Diktamo, The many-faced gorge
by / Juhani

Updated 23.03.2014

The Diktamo Gorge is fairly unknown gorge 20 km from Chania and 6-7 km from Kalives. There are no organized tours or trips to attend, as the gorge is quite difficult to reach and pass – you will have to walk through it not step-by-step but rather stone-by-stone. If you choose to pass through the gorge make sure you are in good condition and prepare for a 3,5 to 4,5 hrs of difficult manoeuvring and climbing, and be well equipped. Your shoes must be very good, as getting out
of the gorge with a hurt or broken leg is painful and extremely difficult. Unlike in many other gorges, you won’t see other people there, and as the cell phone doesn’t work well in the gorge either, you are pretty much on your own there. 

The gorge is at its best in late summer and early autumn. During spring there is water in the gorge, and the water flow might be quite strong in some places making advancing difficult and even dangerous, but the experience of trekking the gorge is wonderful. The high rocky walls stand over the gorge and the fallen rocks cover the bottom of the gorge. You may run into some gorgeous goats in the gorge and the plantation is versatile and verdant. The surface of the gorge has been carved and molded by water in a beautiful way and is a sight to see on its own. 

This is the starting place if you are planning on passing the gorge from east to west. The gravel road takes you by the house in the picture to the gorge.

For most the gorge is a one way trip and you can take a taxi from the village at the end of the gorge, but if you like the challenge and are in good condition you can walk it both ways. Taxi from Chania comes in  about 20 minutes and it takes another 20 minutes to reach the starting point. The trail is well marked with red arrows, and you can’t miss it. The rocky surface in the picture is very typical on the route. There are impressive platan trees especially during the second half of the way.


The richness of details, birdlife and versatile plantation are the most remarkable elements in the gorge.

Strong spring currents have eroded the soft lime stones with clearly visible tracks.

Here is one place were some climbing is required. The rickety stairs help through the worst part,
as seen in
this panoramic image.

The resting place of this goat head.

Peculiar structures can be found inside the rocks.

Here is the road at the western end of the gorge close to the Kato Horio Village, from which you should drive to the direction shown by the sign.

You will have to go through two steel wire gates during the final kilometer of the gorge to reach this bridge. The gates are part of the sheep herding fence. It is recommended to follow the gorge all the way to the bridge, even though it seems possible to climb up from the gorge much earlier.

Directions to the Diktamo Gorge:

The gorge begins about a kilometer (a little over half a mile) from the Stilos Village and ends to the west close to the Kato Horio Village. The easier way is to walk uphill from Stilos, from which there is a marked route to the gorge. From the Chania-Rethymno road you should head down to Kalives and turn right just before Kalives following the signs for Stilos.

Additional Information:

Coordinates for the eastern end of the gorge (Stilos): 35°26’27.58″N 24° 6’43.99″E

Coordinates for the western end of the gorge (bridge close to Kato Horio): 35°26’27.58″N 24° 6’43.99″E map of the area