When I visit new places, I get on autopilot. I can walk all day to explore and can go even without eating. I’m not a breakfast person anyway. All I have in my mind is to see everything I planned for the day. Today you will get to know the unique Zaros village, and it will make you fall in love with Crete.
I started the day by taking a taxi from Moires to Zaros. It costs 18 EUR, and the ride takes around 25 min. There are no buses. I got off in the center of the village, just a street with 2, or 3 restaurants, a coffee shop, and grocery stores. It’s a chill village at the foothills of Psilorithis mountain. Everyone is busy with everyday life, and the main activity during the winter months is collecting and processing the olives. As you might know, Crete is a significant producer of olive oil. The quality is unmeasurable. Cretan food is tasty and flavorful as almost everything grows on the island all year round. Even bananas and avocadoes grow in Crete. One taxi driver mentioned that Crete is known for tourism, olive trees, and greenhouses. Thanks to this, there is always work in Crete. The island is self-sufficient and flourishing.
From the village, I started walking up to the lake. This can be considered the main attraction in the area. However, what surprised me was the water on the street and the sound of water everywhere. Zaros is known for its water streams; even the water company Zaros is bottling water across the island. Midway you can find two water mills and restaurants where you can eat trout grown there.
In the winter, the lake has a gorgeous autumn vibe, and the many colored trees with the mountain backdrop and the sunset light create a magical atmosphere. It was a perfect time to visit; with just a handful of people around, it felt like it was just me with the gooses. There is a taverna by the lake, but it’s not open in winter. However, you can walk around the lake and notice a path going up. If you take that road, you will get even more amazing views of the mountain, the gorge, and a hidden monastery.
From Zaros Lake, the actual hike begins going to the Rouvas Gorge, the monastery, and the oak forest. It’s a journey of around four hours, walking both ways. You must wear proper outdoor shoes, have at least 2L of water, and have snacks. The path is well-defined, and you won’t get lost. There are markers along the way. I went alone and had no problems.
I was already deep into my hike and wondered where the Rouvas Gorge was. I was expecting a wild and beautiful gorge, but it was all dried out. Not even a drop. This happens due to the hot summers, but the gorge will return after some rain and snow. So maybe if you visit in January or February, you will be lucky to find it even more impressive.
I was left in awe when I came across a monastery built in the mountains with no road to reach. The monastery is not finished, and it’s been left unfinished for many years now. Walking by, I saw a man fixing things around and a monk. By the looks of it, they seem self-sufficient as they grow vegetables and have donkeys and poultry. From the monastery, there is still a long way to go, and as you walk, you will be surrounded by mountains. They are tall, rugged, abrupt, and pointy. The crazy thing is that part of the path is through these majestic mountains.
Nobody was around during the first bit of the hike, and I thought I was so incredibly crazy to adventure alone. Until I heard some voices, I was happy to find other souls around. Solo hiking is not scary, I enjoy it, but it’s a risky thing to do. Honestly, this hike had no end. You could still walk more after I reached the oak forest, but I decided to return before it got dark.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures as much as I’ve enjoyed taking them. It was a great hike, and I enjoyed doing what I love the most. Please check my other explorations over at my