If you ask tourists in the small artist town of Paleochora whether they know Azogires, there are only two possible answers.
No, I’ve never heard that before.
Yes, of course! Lucky is a very funny guy and the landscape and the waterfall. A real paradise.
This, or something like this, are the answers of all people who have visited Azogires. Because once you’ve been to the small village, it rarely lets you go. And Lucky? It’s the same with him.
Actually the friendly young man is called Eftihi and is like everyone here busy with his olive trees, sheep and goat and in the summer also with guests in his tavern and his pension, the whole year long. Nevertheless, or because of it, it is almost impossible to meet him without a smile on his face.
But what makes him so special for us is his ability to spread magic. That makes him and his village a perfect couple. Because in Azogires there have always been many magical and mystical stories and Lucky knows how to tell them. That’s why Azogires gets the predicate: You have to experience it, cause it’s impossible to describe.
But what I can tell you is that there’s a wonderful path to Azogires that sprays a little more magic with every step it takes towards the little village. And now it’s time to start.
Let’s go to Azogires, the place full of mystic and magic.
There are two possible starting points, which lead us over varied landscapes to the small village. From Paleochora we follow the tracks of the E4 towards Anidri beach and from there we turn left into the gorge to Anidri. The entrance to the gorge is not clearly marked, but the attentive adventurer will discover it.
The path through the gorge leads through a dry and very well marked riverbed, over stones and small rocks between which a few oleanders can be seen at the beginning and with increasing ascent the holm oaks, plane trees, olive and fruit trees decorate the landscape. Due to the heavy rain this winter, the riverbed still has a small waterflow, which makes the hike even more impressive for me.
After about a third of the way up the gorge, there is a rock that has to be climbed. A special rope stair makes it easy for the two-legged to overcome the rock. Who goes hiking with dogs, has either the luck that they have a bit of mountain goat blood in their veins, or the strength to carry them. Wakan belongs to the mountain goat type and of course has long arrived at the rock when I set my foot on the first step of the rope stairs. I anyway don’t believe any more that we are the crown of creation, so it’s no problem.
The ascent to the village of Anidri is pretty easy. You walk about an altitude of 300 unnoticed meters up to the village. At the exit of the gorge, keep right to reach the village.
Those who catch the right time now can make a stop at the local Cafénion Sto Scolio. I highly recommend it. So far I was always convinced of the complete package, which for me includes the service and the atmosphere.
If you want to continue directly, leave the Cafenion on your right and follow the road to the next crossroad, where you turn left. And now it’s a bit uphill until the magical section begins. When I reach the last marker to Azogires, I always feel like Alice in Wonderland. I am curious how you will feel.
The path leads alongside a garden, surrounded by trees and bushes, up to the first gate, behind which there is a good place for a break. One last time before reaching Azogires you can enjoy the view to the sea. After the second gate we continue along the mountainside through enchanting landscapes with red earth, different rocks, numerous herbs and wondrous trees. Passing an old settlement, climbing over rocks down to a mossy forest and always in front of our eyes our destination: Azogires.
It is always breathtaking to see that the landscape can change completely in such short distances. The hike from Anidri village to Azogires is about 5 km and I walk through four completely different landscapes.
A salut for nature is unavoidable here. And already we get closer to civilization again. The first signs welcome us to tell us how to get to Azogires. And the first thing we meet is the old school of the village. A place of amazement was probably also a good place to learn. At the front of the school it only takes one step, and you can see the sea again, surrounded by mountains and glistening in the sun. I could sit here forever, but there is still a whole village waiting for me.
Not far from the school is the monastery of the 99 holy fathers. Surrounded by a mighty rock face, it shines like a beacon, whose power fascinates me as much as it frightens me.
I have heard the history of this monastery only after a few visits and now know why I associate this contrast with it. I sit in the monastery courtyard and hear the river rushing.
Thanks to the ‘rain of the century’ in winter, it is deafening and completely filled with mountain water. A spectacle. And again, something you must have seen, because there is no way to describe it adequately.
The only one who can adequately describe this village is Lucky. It’s like the voice of the village comes alive through him. He takes everyone who listens to him on a journey through time.
Back to St. John the Hermit, to the 99 holy fathers, to the history of the olive trees and the old days of the Cretan agriculture. He gives insights into the old time and the way from there to today’s busyness. And he is never at a loss for a joke about evil mothers-in-law. Here, too, he is the only one who manages to make all the mothers-in-law who know him laugh with him.
And so I walk from the monastery the way to the waterfall at the end of the village. Today I pass many waterfalls until I reach the one that attracts visitors in summer. Because Azogires is one of the few places where the river carries water all year round.
And the plentifulness of water can be seen in the rich green nature here. It blooms at every corner, the trees have new branches, and it hums and hums in every bush.
The ‘real’ waterfall of Azogires, compared to its new colleagues, does today not seem quite like the miracle it is in summer. But the way to him is therefore not to surpass in miracles. Maybe that’s why Lucky got his name. Because he never stopped being happy about the wonders of his village.
I could still go to his traditional café and enjoy a freshly squeezed orange juice. But I choose the company of trees, the river and its waterfalls. And after a while I go home again.
There are places on Crete that I rarely visit, and where I take people even less often. Not because the places have no magic, but because their magic lies in forget. Nobody remembers these places and when you find them, it’s for a reason.
With Azogires, it’s the other way around. The place is designed to receive visitors from all over the world, but its stories would be forgotten if Lucky didn’t exist. I hope you are now unspeakably curious and want to learn more about the mythology and wonders of Azogires.
Lucky’s guidance through the place and the time is an integral part of our daytrips. Because who was in the southwest of Crete must know Azogires;)
Details of the hike
16 km distance, 350 m altitude, 6 hrs hiking time