Enjoy a guided 16km hike through the longest and most impressive of Europe’s limestone gorges, a magnificent example of Crete’s many gorges, stretching from the White Mountains down to the Libyan sea.
|RETURN TIME||+/- 12 hrs
Children under 10 yrs old & seniors over 65 yrs old can only join a private tour
|WEAR||Sport/Beach wear. Visiting the gorge requires extended walking and therefore we strongly suggest wearing comfortable sturdy shoes. Sunscreen, hat and water are also good “travel companions”.|
|DIFFICULTY||Important note : The walk is long and strenuous and the tour is only suitable for guests that are fit and have some experience in walking long distances.|
White Mountains’ National Park is the only national park in Crete. It centres around the Samariá gorge, at an altitude of 1,200m and continues down to Ayia Rouméli, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding slopes and a number of smaller gorges branching off from it, Samaria Gorge forms the whole of the area designated as a national park, a status that offers protection to over 450 species of plant and animal, 70 of which are endemic to Crete. In the prefecture of Chania (also written “Hania”), the Samaria gorge is the longest in Europe (total length 16km), and one of the most impressive gorges in Greece. It starts from Xylóskalo, at an altitude of 1,230m. The width of the gorge is 150m at its widest point and 3m at its narrowest.
We leave early in the morning and passing through several beautiful villages we reach the plateau of Omalos. Our hike will last approximately 6 hours and will take us, along a breathtaking and constantly changing landscape, to Agia Roumeli, a laid back coastal village by the South coast, accessible only by boat. The tour will allow you a chance to experience this must-see natural phenomenon at a slower pace, attended to by a specialized guide. At the base of the gorge you can enjoy a refreshing swim and lunch at one of the local tavernas. After an hour’s sail to the nearby port, you will be transferred back to Chania in the evening.
As you walk downhill, you will come across the church of St. Nikolas, built on the ruins of an ancient temple. Half way down the gorge lies the old village of Samaria; its few houses are now used by the park wardens. Quench your thirst with mountain water running from the gorge’s springs. Keep walking. At some point you will reach Pórtes (also called “Iron Gates”), the three narrowest passages of the gorge. The steep cliffs here tower as high as 500m above sea level. This route also goes past Venetian castles and ruins of prehistoric settlements as well as remnants of many other historical periods. As you are walking, you might feel as if someone else is watching you: the presence of the wild Cretan goats, known as “kri kri”, will definitely make this route particularly exciting!
• The hike ends at Ayia Rouméli, where you can catch the ferry to Hóra Sfakion.