In the rugged terrain of Crete, rivers meet large faults and steep descents during their course through the canyons, forming hundreds of small and high waterfalls.
Even locals are unaware of the existence of several waterfalls, as most are invisible and hidden in the impassable gorges. The vast majority has water from the first months of the year by the end of spring.
Canyoning, i.e. crossing gorges with high waterfalls, is possible only by using technical equipment. Appropriate training in canyoneering techniques can be offered by specialist companies and speleological associations of the island. This sport has gained an increasing number of fans lately. Especially spring is the best time to get involved into it, as water still flows inside gorges.
The most popular technical canyons of Crete include the imposing gorge Ha and the canyon of Arvi, which after an 80m high fall turns into a dark underground river. Especially the area of Tsoutsouras and Keratokambos is home to many steep canyons that have been equipped with bolts and anchors for training new canyoners.
Apart from canyoning, several clubs and certified instructors deal with climbing. Every weekend numerous athletes combine an excursion in nature with practicing their favourite sport. Some well-known climbing sites are Agiofarago, Voulismeno Aloni, Therisso, Kalathas Stavros, Plakias, Malia, Kria Vrissi, Latzimas, Kofinas, Agios Nikolaos and more.
Mountaineering clubs of Crete manage shelters on all mountain ranges of Crete. Travellers who want to stay in them should contact these clubs prior to their visit.
The most popular mountain shelter is Kallergis, east of Omalos plateau in the White Mountains, built at one of the more breathtaking spots on Crete, at an altitude of 1.680 m. Other shelters of the White Mountains include Tavri (1.210 m), Houliopoulos at Svourichti (1.980 m) and Volikas at Keramia (1.450 m). Moreover, there is another shelter at Greleska, overlooking the lush gorge of Agia Irini, which serves as wildlife observatory.
The Psiloritis range has four shelters; Toumbotos Prinos (1.590 m), Lakkos Migerou (1.710 m) from where the trail to Timios Stavros summit starts, Prinos above Asites (1.100 m) and Zaros shelter at the position Samari (1.417 m).
Two more shelters are located in Lassithi. The first, managed by the mountaineering club of Lassithi, is located at the position Strovili on Limnakaro plateau (1533 m). The second is the small shelter of Afendis Stavromenos summit atop Thripti (1.476 m).
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