The gorge of Agios Antonios is a small yet magnificent gorge, which begins at Ano Assites. It is 2 kilometres long and the elevation difference between the entrance and the outlet is no more than 200 metres.
In the gorge one can see rare species of flora and fauna, which are protected by European legislation. In particular, there are 80 species of flora, of which 4 are protected, 24 species of fauna, of which 11 are protected, and 16 species of birds, of which 8 are protected.
A cave 100 metres deep is also to be found in the area; two bat species nest in it, and they also protected by a European Union Directive. Α chapel of Agios Antonios can be seen at the cave entrance.
The impressive gorge of Agios Antonios—also known as Patsos Gorge—is in the midland of the regional unit of Rethymno, 8km southwest of Arkadi Monastery, at green Amarios municipality.
A beautiful green and easy going gorge where the temperature stays mild. You can walk this gorge without guidance and it has a special bonus, there’s a very good family restaurant called Drymos (with a small animal park) at the beginning.
The gorge was named after Patsos, an adjacent village, which is located on the foothills of mound Soros, at an elevation of 490m, 30km from Rethymno city. This is a really beautiful gorge, traversed by a small river and utilized by the forest management agency. Its total length reaches 2km, it is quite easy to cross, taking 2 hours to cross it round-trip. The elevation difference between its highest point and the entrance is 240m. In the gorge there are points of rest, springs of running water by the river, as well as a birdwatching post. What is most impressive about the gorge is its huge plane trees, the dense vegetation growing in the riverbed, as well as its enormous walls. Within the rocks you can see the cavernous Saint Anthony’s church, while there used to be a pagan temple on a rocky protrusion by the church. This temple used to be a point of Minoan worship of nature, which focused on the mystery of the change of seasons and the renewal cycle of vegetation. The sanctity of the temple had been respected and remained untouched from the Minoan ages until the early years of Roman conquer. What remains out of doubt, though, is that whoever follows its paths is seduced by its exquisite beauty and unwilling to leave it.