Samaria Gorge

Crete, Greece

The Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe at 18km and the walk is one of the main sights on the island of Crete in Greece.

Getting there

The walk is a one way trip down the gorge so the best way to get there is by an early morning local bus (about 1 - 2 hours) from Chania, or to get someone to drop you off. The walk starts from the town of Xyloskalo. The walk ends at Agia Roumeli where you can catch a boat back to Loutro, Hora Sfakion, Sougia or Paliochora. If you get off at Hora Sfakion a local bus can the take you back to Chania. The gorge is open mid April to October. Many tour operators also run guided walks with transport arranged for you (at an increased price).

Maps

There is a basic map on the back of the ticket you buy at the top of the gorge and the track is very well worn and signposted. (it is the most walked footpath in all Greece)

Route/Trail notes

The Samaria Gorge is not a an easy walk. Prior transport arrangement and preparation is necessary. The track starts at a height of 1227m and finished at sea level. You can only walk one way and it can be very dry and hot. The first half roughly you will decend the bulk of the way to sea level so can be quite tiring. There is toilets and drinkable water available all the way down the track. There is still evidence of old stone houses at the unihabited Samria village. The inhabitants were "relocated" in 1962 after the gorge was made a National Park. This is about half way also the track. 

The bast part of the walk is where the walls of the gorge close in to be no more than 4 or 5m apart at their narrowest. Water was running at the time we visited which was good as the heat and light reflection off the very white rocks was somewhat unpleasant.

At the end of the walk there is another check point apparantly to make sure no-one stays overnight (our tickets weren't checked). There is a few taverna's here for a drink or meal. There is still another few km of dry and arid landscape with no shade. If you have started your walk in the early morning, you will reach this point in the early afternoon, and it can be very hot. Another hour away is the small town of Agia Roumeli which can be quite busy from early afternoon until the ferry's leave. There is some accomodation here and a handfull of restraunts. 

Permits/Costs

You'll need to buy an entrance ticket at the start of the walk - approx 12 euros from memory in early 2008.

Other References

Try:

http://www.explorecrete.com/hiking/samaria.html

http://www.west-crete.com/samaria-gorge.htm

 

Comments

Great long walk :)

Michal Paczes on 16 Jun, 2011

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