Aradena Gorge is located in the region of Sfakia. A steep gorge that runs from the southern slopes of the White Mountains to the small beach of Marmara.
The walk through the gorge used to be difficult but a solid metal ladder was attached to the cliff making the passage easy.
Three years ago, a path was built and makes it a little bit more comfortable for people with fear of heights. But beware, although this new path has a handrail it is not appropriate if you suffer from vertigo. Aradena Gorge is not for people without any walking experience. Many passages require a good deal of surefootedness, especially if you are walking downwards.
Walking shoes with a reasonable grip are required for your own safety. Furthermore, the risk of danger is increased during the rainy days, so it’s better to avoid hiking.
Along the way you will see many goats on the slopes. For your own safety, do not pass right under them in case of dislodging stones.
Before starting the hike, you need to go to the stunning Marmar Beach. Either by hiking the coastal path from Loutro, or taking the small boat that starts from Chora Sfakion.
The beginning of the walk is between high cliffs so you will get a fair amount of shade. There are a lot of oleander bushes, especially during May. Avoid touching them, in case of developing reactions from simple skin contact. After about 30 minutes’ walk, Aradena Gorge widens a bit and you will see a sign leading to Livaniana. An alternative path if you just want a short walk through the gorge.
The path is well marked with stone cairns and with spots of color paint.
Pay attention to them, so to avoid taking the wrong route.
There are seven steep passages in Aradena Gorge. These are the parts where you are better off walking up than down.
There is only one water place in the gorge. So, make sure that you carry enough water for your hike. At the middle of the gorge, you will see the famous ladder which was used till then. And after a while the bridge which leads from Anopolis to Aradena high above you.
You need to pass under the bridge and keep walking for another 10 minutes up the river bed. There is a good path leading out of the gorge. If you go to your left it takes you to the village of Aradena. If you take the one leading up to the right it takes you out on the other side of the gorge towards the village of Anopolis.
If you have never been to the village of Aradena, a visit is definitely recommendable. You will get a real taste of authentic Cretan architecture and culture.
If you want to continue to Anopolis follow the road for about 30 minutes till you get to the village. In case you want to carry on to Chora Sfakion, it is easy to hitch a lift certainly from the locals.