The Platania Gorge in the Amari Valley is a unique path with impressive cliffs and vertical limestone cliffs with caves, some of which are home to griffon vultures.
Most of the path leads uphill over stone steps, some parts are very slippery, and sturdy shoes and physical fitness are required. Partly a steep ascent on the slope, therefore not recommended for people with a fear of heights.
From the St. Antonios chapel, you have a great view of the landscape, which stretches up to the top of the Psiloriti (but that’s still a long way!). The way back on the round tour leads over a flat surface to the street and back to the village.
One of the rare and endangered species is the Bearded Vulture or Gypatetus Barbatus. Crete where the bearded vultures live all year round is one of their last refuges in Europe. The many inaccessible cliffs are ideal for raptors such as these Griffon Vultures and in the Platania gorge, you will be able to admire the king of the Cretan skies.
If you are interested in the wildness of the Cretan mountains with the rich flora and fauna, then Platania gorge is the right place for you. The entrance is a bit hidden in the curve in the village of Platania. You will see a sign behind the fence. Along the way, you will pass old olive groves and a great variety of endemic and not only Cretan plants.
Impressive cliffs and vertical limestone outcrops, colored with extraordinary yellow and red colors by the rock dissolution, characterize all the highest parts of the route. There are numerous shelters and caves carved into the rock up to the chapel of St. Antonios. These landscapes are suitable for nesting a large number of birds, mainly raptors. Meet the griffon vulture colony flying around the sheer cliffs, hawks, wild pigeons, and crows. And if you are lucky, he might see the bearded vulture. The wooded vegetation dominates the part above the gorge and surely the visitor will be rewarded by the images and the view that unfolds before his eyes. The last part of the path, which crosses the small plateau with the oak and maple trees and the caves, is just as varied.
When you get to the Agios Antonios church, you can either hike further up towards Psiloritis, walk back the same way or do a circuit on the other side of the gorge.
The Platania Gorge area has been included in the Natura 2000 network, it is a protected area for bird fauna and a protected area for wild animals.