A narrow road through the dizzying gorge of Topolia in Crete
Located in the inland area of Kissamos, at the western end of the Chania prefecture in the Greek island of Crete, a narrow road through the Topolia Gorge is said to be one of the most breathtaking road trips in the country.
Can you drive through Topolia Gorge?
Set high in the Cretan mountains, the road through the gorges (Topoliano) is totally paved but very narrow and challenging. It’s 10.5 km (6.52 miles) long, running north-south from Topolia to Elos. The canyon is crossed by the River Tyflos. The gorge is 1.500 meters long, with steep slopes. The vertical walls reach a height of 300 metres and the width of the stream bed varies between 5 and 50 metres. According to locals, the gorges hosted fairies and the Minoan goddess Vritomartis.
Is Topolia Tunnel challenging?
Tucked away on the western side of the Greek island of Crete, the most challenging part of the drive is a single lane unlit tunnel known as Topolia Tunnel, built in 1920 during Prime Minister Eleftherios Venizelos. It is 110 m long and 4 meters wide. The car flow is regulated by traffic lights on both ends of the tunnel. During the summertime, this section can get quite busy due to its narrowness. It’s said to be the only tunnel in the island that was dug by hands.
How long does it take to drive the Topolia Gorge?
To drive the road without stopping will take most people between 25-30 minutes. Driving times can double in August, so get on the road early if you want to avoid heavy traffic. The drive is very scenic and offers plenty of opportunities for photos. Along the way there are viewing spots for you to stop and enjoy the views. It is worth visiting the Cave of Agia Sofia and a church (both with the same name), located just above the main road. Local producers can often be found near the gorge, before the tunnel.