Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro Share and discuss the many routes and paths in the mountains, along the coast, and on the plains of Sfakia. Post your walk description, add photos, and discuss safety. Use information at your own risk.


Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by Huck » 07 Jun 2016, 18:05

Frank wrote:... to climb the old iron ladders in the gorge. If you are sure footed and not afraid of heights they are not a big deal in my experience, just take it easy and be safe.

The iron ladders are fine. Just bear in mind that right above the second ladder, on the boulders, there are lots of loose pebbles.


So unless you walk alone it is advisable to keep a safe distance between the participants.

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by Mihalis » 08 Jun 2016, 04:39

Thanks everyone for the valuable information. I appreciate the concern. Most of my questions just come from not knowing, so when I ask if it is easy to find Aradena from Anopoli, I just mean I've never been there and is there anything special I need to know about.

I will bring plenty of water and pay attention to my surroundings. Sounds like the best plan is to take a bus from Hora Sfakion to Anopoli, walk down the Aradena gorge, and after my swim in Marmara, take the taxi boat to Loutro.

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by mike » 10 Jun 2016, 10:11

There's not much you can do wrong.

Think not? There is a lot that many people can, and do, do wrong. I once met a couple on the trail up to Gingilos. They asked me where the entrance to the Samaria gorge was. "Down there," I pointed. "At the ticket booth."

Here's a couple of encounters I have had with largely uninformed people in the Aradena/Marmara area.

First encounter: I was walking up the gorge and just passed the place with iron ladders and the stone step walkaround. There is (was?) a wooden barrier that blocks the way to the rope and ladders, to steer people to the cut steps.

I was surprised to see a young couple with a 6-7 year old girl and baby in a shoulder seat about to walk around the wood barrier. I shouted to them to ask what they were doing. They wanted to go to the beach (evidenced by what they were carrying) and assumed that the stone steps were to get out of the gorge. Their plan (with car parked at Aradena kiosk) was to walk down to beach, have a swim, and walk back. This was already around noon.

Needless to say I had a few sharp words about what they wanted to take on and discouraged them from attempting it, if only for the children.

Second encounter:

This took place on the road behind Likos. A young couple saw me and asked for information about Marmara -- how to get there, whether there was possibility for food/drink. They had some doubts and wanted a 'safe' alternative. I asked to see their source of info. It was an inexpensive guide to Crete. The suggested walk to Marmara was nothing other than a dotted line connecting Loutro with Marmara via Livaniana. No indication of height differentials, distances, nature of terrain. The Aradena gorge wasn't even marked. Scale must have been 1:4,000,000 -- that sort of misinformation.

OK, with that as starting point I could clue them in on what they can expect. This was past 13:00. If their goal was Marmara I suggested skipping Livaniana and take the more direct route. Told them about the marked route down the ravine, bypassing the cliff-walk section (girl nervous about heights). Checked their footwear: OK. Asked about water: OK, they each had big bottle.

Most important, I told them they could check the path down for themselves and simply backtrack if it made them too nervous. There's always comfort in a plan B/escape route.

If you are sure footed and not afraid of heights they are not a big deal in my experience

Frank, I err on the side of caution. The notion 'it's easy for me, therefore it's OK' borders on flippancy. After all I've seen over the years, I prefer to err on the side of caution, especially when you know nothing about the person asking the questions, and/or have little chance to cross-examine them carefully to understand their competence level and/or are dealing with someone who is asking such simplistic questions that one has to wonder if they represent a hazard to themselves.

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by Joanna » 11 Jun 2016, 21:02

So first, I felt like editing my previous post and at least narrowing down the context of the "nothing to do wrong"...
To take the ladder or not to take the ladder seems to be an old discussion, and I agree at this point with Mike. I would not recommend the ladder to anybody I don't know, I have never seen, and further to all the people who just surf the web and read. Well, I took the ladder and it obviously didn't break nor I fell off. It was ok for me and I would go again, even though I found it at first challenging i.e. to hold to the steps and side rails as they are quite wide and it was new, unfamiliar feeling to me.

Finally, it's not about the ladder itself. It's about people who might suddenly and surprisingly get into a stress situation when stepping down, feeling the angle, and realizing the potential risk, therefore becoming unable to stay calm. Some of them not even knowing that there is an alternative path.

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by Nick » 12 Jun 2016, 09:13

My two cents ... although I haven't been to Crete for 3 years, now :cry:

Mike's recounting the couple on Gingilos ... remember the two Poles (I think) who died in Tripiti when they were with a group walking the Samaria Gorge?

On the hillside between Loutro and Anopoli, a walk I used to do just to warm up on my first day in Sfakia, I recall a man died from 'heatstroke' not so long ago.

Simple errors leading to tragedy.

