Excursion to Omalos and to the archaeological site
One of the most beautiful mountainous landscapes of south - east Crete is the plateau of Omalos in Viannos, which is located at the foot of the summit Afentis Christos of mount Dikti.
In order to visit Omalos you will have to use a dirt road that starts at the village of Kato Symi or follow other alternative routes, either from Ano Viannos or from the village Miliarades near Emparos. The route is bewithing: you will go through the nearly deserted village of Ano Symi, you will enter a magical pinewood and as you go up, the view that is gradually revealing will amaze you.
During this route, you will come across the archaeological site of the sanctuary of Hermes and Aphrodite, in a place called Krya Vrysi. It is one of the most significant sanctuaries of ancient times, which operated constantly for about 2.700 years.
Then, you reach the plateau of Small Omalos, which is not widely known, but to the locals or the nature lovers∙, it is often confused with the plateau of Omalos in Chania.
Omalos is an exquisite place, of incredible natural beauty, which is worth visiting, combining it with a short day trip to the gorges of the area or to small traditional villages. From Omalos in Viannos you can find various trekking trails for those who wish to wander in nature and enjoy unique landscapes.
The plateau of Omalos is a landscape that rewards you due to the extraordinary composition of colours and aromas.
Visit to the Heroes Monument and to the Historical and Folklore Museum.
At the location of Seli in the village Amira of Viannos, you can find the Heroes Monument of Viannos, which is dedicated to the execution of civilians by the German occupation troops during the Second World War. It was erected on 24th May 1966. Every year a memorial service takes place in honour of the victims of this atrocity, while since 2016 a museum has been operating dedicated to this tragic event, aiming to the emergence of documents and evidence related to the holocaust of Viannos.
During your visit to Seli you will have the chance to visit the Historical and Folklore Museum of Viannos, with the help of a tour guide. The aforementioned museum was founded in 1996 and contains significant exhibits.
You can see agricultural equipment and professions of past years, which belong to the preindustrial era. Moreover, in the museum there are small pieces of furniture and samples of weaving. Finally, in the historical section there are photos, coins and ammunition from the Second World War.
A significant part of the museum is the section dedicated to the author Ioannis Kondylakis who was born in Viannos.
The gorge of Arvi
There are a lot of places in Crete which can captivate you with their unparalleled beauty, but relatively few are those which are characterized as “miracles”. One of these is the gorge of Arvi, where there was the sanctuary of Arvios Zeus. This gorge together with the gorge of Ha are of the most beautiful in Crete.
In order to go through it you will need special equipment canyoning, because during the majority of the months in the gorge there are small mountain streams with a lot of water that make your tour even more exciting.
However, going through the gorge is not a walk in the park∙ you need to be very careful. Its beginning is at the pinewood, which starts from the location Konisma and narrows down to the location of Fournos. In the middle, there is a terrific waterfall, which is called Kapnistis, because the falling water scatters around like smoke. Kapnistis is a very impressive waterfall. The river comes into the land for 150 metres and forms a cave. There, you can find V-shaped rocks, which you pass and you end up in the lowland of Arvi.
The region, which expands from the exit of the gorge, bears the lousy name “The donkey’s bottom”. At this point, in ancient times there was a rich source of water that dried out because of the continuous drilling for water suitable for irrigation. Apart from this, the gorge is a dangerous place, which can be crossed only by people who are experienced in abseiling.
Symi – the village with the waterfall
The village Symi in the province of Viannos, is one of the most beautiful villages in Crete. This and the village Ano Symi are at the beginning of the most important pinewood of the island, where thousands of bee-keepers produce honey.
All the region is full of springs where plenty of water, coming from the slopes of mount Dikti, flows and waters the plane trees, the cherry trees, the walnut trees and all sorts of trees and plants growing in the area. Depending on the season, the vegetation changes colours, making, thus, the landscape dreamy.
Visitors of the area can, apart from enjoying the colours and aromas, have the chance to admire the small waterfalls that are formed and wander in the big wood located in the village and go to the prominent milk-made church, which has been built with the milk of animals and not with water.
Tour from the beach of Tsoutsouras to Maridaki
It is a very beautiful walk, of nature-loving interest, which ends to a unique beach called Maridaki. Maridaki is a seaside settlement, to the west of Tsoutsouras. Access to Maridaki can be made from a path in Tsoutsouras. It takes 20 minutes to get to Maridaki from Tsoutsouras. The only thing you need is a pair of trainers and a bottle of water. In Maridaki you can enjoy your coffee at the local cafés or enjoy your meal in the small, picturesque taverns. The beach, is ideal for swimming.
Climbing the gorge of Myrtos
The gorge of Sarakina in the village Myrtos owes its existence, according to the ancient Greek mythology, to the Giant Sarantapicho∙ he leaned over to drink water from the river Kriyio and his beard tore the mountain in half and that’s how the gorge was formed. Kriyios river that flows through the gorge flows out to the seaside village Myrtos. The name Sarakina comes from the Saracens, which is a name often used for locations in Crete.
It is believed that it is most beautiful trekking gorge in Crete. It extends 1,5 km and in this short route the visitor will come across the terrific miracle of the Cretan nature. The walls of the gorge are very impressive; reaching a height of 150 metres∙ in general, special equipment is necessary for anybody who wishes to cross it.
In the gorge of Sarakina there is a great quantity of flowing water all year round, which forms amazingly beautiful waterfalls and a lot of ponds where one can swim during the summer months. In winter, one may cross the gorge but the quantity of water is big and may get wet. It takes about an hour to cross the gorge, going through very narrow points and natural bridges. There are hewn steps to tread on. At the most difficult point of the gorge a big tree trunk has been placed so that hikers can pass with safety. They only thing you will need is a pair of trainers and a bottle of water.
Finally, for those who wish to tour the beautiful, magical gorges of the area there is the possibility of an instructor who comes every April and organizes abseiling up until October.