Ilinga or Iliga or Kavis gorge in Sfakia
The gorge Ilinga - Iliga or Kavis is located between Hora Sfakion and Anopolis village. Lush, beautiful and easy. From Anopolis village, Sfakia, you start to walk 2 hours to the Byzantine church of the Holy Cross (this piece may be performed in rural or Jeep). From here begins the descent, lasting about three hours, leading to the beautiful beach Iligka, 1km west of Sfakia.
The gorge of Ilingas is, surprisingly very beautiful and totally unknown. After heavy rains in winter 2000 is now difficult to walk. From its northern end (Anopolis area) it is possible to get to interesting and abandoned villages, high above Anopolis.
Places near Ilingas Gorge
Hora Sfakion is a small village with a main harbourfront of tavernas, two minimarkets, a butcher and a bakery. There is a quiet local beach immediately West of the village, and several pebbly beaches nearby. The town offers a variety of tourist accommodation: rooms, studios and apartments. The local economy is based on tourism, fishing, olive oil production and sheep and goat herdering.
Hóra Sfakíon prospered during the Venetian and Turkish occupations and up to the 18th century carried on a flourishing trade with its own small fleet. It was said to have had a hundred churches but the town suffered badly from wartime bombardment during and after the Allied evacuation at the end of the Battle of Crete.
Hóra Sfakíon is famous as one of the centers of resistance against the occupying forces of both the Venetians and the Turks. The impenetrable White Mountains to the north combined with the rocky beaches on the south helped the locals fight off all invaders. Anopolis, a village near Hóra Sfakíon, is the birthplace of one of the most celebrated Cretan revolutionaries, Daskalogiannis.
The beach is not very organized, but in recent years you can find some amenities, like sun beds and parasols, and also a small tavern by the beach that also serves cold water, refreshments and coffee.
One of the great advantages of Ilingas beach is that it’s not affected by the seasonal winds of Crete and the Aegean Sea, the well known “meltemia”, as they are called in Greek. That means you can swim in Ilingas beach even when the winds are high!
Ilingas beach is easily accessible from Hora Sfakion. The beach is located about 2 kilometres west of the village. If you have a car or motorbike, you can take the road to the beach – the trip is very short, lasting only about 5 minutes – and then walk the last 200 – 300 metres to the beach. If you don’t have a vehicle, you can get to the beach from Hora Sfakion on foot after about 30-40 minutes.
It is located at the exit of the Iligas or Ilingas gorge, at a wild natural scenery. Just after Ilingas beach is the start of the E4 path leading to Glyka Nera beach and on to Loutro. Glyka Nera is one of the most beautiful beaches in Crete.
Keep in mind that Ilingas is one of the beaches in Crete that is also popular with naturists. Generally, most of the best secluded beaches in Crete have a smaller or bigger corner reserved for naturists!