before completing this do a review olf the Keramos Hotel in Zaros
Rouvas Gorge Walk
This Rouvas Gorge walk starts and ends in Zaros in southern Crete and should take three to four hours with a distance of eight kilometres or five miles.
Entrance to the Rouvas Gorge on Crete
Map (c) Google Maps
This exhilarating walk takes you to a mountain monastery and
up a rocky gorge, rich in flora and fauna and with beautiful views of central
Crete’s Psilorítis range. If you want to make a full day of it, you can extend
the walk to another mountain church. Start early to avoid the worst of the
NOTE: These directions were correct at the time of writing but sometimes routes can change so check before setting off.
The delightful village of Zaros nestles at the southern foot of Mount Ída. It is famous throughout Crete for its spring water, bottled by a local company on the edge of town. Drive west through town and park on the main road near the post office. (To shorten the walk, you could also drive to the lake).
Continue walking along the main road. Just past a modern fountain, you’ll see signs for the Idi Hotel and Lake Votomos. Turn right and follow the narrow road up the hill, past vegetable gardens and an old olive press to the Idi Hotel (see page 000), about 1 km from town.
The road makes a sharp bend to the left. Continue uphill
past the trout farm - its fish is a Záros speciality. The road is lined with
morning glories, pomegranate and lime trees while the mountains rise up ahead.
After 15 minutes you reach the small Lake Votomos, formed by the Záros springs.
There’s a good taverna on the south side.
Around the Lake
Both the right- and left-hand paths lead round the shore of the lake and up stone steps. Go through the gate (and close it). Proceed along the dirt path that ascends gently above the olive groves, with views over the valley to the left and the mountain on your right.
Monastery of Áyios Nikólaos
As you round a bend you can see the monastery of Áyios Nikólaos ahead on your left. Although the complex appears modern, its church has frescoes dating from the 14th century. It is home to a small community of monks.
Chapel of Áyios Efthimios
Opposite a little wooden bridge beside the monastery, a set of rock steps on your right leads up to the tiny chapel of Áyios Efthimios, filled with icons.
Into the Rouvas Gorge
Cross the bridge. The path turns sharply to the right and zig-zags up and away from the monastery. Follow the yellow arrows and markings painted on the rocks to guide you through the boulders. You are now entering the Roúvas Gorge, which the locals also call Áyios Nikólaos gorge, after the monastery.
After a short, steep climb you come to a fence. Go right following the arrow as the path curves around the next hill. Take the stone steps up and through a gate. The 1.6 km (1 mile) path through the gorge alternates easy stretches along the herb-covered hillsides with steeper climbs up stone steps. The route is well marked with yellow arrows.
Church of Áyios Ioannis.
The path follows along the steep side of the gorge, then drops down through the ravine and doubles back on the far side. Here it becomes a wide track leading uphill to a signpost. To extend the walk, follow the trail up through the peaks for 2.7 km (1.7 miles) to the mountain church of Áyios Ioannis.
Return to Zaros
To return, follow the sign for Votomos and Áyios Nikólaos.
This dirt track is narrow and steep at first, so go slow. There are beautiful
views down the gorge to Záros. When you reach some bee hives, walk quickly past
and turn left onto a wide dirt road that leads downhill to the monastery.
Follow the sign for Votomos that leads round behind it to the wooden bridge,
and return to Záros the way you came.
Download a PDF of this walk to print out and take with you here:
Rouvas Gorge Walk
Where to Stay on Crete
Other Crete pages
Keramos Studios in Zaros on Crete is an inexpensive two-star hotel/guesthouse with one of the best breakfasts on the island using food from the family’s farm.
The largest of the Greek islands, Crete has four ENUESCO sites, which are Sitia, Psiloritis, Asterousia, and the Gorge of Samaria.
Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to eat in Eastern Crete including restaurants and tavernas in Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia, and Kato Zakros.
This drive along the west coast of Crete and inland from there will take a whole day and starts and ends in Kastélli Kissámou, west of Chania.
The Samaria Gorge is one the longest gorges in Europe and doing the hike is one of the best and most popular things to do on Crete.
Greece Travel Secrets tours the Lyrarakis Winery on Crete and learns about Crete grape varieties such as plyto, dafni, vidiano, vilana, mandilari and kotsifali.
