If you enjoy putting on your walking boots and setting off for a day of fresh air and wonderful scenery then you can't do better than walk the Pefki Gorge that's here in south-east Crete.
Keen walkers visit the Pefki Gorge all year round, but if you're here early in the season then you're in for a special treat as the gorge is at its prettiest in March, April and May, when our spring flowers are at their prettiest and most abundant.
The Pefki Gorge walk is approximately seven kilometres along a very picturesque route. The surrounding hills are covered with olive trees, citrus, carob and pine trees, and you'll really love scent of pine that will be with you all along the route.
If you're feeling really energetic, start from Makrigialos and walk all the way to Pefki village that's situated right at the top of the gorge. Then enjoy a break at Johanna's café (snacks only but open all year) or Piperia Tavrna (open for lunch and dinner during the summer season) before taking the same route in the opposite direction to return to Makrigialos.
The less energetic can get a taxi from Makrigialos (ask Nikos to book it for you) to Pekfi and then simply do the walk from top to bottom. Depending on how often you like to stop to admire the scenery and take photos, the walk usually takes most people about two hours for each direction. There's also a shortcut that can be taken using the road instead of the gorge which then shortens the walk by about 30 minutes. The village of Pefki, at the top of the gorge, is at an altitude of 420 metres and is on the southern slope of a group of mountains know as the 'Romanti'. It's also the name of the tallest mountain in the group. Up here the region is mostly rocky which creates a landscape of unique attractiveness. Above the village of Pefki is the mountain of Afendis-Stavros ('Stavromenos') which has a church built right on its summit. South of Pefki village the mountainous and fertile landscape leads back to the Pefki Gorge and here the hills are covered with pine trees (pinus halepensis). The Greek for this is pefko, hence Pefki, the name of the village.
Whether walked both ways, or just one way, this is a wonderful walk that's always full of interest and with lots of typical Cretan flora and mountain scenery.
One important thing to remember is that, no matter how you do the walk, you must always wear good walking shoes, not flimsy sandals or beach flip-flops. Also, if it's a hot day, then a bottle of water could be welcome and, if necessary, it can be refilled from the spring that's in the gorge.
For those who enjoy a tougher challenge, the Pervolakia Gorge is quite near. Please keep in mind that the Pervolakia Gorge should only be attempted by more experienced and well equipped walkers. It takes about three hours to go up and two and a half hours to come down. When you reach Pervolakia you'll be rewarded by a lovely taverna called the 'Aposperida'.
Source : The White Houses of Crete