I've walked the Aradhena Gorge several times, BUT I have never attempted the ladders or the stone steps. I just split the walk around the obstacle. Frankly, the steps look horrifying to someone who has problems with heights, even more so than the ladders. It's just as interesting walking the side ravines below the boulders. As a lone walker, I would never attempt to go anywhere that I couldn't get out of.

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by denisc » 12 Jun 2016, 14:03

Re Mike's comments:

We once met a man between Sougia and Tripiti who asked if he was on the right path to Ag. Roumeli. He was armed with a map provided by his car rental company.


Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by Huck » 12 Jun 2016, 16:44

You always read about the few who get run down by a Mac truck. But you never hear a word about the thousands who are actually still alive after having crossed the road...

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by mike » 13 Jun 2016, 09:03

Well, it happens every year after my return from Sfakia, invariably with at least one encounter with hikers who I had to talk out of an ill-considered scheme. It's a frequent topic of discussion among the regulars. Even some local residents are beginning to voice discontent with the cavalier attitude with which some visitors approach the hiking. Apparently, those oft-mounted rescue operations are free of any cost to the victim. In contrast, ski resorts in Austria sell helicopter rescue insurance. Otherwise, you pay the bill. I did suggest that rescue services get into the habit of handing over a bill.

Anyway, it sensitizes me to the etiquette (as it were -- 'responsibility' might be a stronger term to use) of advice-givers. The point for me is that empty reassurances to strangers is not a good idea. Information is what's needed: information about trail options and conditions, information about potential risks, information about safety measures that can be taken. Poor information (eg provided by those silly car rental maps) can be worse than no info at all, as it gives a false sense of security.

Here's another anecdote about Aradena. I was coming down from Ag. Athanasios, intending to enter the gorge and go up the other side. I paused at the spring to watch three hikers (they couldn't see me, as I was above them) - a German couple and a teenage son (?). They were at a narrow section of the gorge, where the paths weaves past a large boulder. However, they paradoxically somehow missed the fact that the path went around the boulder. Both man and boy clambered on top of the boulder and slid down. It was a 3-4 meter drop. This left the woman on top, who was visibly shaking, while they tried to talk her down. She finally lay flat on her stomach, spread her arms and slid down herself. I've twisted an ankle doing less. So, how can you lose the trail on the floor of a gorge, and at a point that was maybe 4 meters wide anyway? Sorry, I don't know the answer to that one.

The personal element is difficult to predict. Back in the day when the Sunflower hiking guide seemed to be the only one around, the coast trail between Loutro and Sfakia had a couple of double-exclamation mark warnings to vertigo sufferers. It was enough to put me off the endeavour for 2-3 years. When curiosity finally got the better of me I headed out to have a look for myself, feeling increasingly nervous as I approached the critical sections. As it turned out, I was so far within my comfort zone that I wasn't sure where the troublesome section was supposed to be.

But never underestimate the effects of vertigo on a true sufferer. I was once sitting by the chapel at the top of the west-side kalderimi at Aradena, and was watching a couple starting a descent on the other side. After about three turns in the descent, the man stopped and the woman continued down. I watched him with my binoculars. He was terrified to the point that he could barely move. He literally flattened himself against the rock face, arms spread, and slid slowly, crab-like, back up the trail. He didn't even dare lift his feet.

Note to Nick: that was a French couple. Both man and wife died .. initially dehydration, resulting in disorientation. Something did happen to one of them, and the other struggled on to find help, lost the trail, etc. One would think, while sitting down at Loutro, with the entire route to the top in plain view, that nothing could ever go wrong. Well, it can. Effects of dehydration can strike quickly, and if a person panics or gets confused, and starts making wrong decisions, anything can happen.

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by Mihalis » 17 Jun 2016, 16:32


this sounds horrible and scary. While I am interested in walking the Aradena gorge, I also don't want to do it if it's not walkable for the average person. I guess I will reconsider and probably not go unless I can find someone experienced who has walked it before to walk with me. Thanks

- Mihalis

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Re: Anopolis/Aradena/Marmara then Loutro

by langsten » 17 Jun 2016, 17:55


Please don't reconsider. The Aradhena gorge is a wonderful place to walk. As Huck suggests, MANY people go down the gorge every day without incident. If you take plenty of water and are sensible, you should have no problem. A couple of weeks ago I walked up the gorge - though only as far as the first exit to Livaniana. (I have walked the full length of the gorge, sometimes up, sometimes down, many times in the past.) In the stretch I walked the other week, I met at least 10 people who had come down from Aradhena and who were enjoying the walk. Some had the appearance of serious walkers. but at least one guy was wearing flip-flops. I think that's a bit crazy - but that's up to him. The point is, he was past all the difficult bits and was trucking happily along.

If you're going down the gorge, I recommend that you use the steps that go up around the bit the with the ladders. You have to be careful because sometimes the rails are not secure. But the path is clear and safe.

Go for it. The gorge is beautiful and the walk is generally very peaceful.


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