Samaria Gorge: a Great Trekking in Crete

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Doing a nice trek in Crete in the Samaria gorges after doing days and days in the best beaches of Crete also fits…and here I propose this good solution to make a different day.

I want to be clear from the outset: it is an experience I half enjoyed, then you will understand why.

Crete trekking in the Samaria Gorges

The name is kind of cool eh, it sounds like you are going miles and miles into an almost legendary landscape. It is a route that starts from the village of Omalos which, after 18km of walking, allows you to reach Agia Rumeli, the village on the south coast. The last section of the Samaria Gorges is the most characteristic because you actually pass through narrow spots in the canyon called the “iron gates.” If we want to be precise, the national park trail is 13 km long. 2 km are needed to reach the beginning of the gorges route, while the remaining 3 km are the ones that separate the end of the Gorges from the small village on the coast. Incidentally, for these last 3 km there is a paid cab service for those exhausted from the walk.

How to get to the Samaria Gorges from Chania

Like any tourist attraction, you can rely on an organized tour you find in the various tourist agencies, or you can venture out on your own. I, as is often the case, preferred to organize it on my own.

It is very simple.You leave from Chania and return to Chania. You get all the tickets at the bus station in Chania. To get to the Samaria Gorges and the start of the trek you then have to go to the bus station on Kidonias Street and take the Ktel bus. When you make your ticket ask that the return is also included. Basically take the ticket for the Chania – Omalos route and the ticket for the Chora Sfakion – Chania route. The cost is 14 euros total per person.

You may wonder, “and how do I get from Agia Rumeli to Chora Sfakion?”

Via a ferry that also allows you to see the entire south coast, including Loutro which is really a gem. Be careful not to arrive too late, otherwise the last ferry will have already left. Tickets are purchased directly in the village and cost 10 euros per person.

gole di samaria percordo itinerario creta trekking

Leaving at 6:30 a.m. from Kissamos, I arrived in time in Chania to catch the second bus leaving for the Samaria Gorges, namely the 7:45 a.m. bus. It takes about 1 1/2 hours to get to Omalos and the first bit is fairly smooth. As the road begins to climb, the curves also begin. Keep in mind that as far as driving is concerned, the people of Crete do not have much of a problem. Our driver was traveling like a desperate man with one arm out the window on winding roads without guard rails. As a result, someone had stomach problems once we got to Omalos.

Tip: those who have such problems take precautions with tablets against nausea.

Once in Omalos you set off on the long walk, but first you have to pay for the entrance to the park and the start of the Cretan trek, so you drop another 5 euros each and you are ready for the descent. By the way, I forgot.

Shoe tip: Looking for information on treks in Crete and specifically on the Samaria Gorges I had read mixed reviews as to what to use: shoes? hiking boots? flip-flops? …bare feet? In short, some said one thing and some said another. I used ordinary sneakers, let me be clear, not All Stars, Converse or similar. There are some who recommend boots. I personally believe that sneakers are more than enough. Boots are a little something extra. Those who have the ability to wear them will certainly be at an advantage. If anything, bring a pair of flip-flops to use on the beach once you arrive.

trekking gole di samaria creta crete island

Returning to the route in the gorges: the first 10 km is pretty much just forest, you will do 10 km downhill among various boulders and pebbles just being careful where you put your feet, it will probably be interesting for those who have never seen a forest in their life but for those who are already used to taking a few walks now and then it is nothing exceptional.

Along the way there are several spots where you can rest and possibly rent a donkey to take you for a part of the way (a solution that I don’t really like). The miles following these ten are more interesting because you enter the real attraction of the Samaria Gorge. In some places they barely touch 4 meters wide. Unfortunately, however, one arrives a bit tired and thus is not able to enjoy them to the fullest.

gole di samaria trekking crete creta island

In my case it took me 6 hours to do the entire Cretan trek. We arrived in Agia Rumeli around 3:30 p.m., a couple of hours to wait for the ferry and then another hour and a half to get to Chora Sfakion where there are buses waiting to take you back to Chania. I left at 7:15 p.m. and arrived at the Chania bus station at 8:45 p.m.

On the premise that immersing yourself in nature is always a great thing, if I have to be really honest, I recommend the Samaria Gorges only if you want to spend a day unlike any other. However, the part of the iron gates is very interesting. Eventually if you do not want to do the whole 18km route, you can go to Agia Rumeli and do the route in the opposite direction, this way you will reach the “iron gates” first.

One thing I really liked instead was the ferry ride which allows you to enjoy the south coast and the village of Loutro. The bus ride back is also nice; the first part of the road is fascinating because it is a climb made of continuous hairpin bends from which you can see the road climbing up the mountain and a beautiful view!


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