Agiofarago means Gorge of Saints or Holy Gorge. It owes its name to the hermits who used to live there in totally isolation. According to tradition 300 hermits lived quietly, each sitting on a different rock. They would meet one day a year in a large cave called Goumenospilo. If one did not arrive, it was assumed he had passed away. The fact that the gorge is too far from populated areas made Agiofarago the first center of ascetic life not only of the region but of the whole Crete.
The gorge is rich in history and crossing it is a truly unique experience. The path between the vertical cliffs of the gorge is breathtaking. On the way you will see large caves in which the ascetics used to live and the chapel of St. Anthony, with a well of drinking water outside. The church is believed to have been renovated three times to get its current form. South of the church on a small hill there is a Minoan tomb, revealing the human presence in the area from Minoan era.
At the exit of the gorge there is a stunning beach with crystal-clear, blue waters and fine pebbles. The beach is surrounded by high vertical cliffs and if you are not afraid of heights you are encouraged to climb the rocks to the top from where the view is amazing. Southeast of the beach there is a hidden lake, called Vourvoulitis. communicating with the open sea by underground passages. Do not get close as it is extremely dangerous. Before reaching the sea, there is a climbing field and it is common to see some climbers. Apart from its historical value, the gorge hosts many endemic and rare plants of the island as well as interesting species of birds. It is located in the western Asterousia Mountains, south of Matala and west of Kali Limenes in the prefecture of Heraklion.
Hiking the gorge is a must when in the region of Heraklion. It is an easy hike of about 30-50 ‘, not tough although it is uneven and rocky, but not too steep. You will need good footwear and plenty of water, especially in summer. To reach the gorge you have to drive towards Messara, pass Sivas and then all the way to the Monastery of Odigitria. From there you have to follow the signs leading to Kali Limenes and to Agiofarago. On the way back it is worth paying a visit to the Monastery of Odigitria.