Astrakiano and Kounaviano are two green canyons that join near Skalani and continue their course together to Karteros.
The total length of the network of the two gorges is 21 km. They are located east of the city of Heraklion and are part of the wider area of Yukhta. It is very easy for hiking, ideal for children and families.
The largest canyon Astrakiano, starts northwest of Kolomodi (Paliardas location) and runs through the area of the desert village of Kato Astrakoi with the ornate Astrakiani Arch. From Kato Astrakous starts a path that leads to the location Neraidospilio with the beautiful lake and the cave through which water gushes.
From here, the path along the river Karteros essentially begins on a wooded path that has been formed with wooden bridges and railings in difficult places.
After crossing the bridge of the Aitanians, we reach the area of Kali Rachi where the Astrakiano joins the Kounaviano canyon. From Kali Rachi the single canyon now proceeds to Karteros through a very well organized path.
The common section, known as the Karterou Gorge, passes by old watermills and the old church of Agios Nikolaos.
At its exit, at Mesa Karteros, next to the old inn and the second church of Agios Nikolaos, there is a resting place ideal
for a picnic. Here comes a road that starts from Carter.
The Astrakiano canyon (Astrakoi – Kali Rachi) has a length of about 7 km and the relaxed course in it lasts 3-4 hours. Respectively,
the path in Kounaviano Gorge (Peza – Kali Rachi) has a length of about 4 km and the course lasts about 2 hours.
The common part of the gorge of Karteros to the church of Agios Nikolaos (Kali Rachi – Mesa Karteros) has a length of about 6 km.
The route through the canyon is rich in natural, morphological, aesthetic, historical and cultural features.
A landscape of exceptional natural beauty, with springs, ponds, river, small waterfalls and lush vegetation.
There were 10 watermills in the gorge before the war, while the locals fished in the water eels and crabs that,
as they say, still exist.
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