Sassalos is located about 55 km away from Chania. Leaving Kolymbari behind us, we go past Spilia, where there is a small church, St John the Ascete in a cave – that’s where the name of the village comes from, and Episkopi, which was the seat of the local Bishopric in the byzantine times.
The church of Michael Archangel, known as Rotonda, is a sample of a unique architecture. Parts of a mosaic are still visible and of wall-paintings of various periods. As we continue in the central road we go through the picturesque villages Astrikas and Deliana, where traditional cottages and endless nature compose magical images. We go uphill to Tria Alonia and turn for Malathyros through olive groves and vineyards. After the last houses of Malathyros the landscape is breathtaking. Enormous rocks, a deep gorge and an impressive cliff with very rotten rocks.
The gorge of Halase or gorge of Sassalos, is a protected area of the programme NATURA 2000. We continue until the beautiful village of Sassalos that looks forgotten by time. Look for the old water mill among the chestnut trees and tast a tsikoudia at a simple local kafeneion. The hiking route begins parallel to the bed of the river at the beginning of the valley of Sassalos and descends downhill to the north. Walking is not always easy, the passages sometimes disappear and you have to go right or left of the river bed. The untouched nature compensates the visitor. Huge plane trees offer coolness and oleanders give colour to your route.
After some time you see in front of you a tunnel chiselled by the water, so high that it is easy to cross it. At some point you will find yourself behind barbed wire. Find the door and continue your route to the north beside the river. After you have crossed the narrow points of the gorge you can either go uphill to Malathyros or continue to the villages Makrona and Voulgaro.