Life's a beach ... Crete has been blessed with many off-the chart splendours, including lovely beaches lapped by clear waters shimmering in myriad shades of blue.
So ... why you don't escape the crowds one day and poinnting the compass to Agiofaraggo beach ... a secluded splendour.
Even if you wish to find spirituality, climb some steep rocks or simply enjoy nature, then you found the right place!
Agiofaraggo (Aghiofaraggo, Agiofaragko, Ayiofaraggo), southern of Heraklion Prefecture, is one of the most imposing, easy-to-access gorges that offers something more than the joy of trekking inluding the uniqueness and beauty of Cretan land and nature. The approximately 30 minutes route through the gorge will lead you to one of the most beautiful beaches of Crete of crystal clear water, surrounded by breathtaking rocks.
Once upon a time, Agiofaraggo was the home of hermits who alone enjoyed this little heaven on earth. As time passed, Agiofaraggo became a favorite destination of locals. Nowadays, it is usually enjoyed by all kinds of people, especially during the hot summer months.
Therefore, if you wish to avoid the crowds it’s better to visit in autumn, spring or early summer. Agiofaraggo has also become one of the most popular rock climbing areas in Crete and it is common to see people hanging from its steep rocks, alongside the indigenous goats!
Reach the monastery of Odigitrias, dedicated to the Virgin "who shows the way" after leaving the village of Siva and from there starts the dirt road which leads you to Agiofaraggo Beach. Drive down a white road in the direction of Kali Limenes and the coast of the Libyan sea following the signs.
This is a relatively easy dirt road. Then you have two options. Your first is to leave your car in the first “parking” ( you will normally se other cars there) and continue on foot, as after this point the road becomes more difficult to drive on. This means that you will walk about an extra 20 minutes more, until you reach the second “parking”.
If you are more adventurous and you have a 4x4 car-jeep or you just trust your car, then you can continue driving until the second “parking” which is marked by an iron gate. Open this gate and enter the small ravine adn experience the mystical aura where the route into the gorge officially begins.
You may wish to park your car under a tree, but we warn you that you may find traces of goat hooves on your car, as goats might climb on it to reach the tree leaves!
During springtime you will see running water, but there is no difficulty to cross it. The first part of the trail leads between the narrow. wavy walls of red, stratified rock, which slowly widen out and reveal an abundace of deep caves. Hermits used to retire these caves to pray and meditate.
Agiofaraggo is filled with a nice birdsong and is decorated with with bouquets of flowers blooming in the cracks in the rocks, Cretan ebony - ebenus cretica, endemic to the island, with its pink inflorescence and slivery plumes and much more.
Suddenly you reach a broad open space with the beautiful church of St. Anthony, the patron saint of hermits. The temple dates back to the 14th century but unfortunately its frescoes have not been preserved. After all, the name “agiofaraggo” is not coincidental; it means “Saint Gorge” or “The gorge of the Saints” because before it became a popular destination for climbers it was a popular destination for ascetics!
Actually, Agiofaraggo was the first ascetic centre of Crete with about 300 hermits living here in isolation!
Right outside the temple there is a well which used to supply water to the hermits and now to visitors, but most of the time it is dry. A bit further to your left you will meet “goumenospilio”, a small cave where the abbot of Agios Antonios lived. Its entrance is hidden behind some bushes. South of the temple you will see a vaulted Minoan tomb, standing witness of the long human presence in the region.
And yes the gorge has come to an end, and the beautiful emerald beach with coarse sand and attractive waters (especially after walking down) is welcoming you.
And as you relax and enjoy this magic place .... be prepared for a visit by the nosy goats, who are the indisputable lords of this beach and will approach you with no shame, especially if you have tasty treats with you! Don’t be afraid of them, give them something to eat, and you’ll become friends!
We kindly remind you to take all your rubbish with you ... please keep this lovely place clean.