Hiking the Samaria Gorge on Crete
Crete is an island that has something for everyone. You can not only spend your time visiting cities like Chania or Hereklion, you can also venture inland where the villages look relatively untouched by the hectic nature of modern life. It is also known for its opportunities to enjoy nature, such as its beaches and mountainous landscape.
The Samaria Gorge, located in the southwest portion of the island, is one of the most popular places to enjoy nature on Crete. A small river that ran in between the White Mountain range and Mount Volakias created it. The gorge is actually 16 km long but is often cited as 18 km, which is actually the distance between Omalos and the village of Agia Roumeli.
Hiking the Samaria Gorge on Your Own
If you decide to hike the Samaria Gorge on your own, you have two options. The first is to drive to the National Park yourself and park by the visitor’s center. Stop inside for a snack and bathroom break before you enter the gorge. Once you get to the end of your hike, you can either spend the night in Omalos or take a ferry back to Chania, where you will then need take a bus back to your car.
To simplify the process, it is much easier to get to the National Park by bus or taxi from Chania rather than drive yourself. That way, once the ferry drops you off in Chania, you won’t need to concern yourself with retrieving your vehicle. Before starting your hike, be sure to check both the bus schedules and the ferry schedules. You can also opt to spend the night in the village before heading back to Chania.
Making the Trek With a Guided Tour
Another great way to hike the gorge is by taking a guided tour. Check with your hotel or the tourist information center for more information. They’ll be able to recommend at great tour company.
The nice thing about hiking through the gorge as a group is that he will help you optimize your experience. Your guide will give you advice on where to take your breaks, how long it should take you, and what to do when you get to the village where the ferry will depart. The guide also keeps track of everyone on the hike and can assist in an emergency.
Prepare for a Safe and Fun Hike
In order to have the most enjoyable hike possible, it helps to keep a few things in mind.
First, the hike is completely downhill until you enter the gorge so it is helpful to bring hiking poles and to wear durable footwear. If you take a guided tour, the company may have some for you to borrow or rent. Also, be sure to bring water but there’s no need to bring too much. There are water fill up stations throughout the hike. Finally, either bring or wear your bathing suit and beach shoes. Your reward at the end of the hike is a beautiful, black sand beach to lounge on before your ferry departs.
Hiking the Samaria Gorge offers one of the most unique experiences in Greece. With some careful planning, you will not only successful complete the ten mile hike through the gorge, you will also be eager to do it all again the next time you’re on Crete.
This post was written by Greek Boston