Many years ago, the nearly 2,950ft (ca. 899 m) high Lasithi Plateau was mainly known for its picturesque windmills. After the sails have disappeared at the old windmills and the electricity has taken over the water pumping, on the agriculturally important plateau above just the Zeus cave at Psichro is the tourists’ magnet. In the heat of the high season countless bus tourists arrive here every day.
Not too far away, to the east, by the water reservoirs behind Agios Georgios, is the Havga Canyon. Practically to the entrance of this canyon, you can also drive and park. The canyon ends at the eastern edge of the plateau and is easy to walk in the beginning. Afterwards, however, the high peaks on the southern edge of the Lasithi Plateau can only be reached by experienced climbers.
You can reach the Havga Canyon from Agios Georgios by driving about 1.5 miles (2.5 kilometres) in the direction of the water reservoirs to the south (reservoir for the melt water of the snow-covered peaks).
This is best done by turning left about 165 yards (ca. 151 meters) after the church into a narrow lane with the sign ‘Havga Canyon’. At the next crossroads turn left again, then immediately right and after another 330 yards (ca. 302 meters) turn left onto a gravel road. Shortly after, turn right again and follow the small, brown signs to one of the fenced, large water collection basins.
Now you drive along the fence and at the end of the basin you keep left. About 1,100 yards (ca. 1,006 m) further on, turn right in front of a vineyard and shortly thereafter park your car in front of a weir at the entrance to the canyon.
The difference in altitude in the easily walkable section of the Havga canyon is only 55 yards (ca. 50 meters) and for the ascent and descent one hour and 30 minutes can be scheduled.
In spring, when the stream carries the meltwater to the reservoir, you should allow about two hours and it is advisable to wear waterproof hiking boots, as you often have to cross the stream over stones or boulders lying in it.
From the car park at the weir, we walk through a metal gate on a gravel road in the direction of the Havga canyon entrance. This still well-navigable path ends at a small enclosure for goats and other farm animals, and now there is only one path that leads further into the gorge.
In the middle of the ravine bed, a large rock protrudes with a yellow arrow, which indicates the direction of the march. There are further signs on the edge of the path, where several times the side of the dried stream bed with pebbles is changed.
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After twenty to thirty minutes, you will reach a fork at a height of just over 2,950ft (ca. 899 meters). To the right is a path marked to the chapel Timos Statvros. The canyon continues to run around the creek bed and after a light accumulation of Cretan maple and holm oak you must now march on inside the creek bed.
At 3,028ft (ca. 923 meters) you reach a massive wall of huge boulders. In the centre, these can easily be climbed over, but then the area is no longer frequented by people and is therefore very impassable.
Therefore, it is recommended to stop at this point in the hike and reverse.
Directions to Havga Canyon
Link to map with directions:
Click here: Directions Havga Canyon.