Hiking in Rouvas Gorge

rouvas gorge or zaros gorge

The gorge of Zaros or Rouvas

Zaros village is at the southern flank of Psiloritis (Mt Idi) in Crete. Its main attraction is the nearby Rouvas gorge. Zaros and Rouvas are 2 very famous words in Crete, as they are the commercial names of 2 highly consumed brands of bottled water that comes from this area. Everybody knows the bottled water, but very few have visited the place.

1 hour south of Heraklion, you will reach the village of Zaros. Drive past the village to the small lake of Zaros. This is a nice place for some rest and a picnic. On your way to the lake there are a couple of taverns serving trout and salmon fish. There is also a tavern by the lake.

The lake is the starting point of the path leading to Rouvas gorge, one of the prettier places in Crete. Twenty minutes past the lake there is the monastery of Agios Nikolaos. The path ascends past the monastery and soon you enter the gorge.

The path goes up and down, sometimes along the stream flowing in winter and early spring. There are small wooden bridges in some difficult parts of the route.

bridge in rouvas gorge

It is quite possible that you find drinkable water in your way, but it is preferable that you carry a liter with you. There are signs all the way up to Agios Ioannis. There are also resting points with wooden benches.

Agios Ioannis is a magnificent place covered with trees and a small stream; there are also wooden tables and benches, even public toilets. It’s a great to spend the day there (if you carry some food) and take a walk in the woods around.

Agios Ioannis is 2-3 hours from Zaros lake, plus 2 hours back. If you don’t want to walk, then there is a dirt track leading to Agios Ioannis from Gergeri village.

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