This daytrip tip is an amazing scenic drive through and over the mountains to the beautiful Agios Antonios Gorge, with a 2km circular, passed the Amari Dam and Reservoir and through the stunning Amari Valley, with Mount Psilorits (highest mountain on Crete with its 2456 meters) as a backdrop. On the way back you pass the mountain village of Spili and the abandoned village of Mixorrouma.
Part 1: Plakias - Agios Antonios Gorge
You drive from Plakias towards Rethymno through the Kourtaliotis Gorge. Immediately after you exit the gorge you take a right turn towards Frati. In the village you follow the sign for Spili. Turn right when you get to the village of Mixorrouma on the main road. After 200 meters you take the left turn towards Karines/Lampini. In the village of Lampini you will pass a beautiful old Byzantine church on your right. You follow the signs for Patsos and Agios Antonios Gorge. There is a small parking at the entrance.
Agios Antonios Gorge
Breath taking gorge in very green surroundings, with a short 2km circular path. In the gorge you will find the charming little cavernous church of Saint Anthony build against the rocks, a few wooden bridges and a high viewpoint. At the start is a big taverna. No entrance fee (2019)
Part 2: Agios Antonios Gorge - Amari Dam - Amari Valley - Spili
When you drive back from the gorge entrance turn right on the main road towards Rethymno. After 4.5km turn right towards the barrier lake/reservoir and to and over the Amari Dam. From here you will drive through the Amari Valley and through the mountains to Spili, via Agia Fotini, Meronas, Karadaki and Gerakari. On the way to Gerakari you pass a beautiful old Byzantine church on your right. When you get to the main road turn left and you enter Spili. There is a big parking on your right hand.
Spili is a picturesque mountain village which is famous for the small lionhead water fountains you will find in the centre of town, surrounded by cafes and tavernas.
One of the souvenirs shops is famous for its wide selection of herbs, ointments, honey and chemical free soap with the smell of everything from chocolate to lemon.
Part 3: Spili - Plakias
On the way back from Spili to Plakias you pass the village of Mixorrouma. Take a left turn, just after a bakery to have a look at the abandoned village of Old Mixorrouma. Park your car at the old washing place and take the road left of the washing place to the abandoned village.
Along the Kissanos river you will find this abandoned village, one of the many abandoned villages on Crete. It has a real particular feel over it, walking through the old streets, surrounded by abandoned houses which are slowly taken over by nature. The church is still in use and a few ruins are being renovated.
From here it's back to Plakias.
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