©The National Herald
Being the largest gorge in Europe and arguably the most spectacular, the Samaria Gorge offers a spectacular 18km walk with a starting point on the plain of Omalos at 1000m above sea level.
The National Park was declared a nature reserve in 1962 and in 1980 it was proclaimed to be one of the greatest areas of nature, full of wild species, rich in flora & fauna. The trail leads south through a wonderful terrain and exits at the Iron Gates (narrowest point at 1 metre wide). A further 2 kms takes you to the south coast and Libyan Sea at Agia Roumeli where there are several tavernas and a black sandy beach. From Agia Roumeli the boat takes you to either Chora Sfakia or Sougia where the coaches are waiting for the return journey.
How to get there:
You can take the early morning bus from the KTEL bus station in the centre of Chania. The return coach time coincides with the return boats from Agia Roumeli.
You may want to take an organised excursion which is advertised in many resorts and definitely in travel agencies in Chania itself.
With organised excursions you usually get the benefit of an earlier start so you finish the walk before the intense heat of the afternoon if you go in season, plus you have a guide to assist in case of any problems (you walk at your own pace independently, the guide keeps to the back of the group).
Families should know
- Average walking time for the gorge is 4-6 hours and is not suitable for very young children
- The initial descent is steep and hard on the knees, and you do need to be very fit and suitably attired
- This walk is NOT recommended for persons with any health problems (such as heart disease, breathing problems, weakness), or with weak knees/pregnant women/small children/physically disabled
- DON’T FORGET: a small bottle of water that can refilled in the gorge; swimwear & towel; camera; good hiking shoes or sturdy comfortable shoes or trainers; flip flops for beach as sand can be hot; snacks for during the walk; money for entrance, boat ticket; food & drinks
- If you do not feel fit enough to walk the gorge and you have a hire car it is still worth the drive to the plain of Omalos to see the spectacular entrance to the gorge and there is also some beautiful scenery en route
- You may also want to consider the ‘lazy way’ by taking the boat from Hora Sfakia to Agia Roumeli, then walk part of the gorge from the end. It is a couple of kilometres before you actually arrive at the gorge but it is still interesting to see the Iron Gates, the narrowest point of the gorge, even if you don’t venture any further
- Rent high quality baby & toddler travel gear such as car seats, strollers, baby carriers, trikes, booster seats through our partner My Baby in Greece for stress-free & fun family activities in Greece
Kids will love
- Clambering over the boulders in the gorge
- Drinking water from the fresh water springs
- The narrowest point – the Iron Gate
Parents will love
- The beautiful scenery
- The magnificence of the gorge
- The finishing line!
Best season to visit
Entrance fee to the gorge approximately 5€ per person
Boat ticket 9.5€ per person
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