Zaros - Rouvas Gorge
Crete Hiking

Crete travel guide

Hiking in Zaros, Rouvas Gorge in Crete

Zaros village is at the southern flank of Psiloritis (Mt Idi) in Crete. Its main attraction is the nearby gorge of Rouvas. 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 water but very few have visited the place.

Drive past Zaros village to the little lake of Zaros. This is a nice place for some rest and a picnic. On your way to the lake there is a very nice hotel (Idi Hotel, tel. 0894-31302) and 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 woods covering the first 1/3 of the gorge were destroyed due to a fire a few years ago and it certainly isn't a pleasant sight.

Go past that as soon as possible and enjoy the rest of the route. 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. 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.

Aghios Ioannis is one of my favorite camping places in winter. It is a magnificent place covered with trees and lots of water; 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.


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

oak-tree forest at Psiloritis

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