The Mili gorge is about an hour away from Panokosmos, south of Rethymnon and makes a great day out. Our Mili gorge adventure takes place in January and there was plenty of evidence of Mother Nature!
We tried it in January 2020, during a dry day, and found a pleasant stream flowing thru. Not sure if this would be the case in summer.
You drive up from the Ethniki (turn off is for Amari) and climb up the side of the valley. Its not a fearsome gorge with high vertical sides, but has lovely greenery and verdant vegetation. In summer the shade will be wonderful, and there are pools to take a dip in on the way down.
See Rethymno from the top, there are two entrances to the gorge. The upper one gives a longer walk along the brook.
These are the steps down from the first entrance.
Unfortunately the winter has taken its toll, and the floods have dislodged several of the wooden bridges, smashed some and forced others into crazy angles.
Its not a big problem though as the stream can be easily crossed by using stepping stones.
There were also some landslips on the way down – at first nothing too onerous, and easy to walk around.
The Water Mills
The gorge once had 30 mills (hence the name). These use to supply all the flour needed in Rethymnon and were active up until 1972. They’ve partially restored one near the top.
Its fun to sort out amongst the ruins how the mills worked (at least it is to a nerd like John!). The water follows a channel (red arrow) leading from above the mill wheel (blue) . It drops 4-5m into a chamber below the wheel, and runs out to the side (yellow).
Along the way there is a spot with three mills one above the other.
See the channels at each level from which the water falls onto the mill wheel, The upper one is bridged over the path, with a charming pointed archway.
There’s a lovely view across the gorge to a little church on the other side.
Mili Gorge Adventure continues…
There are plenty more bridges at crazy angles or smashed to bits.
Lots of seats on the way down, including a lovely picnic area just before Ag Nicolaos church, the sign for the church points a little way off the route.
See again the ramp up to the bridge has been washed away, but you can easily get over the stream using the stones. All seemed to be going well, the path is good, mostly gravel and earth. The crossings of the water, mostly on stepping stones, are easy enough. The landslips, mostly looking a year or two old were manageable.
And then came this!
Obviously very recent – Megan Rumbles had walked the gorge only a week before according to her review on Google, and didn’t mention it. The vegetation had been trapped under the rocks and there were still some ominous cracks in the side of the rock, which rose sheer for 15m or more.
We managed to scramble onto the top of the pile to survey the damage, but just didn’t fancy getting down the other side.
Shame as we could have got to Cantina Banana in less than 20min.
But you will have seen most of the sights by the time you get here.
Still, I suppose they repeatedly warned us on the way down.
Instead we had the hike back up to the entrance – we’re in our 60s and managed it in 40min so it can’t be that bad. And it certainly was a Mili gorge adventure for us!
Map of the Gorge Walk
There’s a good map and description at the entrance to the gorge. On it has been added (in rather faded felt tip) the Cantina and Agios Nicolaos church. We’ve made these a bit clearer on a section of the map shown here, and marked the approximate position of the landslide.
We’ll try to keep an eye on progress on repairing the bridges and opening up a way around the landslide. It certainly won’t be possible to clear the old path, but there is probably a way to be scouted around it. We did have a look but it needs a bit of work to expose it.
Whether or not you decide on Mili Gorge, If you are thinking of a holiday in Crete do take a look at our blogs which show things to do in Crete, whether it be walking a gorge, hiking in the foothills of the White Mountains, or taking a drive to see the sites. Chania is a great town to visit, particularly to go to the street markets, and of course you’ll want to get the benefits of the Cretan diet – be it the yoghurt and cheese, or the olive oil.
And if you’d like to stay with us at Panokosmos we’d be delighted to host you and help you with things to see and do whilst you are on holiday. Get in touch by email or give us a call – our details are on our website.