Gorge of Platania
The gorge of Platania in Rethymno prefecture is located in the village of on the western slopes of and 38 km southeastern of the city of .
A unique route that starts from Platania village among cliffs, rock shelters, caves and vertical yellow-red limestone rocks, the Platania gorge, with length of 2,600 meters, is suitable for experienced mountaineers. The second part of crossing the canyon is not recommended to those who have no experience of mountain climbing or suffer from fear of heights, as the trail is almost carved into the rock. An alternative return from the southern path bypasses the difficult part of the gorge.
The interior of the Platania gorge is accessible only by technical means of canyoning and its tallest waterfall is 40 meters high.
The Platania gorge is a home to many birds such as bearded vulture, vultures, falcons, wild pigeons and crows. The visitor also encounters abandoned olive groves, endemic and not only Cretan plants, such as Agarathos (Phlomis lanata), campanulas or bellflowers, kermes oaks, maples and pines.
Here, the first part of the trail stops, leading to, with the chapel of Agios Antonios, or the cave of Pan, named after the ancient mythical God, who according to a legend was born here. On the walls of the cave, there are frescos dating probably to the Minoan period and indicating that this was a place of worship. The cave of Pan is located close to the upper entrance to the gorge, which starts in Kokkinocharako area accessible by car from .
The second part of the trail of the gorge, the path from Agios Antonios cave onwards becomes quite dangerous for inexperienced climbers.
The area of the Platania gorge belongs to the network Natura 2000, to the bird protection area and is a wildlife refuge.