Samaria Gorge, or why Crete Rocks

This place, dear readers is a must visit/do/hike.

I was pretty sceptical and a bit afftaid before joining the longest gorge hike in Europe, but I made it.

Some tourists even had T-shirts saying „I survived Samaria Gorge“ , but I would say this sounds just too much.

Samaria Gorge is part of a World’s Biosphere Reserve and is a National Park of Greece since 1962. The gorge was created by a small river running between Kafka Ori (White Mountains) and Mt. Volakias.

Samaria Gorge is about 18 km when measured from the entrance of the park to Agia Roumeli village, but our mountain GPS application measure the distance of 18.9 km just inside the park. The entrance of the park starts at 1250km and goes to 0m at sea level. The route is just descending all the time. The river passes below the ground and above at different sections of the gorge. There are plenty of places where you can take water on the way and the full hike takes you between 5 to 8 hours depending on your pace.

It is needless to say that walking on the bottom of a river requires stable shoes and strong muscles.  Your muscle fever is guaranteed if you have not walked that many kilometres for long time, but it’s worthed.

I would say that visiting in the summer is like going on a human highway- too many tourists but if you go in mid or end of September it will be more quiet.

The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as the Gates where the sides close in to a width of only 4 m. and reach up to 300m. There is a small settlement inside the gorge half way through called Samaria where you can have snack, go to ladies room and take a break. Last inhabitants left the village in 1962 , nowadays only goats reside in it.

At the end of the gorge walk you will continue walking 3 km more to reach the Lybian Sea at Agia Roumeli village where you would have to jump in the water. From there you take a ferry to Sougia or to Hora Sfakion where you can take bus back to Chania.

Visit to the national park are allowed from May 1st to October 15th between 7h to 15h.

The day before our initial tour was supposed to take place we were informed that the park was closed due to the weather forecast. That same day it rained so heavily that the small river in the gorge flooded entire sections of the gorge making it unsafe for hikers. We joined the hike 2 days later and it was experience I will never forget.


Here some snips of this Epic hike.

Part of the Samaria Gorge

On the way to the Gates

Samaria village and the inhabitants

The start of the hike view