Kouroupa, Rethymno, Greece
Kourtaliotiko Gorge 45 minutes by car.
The main road from Mixorouma direction Plakias and Preveli leads through an impressive gorge where it usually is very windy. The Kourtaliotiko Gorge (Greek: Κουρταλιώτικο Φαράγγι), also known as the Asomatos Gorge (Greek: Φαράγγι Ασώματου), is a gorge on the southern side of the western part of the island of Crete. It is situated where the Kourtaliotiko River flows southwards between the mountains of Kouroupa and Xiron.
The village of Koxare is at the northern end of the gorge. A road runs north to south through the gorge connecting Koxare to Asomatos; it then leads west, to the town of Plakias on the southern coast of Crete.
There is a specific point on the gorge, about 20 metres from the northern entrance where "claps" can be heard, like hands coming together. These "claps" are the "kourtala", that give the name to the gorge.
These are a consequence of the wind being funnelled through the high caves of the gorge and breaking the sound barrier. The point near the northern entrance is the main point where this sound can be heard.
You can park in the middle and have a walk to find out and have your hat blown away.
Rethymnon has a most spectacular natural attraction with its Kourtaliotiko Gorge. It starts just after the village of Koxare and flows between the mountains Kouroupis (984 m) and Xiro Oros (Dry Mountain - 904m). The huge cliffs of the canyon reach a height of 600 meters and are full of openings and caves, where significant fauna species live like the Lammergeier vulture. The canyon is crossed by the Kourtaliotis River which flows up to Lake Preveli, after merging with Frati Gorge. In its latest part it is called Big River.
If you want to visit the Agios Nikolaos church deep down in the gorge, you can park at the south end and walk down in ten minutes. The springs of Kourtaliotis, near the chapel, are one of the nicest attractions of the gorge. It is a wonderful gorge for trekking along its riverbed, while playing with water.
To walk this paradise like riverbed with waterfalls it’s best to go from the bottom of the gorge where the road turns west to Asomatos.