Agia Irini Gorge

Agia Irini Gorge is the second-most popular gorge in Chania. It is a great alternative to Samaria if you fancy a more relaxed and steady pace through the incredible White Mountains. It is also a gorge that is open all year, unlike other gorges in the area.

Agia Irini Gorge is 7.5km from start to finish with a descent of only 500m compared to the 1230m descent of Samaria. Both gorges have breath-taking views, but if you wanted to hike without the sun high above you, Agia Irini is also a great choice, as your journey is mostly covered by trees above, providing much-needed shade.

Your journey through the impressive Agia Irini Gorge starts at the exit of the village of Agia Irini, around 46 kilometers from Chania City Center. Agia Irini Gorge is part of the NATURA 2000 network and has been designated as a wildlife sanctuary by the Ministry of Agriculture. There are many different species of wildlife and flora here, including trees such as cypress, pine, maple, oak, and holm oak. This picturesque walk will take you around 2–3 hours from start to finish, and you are sure to see the protected and famous Cretan wild goats (Kri-Kri), which live within this whole region.

After exiting the gorge, you will come to a taverna at the side of the road. Upon request, we will stop here to eat and rest. If you wish to add this stop to rest and refresh, we will then continue our journey down to the beautiful beach of Sougia. Take the time to relax, enjoy the beautiful beach, and swim in the crystal-clear waters of the Libyan Sea.




Agia Irini Gorge is located around 46 kilometers from Chania City Center on the west side of the White Mountains. It takes its name from the village at the origin of the gorge and is located within the Samaria National Park. The gorge is 7.5 km long, and it will take you around 3 hours to descend into the mesmerizing gorge.

Within the gorge, you will see a diverse range of flora, trees, and wildlife, which make this ravine a unique and unforgettable experience. Agia Irini Gorge is now a designated wildlife sanctuary by the Ministry of Agriculture, which aims to protect this beautiful scenery for future generations.

Not only is Agia Irini Gorge a beautiful and relaxing walk, but it has also played a role in history as it is famous for providing 1,000 women and children safe passage in 1866 during the Ottoman Rule. Agia Irini Gorge merges with the Gorge of Figous, and it is here that the escape took place. This gorge takes its name from the word espcae, figi. The gorge of Figous is situated at the top of Agia Irini and merges to form this incredible ravine. At the location of Pola Spitaki within the gorge, you will see the abandoned settlement where the woman and children escaped in 1866. Today, it is an outpost for forest inspection.



The beautiful beach of Sougia marks the end of Agia Irini Gorge. It is considered the longest beach in south-west Crete at 1.2km in length. This beach hosts a range of different features along its coastline and was famous in the 1970s for being popular with the hippy community. The main part of the beach in front of the village hosts umbrellas, sunbeds, and showers, while other areas of this beautiful beach are known to be popular with nudists.

The long pebbled beach is a beautiful way to relax and unwind after a rewarding hike through the stunning Agia Irini Gorge. The small village of Sougia offers many coffee shops and tavernas, as well as accommodations and bars. This picturesque coastal town is a great way to end your adventure into the Cretan Mountains, so why not take the time to enjoy the beach and the crystal-clear waters of the Libyan Sea?


What you can read next