Samaria Gorge Chania, Crete
Samaria Gorge runs from the Omalos plateau in the heart of the White Mountains, Lefka ori, to Agia Roumeli on the south coast. It is the longest gorge in Europe, 18km long. A path will take you from Xiloskalon, (wooden stairway) descending rapidly and passing through a spectacular landscape, with sheer walls of limestone rising high above you. Virtually all year there is an abundance of flora plant life.
The walk takes approximately 5-6 hours and you should be reasonably fit and used to lengthy hikes. As well as being properly equipped with sturdy, well-soled shoes, you should take a hat and sun cream for protection in the lower exposed part of the gorge. You should also take a bottle of water (which can be re-filled from the water springs along the way) and a few high energy snacks. Agia Roumeli has a number of shops, café’s and tavernas where you can stop for refreshments, before you catch the ferry.
Most people set out from the top of the gorge early in the morning. It is much easier to undertake this journey using public transport. There are usually 2 or 3 buses traveling to Omalos early each day from Chania bus station. At the end of the gorge you can pick up the waiting ferry in Agia Roumeli which will take you to Hora Sfakion and once again take the waiting bus back to Chania. Very simple! For breakfast you can consider either having something at Chania bus station or the café / taverna at the entrance to the gorge.
There is an entrance fee to the gorge and its officially open May 1st to end of October, subject to weather. The area is part of the National Park and is controlled by wardens and rangers. In extreme conditions (intense heat or heavy rain) the gorge can become dangerous and will close, sometimes at short notice.