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“Fantastic site, needs time”

Vilnius, Lithuania
Level Contributor
48 reviews
29 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 62 helpful votes
“Fantastic site, needs time”
Reviewed 19 July 2014

Visited the site in July 2014 - this is an amazing place combining natural beauty, architectural monuments and Christian history. The path goes from Gouverneto Monastery (which is under reconstruction at the moment, but you can see its yard when the monastery is open) and down the hill. Halfway you see the White Bear Cave (a small ruined chapel built next to a cave). You can ring the bell there. Continue down and you will finally reach the Katholiko Monastery - there is an ancient bridge, a chapel built in the hill, remains of some buildings and a path leading to the sea or to remains of some buildings on the other side of the gorge. You can also see some caves on the side of the mountain, which most probably were used by monks earlier, but they are really very hard to reach (unless you are a professional hiker or you have very good shoes :)) The atmosphere there is really fantastic. We did not take the path down to the lagoon, but went the opposite way, in an attempt (a failed attempt I must say) to reach some other buildings on the side of the hill, which you can see from the Gouverneto hill. Unfortunately, we started out pretty late and had some kids with us, so we only went halfway. The nature in the gorge is fantastic, goats walking along, cicadas singing. Take plenty of water with you.

Visited July 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Bruzhania
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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uk
Level Contributor
42 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 57 helpful votes
“remains of monastery”
Reviewed 10 July 2014

We walked down from gouverneto monastery - took about an hour with a stop to look in the cave. Coming back was about 40 mins. I would think total walk is only 3 miles and only steep when near the deserted monastery. Its in an atnospheric location. Saw some lizards on the way down.

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
Thank pharoahs_revenge
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
fareham
Level Contributor
43 reviews
18 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
“Spiritual”
Reviewed 4 July 2014 via mobile

There are been excellent information before me on reaching thus site-
It is long but not too difficult climb up and bAck although take water as it is quite hot and exposed.
A worthwhile visit and an interesting different view on life!

Visited June 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank Mudgey-me
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
BC, Canada
Level Contributor
124 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 83 helpful votes
“Feels like you are on a film set”
Reviewed 19 June 2014

I believe others before me have written how to get to this fascinating location. The trail is really very well established leading past the front of Gouvernetou Monastery and on down the hillside towards the ocean. While some parts a little uneven it is mostly paved with raw stone. The walk is definitely worth the effort. First one passes the Cave of St.John the Hermit and the remains of some simple shelters. Further down and closer to the ocean are the actual remains of the monastery made up of numerous small caves into the hillside, a larger house which must have served as living quarters and the most remarkable bridge set over a chasm. This arched bridge is wide enough to be made for road traffic, however there is no road and never has been. Leaving the visitor wondering why such a large bridge was built in the first place. We walked on down to the ocean through the valley which the bridge spans. There is no established trail beyond the monastery. The path terminates at a small bay, which was very nice to swim in,even though the sign at the gate to the Gouvernetou Monastery forbids such actions. Noteworthy is the small boat-ramp and shelter hewed into the solid rock which leads up the left side of the bay. It is a little difficult to see unless you walk along the left side of the bay. We really enjoyed our outing to this unique monastery and seaside cove. It was a highlight of our stay in Chania.

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
4 Thank Albatross199
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Givatayim
Level Contributor
131 reviews
59 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
“Gouvernatou To Katholiko Monasteries hike”
Reviewed 11 May 2014

This is how I got to the Katholiko monastery. We started at the Gouvernetou Monastery (presently being renovated). We parked the car at the entrance and walked through the monastery without visiting it. If it is closed go around along the north wall. When you get to the other end you will see a gate existing the monastery walls, there's a small clearing with a memorial and beyond that there is a marked clear path.
A thoroughly enjoyable walk with lots of stairs. You first reach the Αrkoudospilios cave (Bear Cave) you will need a flashlight. After the cave we returned to the path and continued downwards, many more stairs. We eventually reach a complex that begins with the cave of St. John the Hermit (here you will need lights strapped to the forehead to visit inside, you will need both hands free one to hold the lead string and the other to help crawl through small openings), then a small church, followed by the remains of the Katholiko Monastery on a bridge across the Avlaki gorge.
At this point you can choose to return to the parked car or try to find the path descending to the Avlaki gorge and continue along the gorge down to a fjord. I didn't find it and anyway had started a bit late so we decided to return before it was hot. I recommend starting very early, since the path provides a view to the east try and get to Gouvernetou around sunrise and see it from the pathway, that way you are sure to return before it is hot even if you go down to the fjord. In summer it would probably be better to do it in the afternoon depending on the weather and the time the sun sets.
To find the Gouvernetou monastery on Google maps you will have to search for the full name "Moni Kirias ton Aggelon Agiou Ioannou Erimitou Gouvernetou, Chania, Hellas" cahanging to satellite view will allow you to see the pathway almost all the way to the Katholico complex but that's when it vanishes into the shade of the gorge.
The walk from Gouvernatou to Katholiko monasteries and back is about three hours easy walking, The distance is 1.5 km, 3 for there and back but some sections are very steep with many stairs you descend 200 meters along the 1.5 km there and ascend all that on the way back. If you continue to the fjord there's another 100 more meters to descend and climb back.
The path was beautiful with wonderful scenery and since it was still spring full of flowering plants and the smells of Cretan herbs, I thoroughly recommend it.

There is no good link to this hike that I could find. Here are some of the links
Arkoudospilios Cave:
http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-west/EN-Gouverneto-Monastery-Arkoudospilios.html
The Cave of St. John the Hermit:
http://www.cretanbeaches.com/Caves/Chania-Caves/cave-of-agios-ioannis-the-hermit/
Katholiko Monastery:
http://www.explorecrete.com/crete-west/EN-Katholiko-Monastery.html
Avlaki Gorge
http://www.cretanbeaches.com/Gorges/Chania-Gorges/avlaki-or-katholiko-gorge/

Visited May 2014
Helpful?
6 Thank Conram
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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