Hiking in Messonas Gorge
About The Place
Mirabelos Bay, nestled along the northeastern coast of Crete, Greece, stands as a testament to the region’s rich history, diverse culture, and breathtaking natural beauty. The bay, with its azure waters and encircling hills, creates a picturesque haven that captivates visitors with its unique charm.
The area boasts a fascinating history, with remnants of ancient civilizations dotting the landscape. Ruins from Minoan, Roman, and Byzantine eras tell the tales of the people who once thrived here. The historic significance of Mirabelos Bay is further accentuated by the looming presence of ancient sites like the Minoan city of Gournia, providing a glimpse into the region’s past.
The bay and its environs are teeming with a vibrant array of fauna, showcasing the diverse ecosystem of the region. From the rare loggerhead sea turtles that frequent the sandy shores to the myriad of bird species that inhabit the surrounding hills, Mirabelos Bay is a haven for nature enthusiasts. Marine life, including colorful fish and dolphins, adds to the ecological diversity, creating a thriving ecosystem beneath the crystal-clear waters.
The local villages, each with its own distinct character, contribute to the rich cultural tapestry of Mirabelos Bay. Traditional stone houses adorned with vibrant bougainvillea, narrow winding streets, and welcoming locals create an authentic Cretan experience. Villages like Kritsa and Agios Nikolaos offer glimpses into traditional Cretan life, with charming tavernas serving local delicacies and artisans crafting handmade treasures.
The activities available in the area are as varied as the landscape itself. Adventure-seekers can explore the nearby mountains on hiking trails, while water enthusiasts can partake in sailing or diving expeditions. The beaches, with their golden sands, invite relaxation, and the warm Mediterranean climate ensures year-round enjoyment.
Mirabelos Bay is a destination where history, culture, and nature converge, creating a captivating tableau that leaves an indelible mark on all who are fortunate enough to experience its wonders.
- ~5 Hours
Experience a breathtaking circular hiking route encompassing stunning natural landscapes, historic settlements, and captivating vistas. This remarkable excursion is ideal for those staying in or near Elounda, Agios Nikolaos, Istron, and Ierapetra in southern Crete.
The hike covers approximately 14 km and begins at an elevation of 130 m, ascending to 730 m. It is regarded as one of the finest trails in Eastern Crete and comes highly recommended.
Please be aware that if you have a fear of heights, some sections of the trail may be moderately exposed.
During the hike, we will explore the ancient settlement of Azorias, first excavated by renowned American archaeologist Harriet Boyd-Hawes in 1900.
ABOUT AZORIA ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE
While the site boasts a rich history, with evidence of occupation during the Final Neolithic, Bronze Age, and Early Iron Age, the most prominent remains are the houses and communal buildings dating back to the Archaic period (600-500 BC).
The Archaic-era public buildings cluster near the peak on the western and southern sides of the South Acropolis, spanning an area exceeding 0.60 hectares. Each structure reveals signs of destruction and abandonment in the early 5th century BC, marking the end of the city’s existence and an extended period of habitation.
The Archaic rebuilding phase expanded the settlement to its maximum size of approximately 15 hectares, establishing a zone of communal buildings on the upper western slope of the South Acropolis. This included the development of civic architecture, encompassing communal spaces beyond individual households, designed to accommodate various activities and group configurations.
We provide complimentary transportation from Heraklion and near Agios Nikolaos. In some cases, we may be able to arrange pick-up from other locations along our route. If you require transport and are unsure, please contact us. Kindly provide the precise location of your hotel, not just its name. Transfer service is provided free of charge.
What to Bring
You will need to pack your lunch.
1.5lt of Water ,Sunglasses, Hat, Sunscreen.
Good hiking shoes are recommended as the terrain is rocky and quiet sleeper in some parts.
During winter you will need a waterproof jacket and pant plus a fleece jacket.
- Minimum 4 person
- Starting Time 10:00
- EndingTime 15:00
Cancellation Policy - Flexible
- Whenever you cancel 4 days or earlier than the confirmed activity starting date, your fee will be refunded for the entire activity charge.
- In case of cancellation within 48 and 96 hours before the scheduled activity starting date, you'll get 50% reimbursed.
- Those who cancel 48 hours or beyond are considered last-minute cancellations. There will be no refunds