Are you ready for an unforgettable hiking adventure in one of Greece's most stunning natural wonders? Look no further than the Samaria Gorge in the White Mountains National Park in Crete. This national park offers protection to over 450 species of plants and animals, 70 of which are endemic to Crete. In the prefecture of Chania, the Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe, with a total length of 16km, and one of the most impressive gorges in Greece. The width of the gorge is 150 m at its widest point and 3 m at its narrowest.
Gorge of Samaria, Crete6XR6+3F Sfakia, Greece
Planning your Samaria Gorge adventure
As a Greek traveller, I recommend beginning your Samaria Gorge adventure at Xyloskalo, the entrance to the gorge, as early as possible. The crossing must be done slowly, with many stops and following the instructions of informational placards and rangers. While the path runs downhill, it requires strong, comfortable footwear and some degree of physical fitness. But it is well worth the effort. At the end of the path, swimming, taverna lunches, and picnics under a canopy of trees within full view of the Mediterranean Sea all await you!
Need help exploring around? Do not worry. Enjoy a challenging trek through one of Europe's longest gorges with a Get Your Guide Activity that meets your needs. Book a Full-Day Samaria Gorge Trek Excursion and marvel at natural wonders, from the White Mountains to a thousand-year-old forest.
It is recommended that visitors have appropriate clothing, footwear, and sun protection (hat, sunscreen) and bring something to eat, as there are no shops inside the Gorge of Samaria. You must have water with you, but since several springs are inside the Gorge, you can refill your bottle. Rest assured that there are toilets in several places along the path. And please do not litter!
What to expect on your hike
As you walk downhill, you will come across the church of St. Nikolas, built on the ruins of an ancient temple. Quench your thirst with mountain water running from the gorge’s springs. Keep walking. At some point, you will reach Portes (also called “Iron Gates”), the three narrowest passages of the gorge. The steep cliffs here tower as high as 500 m above sea level. This route also goes past Venetian castles, ruins of prehistoric settlements, and remnants of many other historical periods. As you walk, you might feel as if someone else is watching you: the presence of the wild Cretan goats, known as “kri kri”, will make this route particularly exciting!
The hike ends at Agia Rouméli, where you can catch the ferry to Chora Sfakion. From there, you can book a customised Day Trip to Sfakiá, Plakias and Kourtaliotiko Gorge and enjoy a fully immersive local experience in the surrounding hidden gems.
Agia Roumeli & Loutro: your next stop
Agia Roumeli is a small coastal village you reach after walking through the Samaria Gorge. From here, a frequent boat service will take you directly to Loutro and Hora Sfakion. Loutro is a charming village that offers a variety of activities for visitors to enjoy. However, if you are looking for a more relaxing experience, you can soak up the laid-back atmosphere of the village and enjoy the stunning views of the Mediterranean Sea.
If you are interested in exploring the waters around Loutro, you can rent a boat or go diving to see the crystal-clear waters and fantastic seabed of the Mediterranean Sea or simply book one of the tailored Get Your Guide Activities, including a Roundtrip Boat Ride to Loutro with Hotel Transfer. And for those looking for a more unique experience, you can take a day trip to the island of Gavdos, the southernmost tip of Europe. Dolphins may even show you the way!
Loutro Village, SfakiaΛουτρό, Ελλάδα
Get ready to explore the breathtaking Samaria Gorge
In conclusion, hiking the Samaria Gorge is a must-do activity for anyone visiting Crete. It offers stunning views of the island's natural beauty and a chance to see some of the unique flora and fauna that call Crete home. And with the charming village of Loutro just a boat ride away, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and enjoy the laid-back Mediterranean lifestyle. So, lace up your hiking boots, pack a picnic, and get ready! The adventure awaits!
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