The Samaria Gorge, in the west of Crete, is the most famous gorge in Europe. They are recognised as a biosphere reserve by Unesco. Thousands of tourists come especially to cross them. The total length is 16 km and it takes between 5 and 8 hours, depending on the chosen pace. They start in Xyloskalo, at an altitude of 1,250m, and end in Agia Roumeli, in the Libyan Sea. The most famous passage, called Doors or Sideroportes, où les parois s’écartent de seulement 4m, alors qu’elles s’élèvent à une hauteur de 500m ! (Voir détails dans la page Samaria gorge of our blog)
How to get there
Take the first bus, very early in the morning, at the Bus Station (the " Station KTEL ") Chania city, or a taxi. The most practical solution is to contact a travel agency and join a group with a bus and a guide who will take you back to your hotel in the evening.
To know, to visit, to do
To avoid the early morning wake-up call, and especially to avoid the crowds in summer, one solution is to take the bus the day before, spend the night in the hotel there, and the next morning start the hike at the opening of the gorge at 7:00 and enjoy only the sounds of nature. Another variant is to start the hike around noon, after the crowds have passed, leave before the closing time of 6:00 pm, and spend the night in Agia Roumeli.
To visit in the surroundings
It's a full day hike if you want to complete the loop in a day. Otherwise, you take your time, and choose to rest for a while in Agia Roumeli, to Sougia, to Chora Sfakion or at Paleochora, charming fishing villages.
There is no shortage of nice little restaurants, with only local products at a very affordable price.