TREKKING & BIRD WATCHING AT THE PLATANIA GORGE
PETASSOS goes into the steep gorge of Platania in the lush valley of Amari, to seek the birds that has touched Cretans more than any other. It is inviting fellow-travelers to participate in carefully observing the behavior of Vultures’ daily life. Touring their last viable micro-communities is accompanied by exploration of the bird fauna of the island. The trip takes place in the majestic GEOPARK OF PSILORITIS - A GEOLOGICAL HERITAGE OF UNESCO, AN PROTECTED BY NATURA 2000 FOR ITS BIODIVERSITY.
Gorge of Platania, Psiloritis Geopark
In the southwestern foothills of the massif of Psiloritis lies the Gorge of Platania zigzagging uphill through predator’s colonies, impressive landforms and cultural elements of mainland Crete. Platania Gorge has been acknowledged as an outstanding natural site for hikers, wildlife photographers and reasonable travelers.
- The marked, well-preserved path climbs the hillside in a weaving, manner crossing a scenery of unique landforms and great naturalistic, landscaping value at the western boundaries of Psiloritis Geopark.
- Psiloritis Range is the mountainous backbone of Crete with the highest peak of the island at 2.456 m. and has the second largest alpine zone after Lefka Ori on the west.
- All four kinds of native oak trees are represented in the region. Beautiful Valonia and Downy Oak forest (Quercus macrolepis & Quercus pubescens respectively), sprawl themselves from the northern Rethymnon till the steep western slopes of the Psiloritis. Kermes Oak (Quercus coccifera) and Holly Oak (Quercus ilex) trees form clusters and sparse forests in the steep slopes surrounding the gorge.
- The path escalating the gorge is an entrance to the unknown world of birds of prey over ecosystems of inland Rethymnon. Because of a viable livestock economy and the survival of traditional forms of agriculture, the sub mountainous zone is characterized by mosaic habitat, endangered in other areas of the Mediterranean, which offers abundant food for small mammals of Crete, thus “generating” prey for predators and scavengers.
- Crete has some of the biggest worldwide insular populations of big raptors, such as Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus). The vertical eroded walls bordering the marked path are used by a thriving vulture colony and one active territory of Gypaetus barbatus.
INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
- Transfer from/to Heraklion to/from the location of the activity. (Pick up points: Heraklion city, Amoudara, Agia Pelagia, Bali, Rethymnon hotels)
- English speaking mountain Guide with a specialisation in bird-watching and environmental studies
- Booklet adapted to the theme & Maps
- Binoculars, to be shared among the participants.
- Walking sticks (on request)
- Light lunch (picnic in nature with fresh products and local delicacies)
- Bottle of Water
- Personal accident insurance, powed by LLoyd's Insurance company.
- Third party insurance
- All taxes
NOT INCLUDED IN THE PRICE
- Transfer to/from other areas not mentioned above (on request)
- Other personal expenses
Total Distance: 7 Km
Hours: 4 – 5
Elevation gain: approximately 600 m.
Max. Altitude: 950 m.
Min. Altitude: 420 m.
Type: Gorge Trails, Mountains Paths
Difficulty level: 2
Suitable for: Ages over 12 years old (experience required)
Equipment: mountaineering shoes, sunhat, backpack, water, + sticks