Aradena - An impressive gorge
The impressive gorge of Aradena is some 19 km west of Chora Sfakion on the road to Anopolis and Agios Ioannis.
After Anopolis the road is new and easily accessible.
Aradena Gorge Map
To reach the village of Aradena, you will have to cross the gorge over the wooden-planked bridge of Vardinoyiannis, which was built as late as 1986.
In the past, the only communication the village had with the rest of the Sfakia district was the steep path that went up and down the gorge.
The village itself was abandoned in the 40s due to a vendetta and one can still imagine how beautiful it must have been. It has ruins of the ancient city of Aradin as well as a 14th century Byzantine church of Archangel Michael.
The 7 km descent starts from the village via a path and takes 3 to 4 hours. It used to be considered a difficult walk due to a passage that had to be mastered with a rope.
Nowadays and for the past 10 years a solid metal ladder, which is attached to the cliff, makes the passage easier. That is, if you don’t suffer from fear of heights – it’s about 10 metres high. To avoid the adventure of the ladder, there is also an easier path with a handrail.
Appropriate shoes, plenty of water and some hiking experience is required to master the descent.
The gorge should not be walked when it is raining or even if it has rained the days before since there is a risk of stones falling.
As for stones falling, pay close attention to the goats, they have a tendency to dislodge stones. Do not pass right underneath them; either wait for them to leave or chase them away by throwing stones.
At a steep place near the bottom and in the middle of large oleander bushes (avoid touching them; they are poisonous and you might develop allergic reactions from simple skin contact), is the only water place in the gorge; a small spring, a little hidden from the path.
This spring is really easy to miss; there are two paths that are marked with red dots and one of them does not pass near the spring.
So do not rely on it for water and make sure that you carry enough for the whole walk.
At the bottom of the gorge there are paths leading to the beaches of Marmara, Phoenix, Loutro and Chora Sfakion.
The coastal path is narrow and quite dangerous between Loutro and Chora Sfakion but there is always the alternative to walk back to Loutro and from there take the boat.
The gorge can of course be done from the beach of Marmara going upwards which is, by some, considered much easier since it requires less experience and concentration than going down.
Also the height of 750 m is not very noticeable since the climb is spread over the total length of the gorge.
The beach of Marmara can be reached from Loutro via
a coastal path or by boat.