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Crete’s Ghost Village of Aradena Hangs on the Edge of a Gorge

Aradena Crete gorge
The abandoned village sits at the edge of a 138-meters deep gorge. Public Domain

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

The strange but exciting 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 abandoned entirely.

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

Breathtaking view of the Aradena gorge

Aradena Crete gorge
Aradena gorge. Credit: Tango7174 , CC BY-SA 4.0/Wikipedia

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 go bungee jumping on the bridge 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. It is ideal not only for a summer walk but also for a good hiking experience in the Cretan countryside.

Gorge is among the most popular walks in western Crete

The particular gorge 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 the 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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