The Samaria Gorge is in southwest Crete, in the regional unit of Chania. It is a national park, a World's Biosphere Reserve, and a major tourist attraction on the island.
The gorge of Samaria is the longest in Europe, with a total length of 18 kilometres. Its width ranges from 150 meters, at its widest point, to 3 meters at its narrowest, which is also the most famous part of the gorge, known as “the Gates”, where its sides soar up to a height of almost 300 meters (980 feet).
This walk usually takes between five to seven hours and can be strenuous, especially during the peak of summer. Be aware that it is always downhill; therefore it may be hard on your knees. Guests should be equipped with hiking boots or sneakers and be in good physical condition.
There is plenty of drinking water available all along the gorge.
Last but not least, it is important to note that it is strictly prohibited to swim in the streams, camp, stay overnight, or light fires in the gorge.
Description of the path
The gorge begins gently at “Xyloskalo” (translated as “Wooden stairs”), leading down to a faster descent. Later, the path follows a riverbed along a beautiful forest with tall trees and outstanding views.
In the middle of the gorge stands a deserted village called "Samaria". The last remaining inhabitants left it in 1962 so that the Samaria gorge could become a national park and a refuge for the rare kri-kri (Cretan goat) plus several other endemic species, along with flowers and birds.
In the village, there is a Byzantine church devoted to the Sacred Mary of Egypt, which gives this area its name since the word “Samaria” is a syneresis of the Greek phrase “Osia Maria” (Sacred Mary). This church was built during the 14th century and is particularly interesting because of its wall paintings. Sacred Mary’s church can be easily reached by following a path that begins at the helipad, and leads to the south part of the village,
At the end of the gorge, you reach the area of “Agia Roumeli” where you can stay, or take a boat back to Sougia.
How to visit Samaria Gorge from Sougia
You should use the coach that leaves at 07:00 from the square of Sougia.
Timetable: please click here...
On your way to the Samaria Gorge, the coach driver may ask you to transfer to another coach, which will wait and take you to the entrance of the gorge. If you decide to follow this choice, we would recommend you purchase your coach tickets one day in advance, as it will give you the extra time to wake up a bit later and get onto the coach instantly as soon as you get there the following day, without having to wait in the queue. Please note that despite the fact that we always try to remain updated, we must point out that the central coach station in Chania is responsible for potential changes regarding the timetable above.
If you need a taxi, please click here.