Gorge of Mili
Multimedia Map Description

How to get

Discover Crete’s natural wonders at Gorge of Mili, a popular destination ranging from 4.5 to 14 km. Immerse yourself in Greece’s lush vegetation and explore the remnants of a village abandoned in 1972. Along the trail, encounter streams, waterfalls, and hidden spots ideal for photography. Ideal for both a physical challenge and a serene escape, Gorge of Mili offers a slice of tranquility away from city life.

In the heart of a botanical paradise, the treetops rustle, streams hiss, lizards rustle among the bushes, and the air seems filled with the songs of Greece’s avian population. It’s tempting to sit and soak in this natural orchestra all day long. But there’s much more to explore ahead. Near the tiny village of Xiro Chorio lies one of the entrances to Gorge of Mili. There, the coolness of the evergreen forests and towering cliffs immediately greets you.

As you enter, a citrusy scent greets your senses, reminiscent of tangerines. Fruit and citrus trees line the entrance, tempting some travelers to pluck oranges or lemons along the way. Further on, a gentle stream can be crossed with care due to slippery stones underfoot. This spot offers not only a view of the lush plant life but also a glimpse into history with the abandoned structures of Pano Mili, the «upper mills,» and Kato Mili, or «lower mills,» deserted since 1972.

Discovered in the mid-17th century, this region was once favored by the Ottomans. However, its challenging location led to an eventual exodus towards more accessible areas. The looming cliffs and landslide threats contributed to the departure. On your tour, you’ll witness remnants of ancient water mills which, until the mid-20th century, were the community’s source of flour. Now, only a single water mill remains, serving as a demonstration for visitors.

The remnants of ancient buildings, including numerous sacred sites, indicate that this area was once bustling with activity. The impressive array of holy places to explore includes:

— The underground churches of St. Anthony and St. John.

— The graveyard church dedicated to the Five Virgin Martyrs of the Mother of God.

— The cave chapels of St. Paraskevi and St. Nicholas.

In the midst of ancient ruins, an eerie sensation often emerges. Doors still hang on their hinges in certain building gaps, while some walls retain intact window frames. Yet, the majority of these structures have long been reclaimed by the elements. To avoid nature’s harsher side, it’s wise to steer clear of the canyon during winter storms or blustery days. Conversely, on a bright, hot day, you might enjoy a dip in the small lakes or find respite by the waterfalls.

Navigational Tips

Upon entering the gorge area, you’ll find a display with all the key points of interest along the path. Snap a picture of this board to help you stay on track during your hike. This will also provide you with some extra intriguing details about the Gorge of Mili. A once-abandoned village building within this area has been transformed into a charming tavern, offering a taste of local flavor and delightful cuisine.

Close to Xiro Chorio village lies the scenic Gorge of Mili, about 7 km south of Rethymno and just 2 km north of Chromonastiri or Roussospiti. Public buses don’t serve this attraction, so your best options are a private vehicle, including motorbikes or scooters, or hailing a cab from nearby towns.


  • Wear sturdy sneakers with good grip for the hike.
  • Even on warm days, the canyon can be cooler. Don’t forget a light jacket.
  • If you’re exploring independently, consider a canyon picnic. Remember to pack food and drinks, but water is a must-have regardless.
  • Expect to spend around four hours on the trail.
  • Avoid winter visits; the path can be treacherous. Opt for sunny summer days for a safe experience.
  • If you’re intrigued by local history and enjoy sampling regional delicacies, consider stopping by the charming cafe located not far from the canyon. It’s a perfect spot to immerse yourself in the lifestyle of the area’s inhabitants from the days gone by.
  • Individuals with musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, or respiratory conditions are advised to refrain from taking a stroll in this region for their own safety.
  • Please note that cycling up the canyon is strictly prohibited to prevent accidents and preserve the natural environment.
  • Parents should be aware that this trail is not suitable for young children due to the high risk of injury.