Samaria Gorge Hike
We drive through the heartland of western Crete and reach the famous plateau of Omalos in height of 1250 meters and just 38km from Chania. The plateau of Omalos is surrounded by the splendid Lefka Ori (White Mountains). Here we find Xyloskalo (wooden Step) where the path of the world famous Samaria Gorge begins. From the opposite side we see the wild mountain of Gigilos (Rotten) which height is 2080 meters.
During the 16km hike you'll discover a big variety of fauna and flora, unique and exclusively found on this island clinging to sheer rock faces; watch out for the Kri-Kri, the wild Cretan goat. The isolated, deserted village of Samaria makes the ideal place for a rest, before you continue to the 'Iron Gates' the waypoint where the canyonwalls get so narrow they almost touch...
The Samaria Gorge has been declared a national park since 1962 because of the extremely rare flora and fauna. The entrance fee price for adults is 5 euros per person and for children under 15 years old is free of charge.
The gorge of Samaria is the longest in Europe. Its name comes from the abandoned village of Samaria, which, in turn, was named after the church of Osias Mary. Its length is 18km. Its width ranges from between 150m to 3m at its narrowest point. In six hours you have the opportunity to see it at your convenience. You can admire the beautiful nature and take a lot of photos. The route is not particularly difficult even for the ones whose daily exercise consists of walking from the couch to the fridge during the ad segment on TV. Wear walking shoes or trainers, no sandals (!), a sun hat, bring a bottle of water, maybe a snack and don't you forget your camera!
For the average person the walk takes 4 - 6 hours and by the end you will have achieved something you can brag about to your future great-grandchildren.
The initial descent is fascinating. We zig-zag for 600 meters until we reach a picnic area. Here we find a river that summer has minimal water but in winter the water is impetuous. Also we see the little stone church of St. Nicholas. We continue our descent to the village of Samaria. There are fountains here and picnic tables under the trees.
After we enter the most difficult part of the gorge where the slopes are very strong and the scenery majestic. At last the path, twisting over the pebbles, threads its way through the famous sideroportes, or iron doors, rocky walls less than 3meters apart that tower well over 300m into the sky.
Throughout the entire length of the gorge there are streams and springs with fresh mountain water which you can drink. The walk ends at the small village of Aghia Roumeli, with plenty of taverns to enjoy a tasty meal and that well-earned drink. Relax on the beach and cool off in the turquoise waters of the Libyan Sea, before taking the boat following the coastline to the village of Chora Sfakion where the coach will be waiting to return you back to the resort.
Ηistorically, during the Ottoman occupation, the Samaria Gorge was a hideout for the rebels and the local population, and since 2010 is part of the World Network of Biosphere Reserves by UNESCO.
The expected return time is about 20.00.