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 have touched Cretans more than any other. Fellow-travelers will participate in the close observation of the Vultures’ daily life and behavior. The tour in their last viable micro-communities is accompanied by the exploration of the bird fauna of the island.
The trip takes place in the majestic Georpark of Psiloritis - Geological Heritage of UNESCO, 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 explorers and photographers and curious and ethousiastic travelers.
- The marked, well-preserved path climbs up the hillside in a weaving manner, crossing a scenery of unique landforms and great naturalistic, landscape 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 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 ascending the gorge is an entrance to the unknown world of the birds of prey in the 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 the Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), the Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) and the 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.
Total Distance: 7 Km
Elevation gain: approximately 600 m.
Max. Altitude: 950 m.
Min. Altitude: 420 m.
Type: Gorge trails, Mountains paths
Difficulty level: Moderate
Suitable for: Ages over 12 years old (experience required)
Equipment: mountaineering shoes, sunhat, backpack, water, + sticks
The price includes:
- Experienced mountain guide with a specialisation in bird-watching and environmental studies
- Personal accident insurance, powed by Lloyd's Insurance company
- Excursion booklet
- Binoculars, to be shared among the participants
- Walking poles (on request, depending on availability)
- Light lunch in nature
- First Aid kit
- Water (1 lt)
- Third Party Liability
The price does not include:
- Transport from/to your accommodation (upon request)
- Beverages and drinks
- Personal expenses & tips
- Anything not mentioned above