Gorge of the Dead | Zakros

Kato Zakros Deads gorge article perspective logo

Scary name, isn't it? Don’t be afraid, the Gorge of the Dead conceals no threat, ghosts or any mysterious curse!

On the contrary, it hides incredible natural beauty and archaeological interest for the walker. The Gorge of the Dead is an impressive geological formation, a creation of tectonic changes and processes of thousands of years that is located between the settlements of Zakros and Kato Zakros and connects them. It is the last part of the European Long Distance Trail E4 for Greece. The E4 passes through the countries of Spain, France, Switzerland, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, Greece up to Peloponnese and then crosses all of Crete from west to east in Kato Zakros. From now on, E4 continues in Cyprus.

You can cross the gorge, entering from the entrance to Palaimilos, which is located near (Ano) Zakros, specifically 1 km from the lower end of the village, or from another entrance which is approximately in the middle of the distance between the two settlements, 4 km from the village of Ano Zakros, at Skinares, next to the provincial road. You can get there by bus or leave your car in a special parking lot. This entrance shortens the hiking time, which, from this point, will take you about 2 hours, maybe less.

The trail is relatively smooth, with adequate information signs for E4 and the Sitia Geopark, to which it belongs. Especially in the summer, don’t hesitate at all; it is even suitable for children. Just bring along snacks and water. In winter, the gorge bed is filled with water from the streams of Ano Zakros and Adravasti, and a river is formed, that ends at Lenika. The level of difficulty goes up, as you have to step on slippery stones between streams. The width of the gorge ranges from 60 - 120 m., and its height from the torrent bed reaches - at certain points even exceeds - 120 m.

The Minoans too would use the gorge as a passage, connecting the port of Kato Zakros with the mountain areas. At the exit of the gorge, there is a climbing site. The magnificent Minoan Palace, 4th largest administrative center of Minoan Crete and base of the amazing Minoan Fleet to Cyprus, Egypt and the Middle East, also waits for you at the exit. If you have started your hike in the morning, you will catch the archaeological site open.