The Samaria Gorge is the most popular gorge for hiking on Crete island. It’s the longest gorge in Europe and is located in west Crete, in the White Mountains.
More than a quarter million tourists choose for hiking the Samaria gorge every year from May to October. The gorge is closed to the visitors, from the end of October to May.
Check these photos from Samaria Gorge. Isn’t it beautiful?
The path starts at an altitude of 1250m at Xiloskalo, at the settlement of Omalos and descends following the steep slope down to the shores of the Libyan sea in Agia Roumeli. Halfway through the park lies the ruined village of Samaria.
Here is the main resting point where visitors usually stop to get some rest and stroll around the village’s old houses and churches.
Its few houses are now used by the park wardens. Quench your thirst with mountain water running from the gorge’s springs.
Know the “semantics” of Samaria Gorge
The Samaria Gorge is 13 km long but you have to walk 3 km more from the exit of the National Park of Samaria to Agia Roumeli beach.
Agia Roumeli is the best place to rest, swim and eat, before taking the boat to Chora Sfakion and returning by bus to Chania city. The width of the gorge is 150m at its widest point and 3m at its narrowest.
The very narrow passage near the end of the gorge is called the “Iron Gates”. The river Tarraios runs the entire length of the gorge.
The path continues either parallel or crossing the river several times, where visitors, in most cases, have to step on big stones in order cross the river.
The river is only a small stream in the summer. Walking through the gorge usually takes from 4 to 6 hours depending on how fast you walk.
Samaria National Park of the White Mountains Crete, founded in 1962 to the protection and preservation of scientific and cultural value of the region.
The gorge was abandoned in 1962 when the Greek government declared the area of the canyon national park.
It hosts a particularly rich flora and fauna. During the hiking, you will see huge pine and cypress trees as well as a great number of unique plant species.
You may even meet the the cretan wild goat, which is called “Agrimi” or “Kri-Kri”.
The hiking in the gorge isn’t an easy stroll. The path is stony and rocky mostly but there are times where it looks like as a forest path.
But don’t worry, the stunning natural beauty will make the hiking a pleasant experience for everyone.
How to get there
The cheapest way is to take public buses (KTEL) from Chania town to Omalos. In Agia Roumeli, you have to take a ferry boat to go to Sfakia, Sougia and Paleochora and then take KTEL bus back to Chania.