Crete (Kriti) is the largest Greek island and its main attractions include the Minoan Palace of Knossos, the Samarian Gorge, Chania and Rethymnon.
Crete’s wildlife and landscape are two of the island’s attractions, including gorges for hiking, rare raptors like the lammergeier, wildcats and ancient trees.
Visiting Knossos near Iraklion is one of the best things to do on Crete, and this page has a history of the site with visitor information.
Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.
How to make Petimezi, the sweet Cretan syrup made from wine must, is explained to Greece Travel Secrets.
The travel tale Our Hire Car in Crete describes what it’s like when you go driving in Greece and get off the beaten track, resulting in kindnesses.
The Dalabelos Estate offers luxury eco-tourism accommodation on Crete in the hills near Rethymnon with its own farm, vineyard and olive groves.
Greece Travel Secrets goes hiking in southwest Crete with Ramblers Walking Holidays based in Paleohora and hiking the E4 footpath and to Anidri and Azogires.
Driving on Crete is the best way to see Greece’s biggest island and here is our driving advice and some information about Greek driving regulations.
Chania is the main city in Western Crete with a lovely setting and a beautiful harbour as well as several museums.
Greece Travel Secrets recommends where to stay in Irakleio, the capital of Crete, including nearby beach resort hotels and accommodation in the city centre.
Hiking the Samaria Gorge on Crete, one of the best things to do on Crete, by Greece Travel Secrets.
Agios Nikolaos is a pretty and popular town on the north coast of Crete and this page on Greece Travel Secrets covers its history, museums and beaches.
Elounda on Crete's north coast is a popular holiday town with a pretty harbour, from where you can take day trips by boat to see the island of Spinalonga.
Greece Travel Secrets discovers Sitia, the main town in eastern Crete, with its relaxing waterfront, inexpensive hotels, good food, and nearby ancient sites.
Studies have shown the Cretan Diet as one of the healthiest in the world, involving lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fresh fish, and moderate amounts of wine.
This Lasithi Plateau drive on Crete starts in Neapoli and ends in Malia, covering a distance of 80 km (50 miles) and taking two to three hours.
This olive grove walk from Limnes to Vrises on Crete also takes you through orchards and gives close-up views of some of the island’s windmills.
Enjoy this page? Please pay it forward. Here's how...
Would you prefer to share this page with others by linking to it?
- Click on the HTML link code below.
- Copy and paste it, adding a note of your own, into your blog, a Web page, forums, a blog comment,
your Facebook account, or anywhere that someone would find this page valuable.
In efforts to improve the passenger drop-off and pick-up experience and in view of the expected increase in international traveler arrivals, Athens International Airport (AIA) announced that it would…
Art lovers, active types and foodies are among the ‘travel tribes’ that select Thessaloniki, as their holiday destination, found a visitor profile study released this week by the Thessaloniki Hotels A…
The Greek Environment Ministry’s Central Council of Architecture (KESA) has decided to protect Athens’ Astor and Ideal cinemas designating the two historic landmarks as cultural monuments, said the Gr…
Thessaloniki’s highly anticipated metro, to serve almost 250,000 commuters a day once completed, is almost ready with the Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis taking a test ride this week. Mitsota…
The nightlife and food are two of Thessaloniki’s strong points attracting more visitors to the northern port city, found a satisfaction study released this week by the Thessaloniki Hotels Association…
Passenger arrivals across all airports in Greece marked a sharp increase in the first four months of the year up by 7.4 percent compared to pre-Covid 2019 and by 38.4 percent over the same period in 2…
British holidaymakers flying on easyJet are picking Greece this year, according to a poll conducted by the budget carrier. More specifically, according to the survey carried out on 2,000 British adult…
Ride-hailing company Uber recently announced that it will launch a new seasonal private charter boat service on the Greek island of Mykonos. Available from mid-June to October, “Boat” will be an on-de…
The Greek island of Mykonos is the top most searched for international destination by US travelers seeking Airbnb accommodation in the first quarter of the year, according to the Airbnb 2023 Summer re…
Greece’s 14 regional airports exceeded pre-Covid 2019 levels last month handling a total of 1.6 million passengers, said managing company Fraport Greece. More specifically, according to Fraport data…