Crete's Perivolakia Gorge

At least a few years ago, the area in southeastern Crete where this gorge is located was little known and very unspoiled. At its mouth is the Moni Kapsa monastery.

The gorge has good flora, though there are other gorges which have better, though there is a hasmophyte here which is endemic.

Other plants include Cretan sainfoin, Cretan cabbage, other hasmophytes, and a relative of Jersusalem sage. Green toads breed in the gorge, and endemic orchidthere are various kinds of butterflies; blue rock thrushes, chukars, house martins, and crag martins are among the birds seen on the cliffs here.

Access is both from the south coast road to the monastery, where the gorge bottom is within easy reach; access higher up is from the small village of Kato Pervolakia.

Another little visited place just a few kilometers inland (on foot, though much farther by road) is the ruined hilltop town of Voila, which is above the town of Handhras.

The ruins are Venetian, and with wonderful views, flowers and wildlife. Flowers include crown anemones, grape hyacinths, and several kinds of orchids, including one endemic species.

Cretan arum, which is one of the most beautiful of the arums, and which has yellow spathes, grows here in rocky grassland.

There is a spring at the south end of the village with tree frogs.

Bird watching is excellent here, with many passing birds, such as flycatchers, shrikes, golden orioles, warblers, common and black redstart; resident birds include hoopoes, corn buntings, and subalpine warblers. Seen in the air are buzzards and ravens, migrating grey herons, and now and then an eagle.