Hiking the Samaria Gorge, Crete, should be on the top of every adventurer's bucket list. Nestled in the heart of Crete's National Park of Samaria, the gorge stretches over 16 kilometres long. It slices through the renowned White Mountains and is one of the most scenic canyons in Europe. Whether you want to trek the toughest route or take it easy with a brisk walk through narrow passageways, Samaria Gorge has a suitable trek for everyone.
Reaching Samaria GorgeAre you staying in a resort in Crete? Ask about day trips to Samaria Gorge and take an early morning bus to give yourself more time to enjoy the hike. You can also book a taxi that'll take you to the gorge if you prefer. There's a small entrance fee required, but the outstanding views alone are more than worth it. Try and start your trek before 2pm though. Any time after that and you'll be pushing for time to complete the walk.
Hiking Samaria GorgeTowering mountains, thick forest and glistening streams are just a few of the sights you'll see along your trek through Samaria Gorge Crete. Hiking the 16 kilometre long passage takes quite a level of determination. Rugged terrain in parts can make the trek quite challenging for inexperienced climbers. If you're a novice trekker, seek some help from an experienced guide. They will take you through the gorge, giving you plenty of rest stops along the way to have a snack, replenish your thirst or rest your tired feet. For those of you who want to go it alone, it's worth being extra careful when you reach the boulders. Often, you'll have to climb over them to reach the other side. When you need a break, stop for a bite to eat in the old village of Samaria. Some of the old homes are still intact. Travel a little further down, and you'll stumble upon the church of Osia Maria, which offers some shade from the sun. If you're planning on trekking through the Samaria Gorge, make sure you leave your flip flops back at the hotel. Grab a pair of sturdy walking boots that provide excellent support for your ankles, so that you can enjoy the trek in comfort.
What to expectYour journey begins from Xyloskalo in the famous White Mountains and ends at the shores of the Libyan Sea. At the start, the path is very steep and descends 600m into the depths of the canyon. Depending on your experience, trekking the Samaria Gorge in Crete can take anywhere from five to seven hours. Make sure you pack plenty of water, charge your camera batteries and wear something comfortable for the trip. Roam down winding trails as you pass forests of ancient cypresses and towering pine trees. Breathe in and smell the sweet scent of the surrounding flora and fauna that grow all around you. You might come across a wandering donkey, which isn't as unusual as it sounds. Mules will often make their way along the paths in search for anyone who may need help walking out of the gorge.