One of the most beautiful and famous hiking trails in Europe is the Samaria Gorge and undoubtly you should add it in your bucket list. Thousands of visitors on annual basis start their hike from Xyloskalo at Omalos plateau to the Libyan Sea. This 16-kilometer trek has wonderful views of the White Mountains and finishes at the beach town of Agia Roumeli where you can spend the rest of your day swimming in the crystal-clear waters and try one of the local tavernas which offer you a range variety of the Greek cuisine.
As a matter of fact, the gorge is 14 klm long, starting on the altitude of 1.250m among the White Mountains (Lefka Ori) from the ticket kiosk at Xyloskalo to the exit at Agia Roumeli old village and there you must walk 1.5klm more to reach the beach side. At that point you have the alternative to take the bus that will drive you directly to the centre of Agia Roumeli. Depending on your foot path, it will take you between 4-6 hours to walk on rough terrain along the riverbed in a well signposted footpath and you can find toilets and rest stops along the way. Likewise, there is the ¨lazy way¨ to enjoy the natural beauty of the Europe´s largest gorge by starting your trip from Agia Roumeli side and walk till the ¨Iron Gate¨ (Sideroportes), which the narrowest point of the gorge (2m width) and you will spend 1h in a non-challenging route.
The most interesting part of the hike and a ¨must¨ for the visitors is to complete the way down to the desert village which lies inside the gorge and in 1962 the last inhabitant left it as the gorge was declared as a national park. Today, the old houses still exist, and they serve as houses for the guards. Furthermore, the National Park is rich in many endemic flower, herbs, and animal life. There are 450 plant species in the gorge and to protect the delicate ecosystem of Samaria by law it is prohibited to remove any of it. During your hiking you can admire the forests of huge pines and cypress trees. If you are lucky enough you can meet its famous inhabitant the Cretan Ibex, known as the wild goats of Crete or Kri-Kri which are endangered.
Entrance Fee: 5€
Opening period: 1st May to 15th Oct, between 7:00 am-16:00. In the winter high water makes the gorge dangerous and impassable.
Note: If you suffer from a heart condition, high blood pressure, breathing problems, weakness of knees or other knee disorders, vertigo, or pregnant women, we advise you to avoid hike the long way for your own safety! This is not an easy walk. The heat is also a factor that you must keep in mind. Hiking boots are the best, but trainers with good grip will do. Just do not wear new shoes!
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