Agiofarago is a very famous area in south of Crete, Heraklion. The place is majestic, the beach is very beautiful, the whole area is one of the most attractive on the south part of Crete.
Where is Agiofarago Canyon and Beach?
“Agiofarano” is located south of the Odigitria Monastery and was created by the beds of two streams, one of which starts north-northeast from Gyalomonochoro and the other northeast from Odegetria. The two streams meet near Agia Kyriaki and after following a relatively smooth route west and south of the church of Ag. Antonios. . Agiofarago is located in the western Asterousia Mountains, south east of Matala and west of Kali Limenes in the prefecture of Heraklion.
“Agiofarago” begins, and end up in the Libyan sea where a small but wonderful beach stretches out. Before reaching the sea, there is a climbing field and it is common to see some climbers. Apart from its historical value, the gorge hosts many endemic and rare plants of the Crete as well as species of birds.
Getting to Agiofarago Canyon and exit to the Beach by Car
Agiofarago is in an abandoned area, it is not very easy to access the beach, first drive with a rental car towards Messara, pass Sivas and then all the way to the Monastery of Odigitria, after you will have to drive a part OFF road and a ordinary vehicle cannot make it. If you plan NOT TO WALK but drive-take in consideration an off road car is needed jeep that can do the off road safe, donot drive using an ordinary vehicle or even an SUV or crossover.
If you decide to do the walking through Agiofarago, it take between 20-50min, depending on how fast you walk. Bottles of water and food is needed while visiting the place. Make sure when Parking the car at the dead end to be in a safe place, far from trees as goats jump on cars and may scratch the car body exterior!
What visitors usually do in the place Agiofarago
On Sundays, they enter the gorge from where the main gorge, In the longest route of the canyon, huge vertical rocks rise to the right and left, in which there are many caves. Agiofarago is very picturesque and is made even more picturesque by the fact that you can only go through it on foot, as the place is isolated, wild and rugged.
All this together with the fact that it is located very far from inhabited places made Agiofarago the first center of ascetic life not only in the region but in the whole of Crete, from the very first Christian years. Besides, the very name of the location conveys better than any description the sanctity of the place. The sea is beautiful but is dangerous too. Do not swim far from the beach, the waters of Libyan sea are not safe, many people have lost the direction and some lost their lives at this stunning beach!
Saint Anthony-Agios Antonios church in Agiofarago
Descending the gorge and about 250 meters before reaching the beach is the church of Agios Antonios, which was also the center of asceticism in the area, since all the rituals of Christian worship must have taken place there.
The church of Agios Antonios is believed to have been renovated three times in past. At first it was a small church in a small cave in the rock, but as the years passed and the number of ascetics grew, a bigger church was needed to be built, so they have finally build a larger one. For the third and last time it was renovated or enlarged during the 14th or 15th century and is thus preserved to this day.
Agios Antonios church is an excellent technical architecture and had frescoes but due to its proximity to the sea the frescoes were destroyed. Outside the church there is a well from which the ascetics used to get their water since there is no spring nearby.
South of the church, on a small hill, was found a circular vaulted Minoan tomb that shows the human presence from the Minoan era. An area that Minoans were living thousands of years ago. The island was an attract to those who were living that place, the beauty and the location were ideal to hide from civilization!
Saint Anthonios Church
Finally, going down from the Church of Agios Antonios towards the sea on the left side and at a short distance from the church there is the “Goumenospilios”, a cave place that it’s name shows it was used from Monks-“The cave of Monk”.
Place to stay close by Agiofarago
Matala bay hotel is located in Matala, In the fascinating Matala, in the southern side of Crete, the Matala Bay hotel is located, waiting for all of you who looking for the ideal destination for your next holidays. Tel. +30 28920 45300
Armonia is a small, pretty, family run hotel situated on the periphery of Matala on the south coast of Crete in a calm area with a wonderful view of the surrounding mountains and the valley of Matala. Tel.(+30) 28920 45735
When is the best season to visit Agiofarago
The best time to visit Agiofarago is summer, the waters are warm and the climate hot! Locals swim in the winter time, as the area is south and the climate is exceeding the 20 degrees day time in the winter! So, all seasons are possible to do the hiking and visiting this magnificent picturesque place of island Crete!