Holidays in the traditional Greek villages
The pretty mountain village Zaros, located the southern flank of Psiloritis (Mt Idi), is famous for its spring water and the gorge of Rouvas. The name Zaros comes from the two ancient Greek words "Za" and "Rous" meaning "much water flow'.
Have a walk through the narrow alleys of the village where you will have the opportunity to admire the traditional, local architecture and chapel of Agia Kiriaki (St. Kiriaki) which is located next to the church museum. Further down in lower Zaros, you will come across one of the village’s ten watermills (up until today two of the ten have been preserved and are open to visiting).
When you drive past Zaros village look for the sign "lake" on the right hand side and follow the small road to the lake of Zaros, which is a nice place for some rest. On your way to the lake there are a couple of taverns serving trout and salmon fish. The pretty Lake Votomos in Zaros, surrounded by olive trees and carob trees makes the perfect picnic setting with ducks and geese to feed.
There's also the newly built Fragma or dam and reservoir found below Kato Zaros which has attracted many water birds including hundreds of coots and moorhens. It is quite a spectacular site as the water has covered a valley that was filled with olive trees, almond trees and even an old Byzantine church. You can still see the tops of olive trees growing in the water!
The lake is the starting point of the path leading to Rouvas gorge, one of the prettier places in Crete. Twenty minutes past the lake there is the monastery of Agios Nikolaos. On the way to the monastery you get the aroma of the local herbs like thyme, sage, oregano, depending of course on the season. The path ascends past the monastery and soon you enter the gorge of Rouvas, the length of the route from the lake to the forest is 5 kilometres and requires about 2,5 hours when hiking uphill and 1,5 hours when hiking downhill.