Well known for its amazing cliffs, flowers and rare birds as well as for some difficult routes for climbers, this is one of the most beautiful canyons in Eastern Crete. Its northern entrance is south of Pervolakia village and its exit at the Monastery of Kapsa on the southern coast of Crete. Near the exit, there is a couple of pebble beaches with amazing blue waters, perfect for a very relaxing swim after a 1 h and 30 mins walking in the gorge. The Pervolaki Gorge is also called “Kapsas Gorge”, as it is situated next to the Kapsas Monastery near the South Cretan Sea.
Generally considered a moderately challenging route, it takes an average of 1 h 30 min to complete if you choose to descent from Pervolakia to the Monastery of Kapsa and about 2 hours the other way round. The actual trail is obvious, sometimes on one side of the canyon and sometimes the other, and is well marked with red arrows and dots. However, the tricky part here is the wind. Sometimes the wind is coming down from the mountain at an amazing speed making hard for hikers to keep balance as the wind is pushing them. The total length of the gorge is 4.5 km and the elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is approximately 350 meters. Pervolakia gorge is an exceptionally beautiful gorge and the walk down gives an expansive view of the Libyan Sea most of the way.
The gorge is dry with low plantation. It is home to 14 endemic plants and to one of the rarest Cretan species known as the “Limonium of Coranros” which can only be found inside the gorge and on the small islet of Agia Fotia. At some parts in the gorge, you need to scramble and climb a bit, though there are signs in the bed of the gorge to inform you where you have to be careful. Good hiking shoes are necessary as the ground is rough and rocky. When you can reach the monastery, you can call a taxi or you can walk back again. Pervolakia Gorge is 9 km east of Makrigialos and 33 km east of Ierapetra.
On May 8, 2015, two experienced Austrian climbers, Albert Precht and Robert Jölli lost their lives trying to climb the mountain peak in the gorge. At the place they were killed, a small monument has been placed that depicts a falling climber along with two photos of the victims, one of their hats, a rope and hundreds of tribute pebbles.