|Distance||45 km from Heraklion|
The mountainous village of Zaros, 45 km off Heraklion, is known for its water springs amongst others. The drive from Santa Barbara (Messara) to the foot of Psiloritis mount is in the midst of rich vegetation and quite enjoyable.
A fair number of Byzantine monasteries there and a starting point for trekking in the Rouvas gorge. Here you’ll find Votomos Lake, one of the artificial lakes in Crete. Fine tavernas around, local trout is highly recommended, accommodation available if you wish to stay over.
The lake is where the Zaros gorge starts, which in turn goes through the Rouvas woods. The name ‘Rouvas’ comes from an old monastery of the 14th century but still operational by Calendarist monks. Excavations in the area showed that the Minoans and the Romans were enchanted by the abundance of the fresh water of the springs. The altitude is 340m, ideal for a few days of relaxation for the nature lovers.