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Aradaina, the largest of the 17 gorges of the wider area, is located 85km south of Chania. It is 15 km long and starts from the Drakolaki cave located at the roots of the peak Thodoris of the White Mountains.

 The most popular entrance to the gorge is located about halfway along the route, at the village of Aradaina. The village (altitude 520m) is accessible from Chora Sfakion by car and it is only 8 km away.  There is a metal bridge in Aradaina village and on the right side of it, a stone-built path descends into the gorge. The 5.5 km route to the sea is of a moderate degree of difficulty and requires 3 hours of hiking.

 The route goes from north to south and always in summer when the bottom is dry. However, in the winter, it turns into a rushing river and this is when a visit requires caution. There have been many landslides so many detours have been made in the river bed. The walls of the canyon are of amazing beauty with plenty of greenery. In many places there are wicks, pines and thymes and therefore many bees in the summer. In some places, iron stairs have been installed and also there are cobblestones that make the journey easier. The path is marked and there is no chance of making a mistake with the destination to Marmara beach, where the gorge ends.

 Marmara is a magical beach with clear blue waters, pebbles and caves. Τhe beach meets the E4 European path which connects Agia Roumeli with Loutro. The return to Sfakia can be done by water taxi or boat. In the summer there are daily sailing routes and they cost around 5 euros. The more adventurous can hike for 60 more minutes to Lykos, the nearest settlement, or Loutro, which is 75 minutes away.

The metal bridge of Aradaina, 138 meters high, was built in 1986 and connects the villages of western Sfakia with Sfakia itself. It is the highest bungee jumping bridge in Greece and the second in Europe. This makes it very popular for bungee jumping fans. In the middle of the bridge there is a platform where certified instructors make sure the jumps are safe for everyone. No experience, special clothing or equipment is needed. Reservations can be made online and the cost is around 100 euros.

( more articles about Crete on www.gomega.gr)