the village and executed more than 30 people in retaliation for the participation of local people in resistance against the Nazis. Now that "Kallikratis" is the new benchmark of local government reform, the Sfakian Kallikratis remains a proud corner of Crete.
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Asfendou 2755 hits
Asfendou is a litle mountain village after the village of Imbros and close to Askifou plateau, to the east. A small intersection ascends a concrete road up to the peak of Akones, with the telecommunication installations for connection between Crete and Africa. From here you have a view to the north, where you van see the Cretan Sea and to the south, where you see the Lybian Sea.


Before reaching the peak, the road continues to the village of Asfendou, built on a small and evergreen plain, at an altitude of 770 meters, 8 km. from Imbros. It has 40 houses and during summer only a few farmers make their way up here.

East of the village, in a small cave, many beautiful frescoes have been discovered. If you continue to the east for 6 km you reach the village of Kallikratis. In Asfendou you can also visit the Falaggari cave, which is very deep and contains a water basin.You can walk down the Asfendou gorge towards Agios Giorgos/ Agios Nektarios, but this is a quit difficult walk.

Ask for information locally first! The gorge itself will take you about 90 minutes, from 770 meters to 180 meters, so very steep.