The canyon of the Dead in Kato Zakros is the final part of the European trail E4, that starts in Portugal and crosses Europe. It’s a canyon of great archeological value, easy to traverse – even for beginners -, that ends up in the archeological site of Kato Zakros and its wonderful beach.
Its name is attributed to the ancient Minoan inhabitants of Kato Zakros’ custom of burying their dead in the caverns that lie on the vertical walls of the canyon, risking their own life in the process. In the dozens of caverns inside the canyon, apart from skeletons, other objects of archeological interest were found.
The route begins approximately 4 kilometers after Ano Zakros, on the road towards Kato Zakros. Signs and a large parking space are available, so you won’t have trouble finding it. Just follow the descending dirt road.
The route is more or less 2 hours from one end to the other. During your walk, you will not find a single water tap, so make sure to bring along water. The stream that runs through the bottom of the canyon is completely dried out during the summer, so it won’t be hard to traverse. Just follow it. Throughout your walk, you will come across different kinds of birds and goats. Be wary of vipers! There are a lot of them inCreteand it’s possible to come across one. Watch your steps.
The canyon of the Dead is reachable by bus from Sitia towards Ano Zakros (38km, 1 hour), or by rented car. Routes are available daily. The last return bus leaves at 16:00 from Ano Zakros. If you get here by har, you can park it in the spacious parking lot at the entrance of the canyon and return by bus from Kato Zakros, to the beginning.