Samaria Gorge, One of the most famous places to see on Crete, Europe’s largest gorge. This National Park is 16kms long with unbelievable natural beauty. The gorge is rich with many endemic flowers & herbs with crystal clear spring water flowing from the mountains
How to do the Samaria Gorge Walk
By Organised Tour
The most popular and perhaps the less stressful way to do the 16km Samaria Gorge walk is to book an organised tour. The pick ups are dotted along the main coast road & other places outside of Chania town. The coaches are air-conditioned and you have the added benefit of a guide who will give you tips and also have your head counted & ensure you get on the correct ferry in Agia Roumeli. Everyone walks at their own pace through the Samaria Gorge and the guide is in the gorge throughout ensuring everyone gets through. At the end of the day you are dropped off at the same point you were picked up from. See details of the organised tour HERE.
With Your Own Car
You could drive to Xyloskalo (start of the Samaria Gorge walk), just beyond Omalos, park your car then walk the gorge to Agia Roumeli village. From Agia Roumeli you would catch the ferry to Sougia and take the local bus or taxi from Sougia (there are only a few taxis & minivans, so best to pre-book it) back up to the entrance at Omalos to get your car. Then from Omalos you would drive yourself back home. The walk itself is quite tiring on its own so to have to drive back down the mountainous road after the walk and bus ride, it isn’t recommended. Do not attempt to walk back up the gorge from Agia Roumeli to the entrance to get your car. There isn’t enough time to do the walk in reverse and the wardens in the gorge will stop you from doing this for your own safety.
By Public Bus From Chania
Another alternative is to take the public buses (KTEL) from Chania bus station to Omalos (start of Gorge). Once you have walked through the gorge you arrive at the coastal village of Agia Roumeli from here you would then take a ferry boat to either Chora Sfakion or Sougia (depending on which return bus ticket you purchased beforehand) and take the last bus back to Chania. If you are staying outside of Chania it would mean changing buses at the Chania bus station and getting on a second bus/Taxi to get back to your Villa.
If there are 3 or 4 of you, perhaps a taxi to Omalos might be an idea. The cost from Chania Area to the entrance of the gorge is approx. 95 Euros (2022 prices) for up to 4 persons. Depending on which ferry you would take from Agia Roumeli to Sougia or to Chora Sfakia, you would then have to take the bus or arrange another taxi from either of these villages, to return you to your accommodation.
Important to Know Before You Do the Walk
A walk of 16 km, a minimum of 4 hours of walking time It is very important to have proper footwear with good soles with grip as the path is steep downhill with small pebbles and then crossing over shiny boulders and walking on a dry rocky riverbed with sharp edges. So the best shoes are hiking boots with ankle support or trainers. Any shoes with less grip or thin soles will only make this long walk very unpleasant for you. Wear thick socks and definitely a hat. Take a bottle of water to refill from the springs as you walk through. There are a couple of rest points and toilets enroute. Do not wander off the path. Bring snacks to keep up the energy, there are no shops in the National Park.
Take beach sandals, towel and swimsuit for the pebbly beach at Agia Roumeli. The cool water’s of the Libyan sea are very welcoming after the walk. If you have a heart condition or knee/back problems, the Samaria Gorge is not for you, nor if you are pregnant. At 16km It is a very long walk and the end part of it does not have shade. If you are not used to physical activity it can be very strenuous on the body, so know your health conditions before embarking on this hike.