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 that I have in my mind is to see everything that I planned for the day. Today you will get to know the unique Zaros village and 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 which is 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 big producer of olive oil. The quality is unmeasurable. Cretan food is tasty and flavorful as pretty much everything grows on the island all year round. Even bananas and avocadoes grow in Crete. As one taxi driver mentioned Crete has no shortage of tourists, olive trees, and greenhouses. Thanks to this there is always work in Crete. The island is self-sustaining and flourishing.
From the village, I started walking up to the lake. This can be considered the main attraction in the area. What surprised me was the amount of water on the street and the sound of water everywhere. Zaros is known for its water streams and there is even the water company Zaros bottling water from there across the whole island. Midway are 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 in winter it’s not open. You can walk around the lake and as you walk you will notice a path going up. If you take that road you will get to even more amazing views of the mountain, the gorge, and a hidden monastery.
From Zaros Lake the real hike begins going to the Rouvas Gorge, the monastery, and the oak forest. It’s a journey of around 4h walking both ways. You must wear proper outdoor shoes, have at least 1.5L of water with you 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.
Was already deep into my hike and was wondering where is the Rouvas Gorge. 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 after some rain and snow, the gorge will be back. Maybe if you visit in January or February you will be lucky to find it even more impressive.
Was left in awe when I came across a monastery built in the mountains with no actual road to get to. The monastery is not finished and it seems that it’s been left unfinished for many years now. As I was 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 find yourself surrounded by mountains. They are tall, rugged, abrupt, and pointy. The crazy thing is that part of the path is through these majestic mountains.
Through the first bit of the hike, there was nobody around and I thought I am so incredibly crazy to adventure alone. Until I heard some voices and then 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. Even after I reached the oak forest you could still walk more but I decided to return before it gets dark.
Hope you’ve enjoyed the pictures as much as I’ve enjoyed taking them. It was a great hike and had fun doing what I love the most. Please check my other explorations over at my