If there is one thing you do when visiting the Greek island of Crete, you must hike Samaria Gorge. There are certain epic hikes throughout the world, and the hike through Samaria Gorge National Park is one of them. What makes Samaria Gorge epic? At 16 kilometers, Samaria Gorge is one of the longest gorges in Europe (some sources say the longest, others the second longest), is located in Crete’s only national park, and provides stunning views all day long.
White Mountains’ National Park is the only national park in Crete. It centres around the Samariá gorge, at an altitude of 1,200m and continues down to Ayia Rouméli, on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Along with the surrounding slopes and a number of smaller gorges branching off from it, Samaria Gorge forms the whole of the area designated as a national park, a status that offers protection to over 450 species of plant and animal, 70 of which are endemic to Chania. The gorge starts from Xylóskalo, at an altitude of 1,230m. The width of the gorge is 150m at its widest point and 3m at its narrowest.
The average walking time through the Samaria gorge is 4-6 hours & is on a foot path with rocks & along the river bed. It is mostly downhill (particularly steep in the beginning) & then the final part is in the sun. Agia Roumeli village is where the walk ends & you can enjoy a swim in the Libyan Sea or have lunch one of the many tavernas. From here there is a ferry that takes you to Sougia, where your driver is waiting for you at the harbour to take you back over the mountains to the north coast to the place where you were picked up.