Patsou Gorge

The Patsou gorge is located 8 kilometers southwest of the Arkadi Monastery and 30 kilometers from the city of Rethymno and is one of the most beautiful and verdant canyons not only of Rethymno prefecture, but throughout Crete.

With streaming waters throughout the year, small ponds, waterfalls and ancient plane trees, the Patsou gorge, with total length of 5 km and 3 km away from the settlement of Patsou, is a home to about 80 species of flora and 24 species of fauna, of which many are endangered species.

It is named as Patsou gorge after the homonymous village of the region, while it is also called Agios Antonios after the church dedicated to the saint, located in the cave, few meters far from its entrance. It is a curious thing that many votive offerings are hanging on the rocks, following a religious tradition, which once was known as worshiping the «Kranaios Hermes“. Up to the church and a few hundred meters onwards, the gorge trail is easily to hike, even for beginners. The trail goes up till the barrier. From there, the path is partially destroyed and is suitable for more experienced hikers with equipment.

After the excavations in the Patsou gorge, anthropomorphic and zoomorphic figurines and potsherds came to light dating from Late-Minoan period to Geometric, Hellenistic and Roman times. Some of them are displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Heraklio and some in the Museum of Oxford.

The Patsou gorge, a small botanical garden with giant plane trees, tiny solenopsis or Laurentia (Solenopsis Minuta) and endemic verbascum or mullein (Verbascum Arcturus), is considered easy to hike and is exploited by the forest service with bird observatory and facilities for picnics with fresh water.