The Archaniotiko or Knosano Gorge is one of the most interesting trails of the Archanes area and has a total distance of 5,5 km. To cross it is easy, takes about 3 hours of hiking, asit is an asphalted gorge engraved with a special marking.
The Gorge, is also known with the name, “Paradisi”, because of a strange cave in the middle of which, there is a stalactite that joins with a stalagmite forming a small hole. Tradition says, that this is the gate to paradise, and whoever manages to pass without cursing, wins eternal life. Formerly, along the gorge were several watermills, as well as a large stone that stood in a side position called “The amada of Sarantapichos”. According to tradition, a mythical giant, the socalled “Sarantapichos”, had thrown it from the top of the Mount Yiouchtas.
The Gorge starts from Archanes, being a natural continuation of Mount Yiouchtas extending to the south of Archanes and running down the settlement of “Kato Mylos”, from where its part begins to be known as the “Sylamiano Gorge”.
It is a Gorge of exceptional beauty with smooth rocks and huge plane trees, as well as having access to a car with the road passing through it.
Continuing, the gorge passes through the Myristi area under Giouchta, reaching a wonderful water bridge called Karydakiani. Next to the water bridge and among tall cypress trees, there is the ruined picturesque church of Panagia Kardiotissa. Inside the gorge and south of the bridge forms a unique cascade. In the Gorge, there is a total of 120 species of plants. Two species of migratory birds found in the canyon are the flycatchers and the grouse. There are also jackdaws and some rock dwelling species, such as the blue blackbird.
As you are going forward, and the road passes through the gorge, you will meet the water bridge of Agia Irini in Spilia, which continues north through Knossos. The whole area of the gorge has been described as a site of special natural beauty and has been included in the Natura 2000 network.
Ending your hiking, you will reach the village of Sylamos, where you can relax and taste the local delicacies in small traditional taverns.