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Crete’s Ghost Village Hanging on the Edge of a Gorge

Crete's Ghost village
Photo credit: Youtube/Vagelis Kolokotronis flypath

Aradena is an abandoned village in the region of Sfakia on the island of Crete, which attracts thousands of visitors every year, despite being on the very edge of a gorge.

The strange but interesting story of the village of Aradena goes back centuries.

People from the area say that the village once had more than 700 permanent inhabitants.
However, the settlement gradually declined and by the 1950s it was completely abandoned.

Crete's ghost village
Photo credit: Youtube/Vagelis Kolokotronis flypath

What is left of the once-thriving village are the deserted houses next to the cliff of the southern slopes of the White Mountains (Leuka Ori).

Breathtaking view of the gorge

Thousands of tourists and visitors arrive to admire the breathtaking view of the gorge that extends right next to the village and can be accessed through Mamara Beach.

People can even do bungee jumping from the bridge that has been constructed there.

The village of Aradena gives us an idea of traditional Cretan architecture, which has managed to remain almost intact since the area was abandoned decades ago.

The gorge itself is 138-meters deep and it is ideal not only for a summer walk but also for a proper hiking experience in the Cretan countryside.

It is one of the more popular gorge walks in western Crete so you won’t be entirely on your own but it is much quieter than Samaria, Imbros or Agia Irini.

Even though the walk is not that long (2½ to 3 hours of walking time for the Aradena village to Marmara section or vice versa) it is a little more difficult than some of the better known gorges and it is not recommended for people without any walking experience.

Many passages require a good deal of sure-footedness (especially if you are walking downwards) and a head for heights.

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