Hi everyone! My name is Helen and I love exploring Crete, running and hiking in the mountains and on the trails. I am excited to share with you some of my favourite routes for running and hiking in Crete 🙂
Located just 10km from Chania, the Monastery of Agia Kiriaki in Varipetro is a hidden gem nestled in a beautiful gorge, surrounded by a protected grove with a river and several cavernous churches accessible through stone-paved trails.
The ecosystem here is very rich and unique, with thoughtful labels identifying the flora and fauna along the way.
The best way to discover the monastery and its surrounding area is to start from the Agia Kiriaki church. Here you can park your car (or bicycle!) and take a walk across the valley, following the little paths that lead to the tiny churches in caves, and eventually ascending straight to the monastery.
To properly explore the area, make sure to devote at least 1-2 hours and I would highly recommend bringing a picnic or at least some snacks. The trail involves a lot of steps, so make sure you have plenty of water and are wearing comfortable shoes. You’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the surrounding gorge and the monastery itself.
The monastery is open for visitors on the weekends, and you can explore its rich history. It was first built in the 17th century and served as a haven from the Turkish invaders in the 19th century. It eventually fell into ruin but was renovated in the 90s, bringing it back to its former glory. Within the walls of the monastery, you’ll find the chapel and its peaceful surroundings. Currently, 12 nuns call the monastery home, and the complex has been owned by the nearby monastery Chrysopigi since 1637.
Around the monastery, there is a beautiful garden with various fruit trees, making it a serene spot to take a break and soak in the scenery. If the walk didn’t tire you up, you can also check out the ruins of the Byzantine castle situated right above the monastery.
Overall, the Agia Kiriaki Monastery trail offers a combination of history, nature, and breathtaking views that make it well worth the visit. It’s a short but sweet hike suitable for all levels,and a great destination for families.
It is also from the monastery that hardcore hikers will find the trail that leads all the way up to Theriso village and can be found on Avenza maps