Samaria Gorge from Chania – how to visit without a tour

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Samaria Gorge from Chania

Hiking the country is among the best ways to explore it. However, once you start doing it, it becomes highly addictive. Greece, with all its beautiful beaches and seaside resorts, is also a very attractive hiking destination.

From the first time I visited Crete, I fell in love with this gorgeous island. Sparkling blue water, white sandy beaches, local villages, canyons – there is just so much to explore.

Still, every time I think back to my trip, hiking in Crete and particularly the Samaria Gorge walk is the first thing I remember. This clean, untouched path between high cliffs, fresh mountain air, and pristine beauty stays in memory for decades.

So here is Samaria Gorge from Chania tips for beginners – things you should know before your visit in order to make the walk more enjoyable.

Samaria Gorge from Chania

Where is Samaria Gorge walk?

The trek starts at an altitude of 1230m at the settlement of Omalos and is 16 km long, ending at the village of Agia Roumeli. So it’s not an easy hike, most people will cover the distance in 5-7 hours.

For the first 3 km you will be climbing down the stairs, then the path will be more even with huge walls of stone surrounding you at all times. The path itself is stony and difficult to walk on. The gorge is open from May until October – opening times vary depending on the weather. The park is closed on rainy days due to rock falling danger.

Samaria Gorge from Chania

In the Bag – what to pack for this day trip?

The Samaria Gorge from Chania hike is quite long, so we recommend packing some snacks. You will also need a water bottle, don’t bring a large one – you can refill it on the way.

Make sure to cover your head and bring sunscreen – the sun is very bright here. Comfortable hiking shoes (preferably with ankle support) are a must because the path is uneven at times.

At the end of the hike you will have some time for a refreshing swim, so make sure to pack your swimsuit.

Samaria Gorge from Chania

Samaria Gorge from Chania Tour vs. Self-Organized

We went on a tour because it was much more convenient. You get picked up at the door of your hotel, and transferred to the starting point, a guide will accompany you throughout the trip, the ferry is pre-booked and the bus will await you for the return journey.

The price for such a trip (depending on where you are staying) runs around 35-70€. It’s certainly possible to do this on your own as well.

Samaria Gorge from Chania

If you are staying in Chania(the closest city), take a bus to the starting point in Xyloskalo. Once you finish the trek, catch a ferry from Agia Roumeli to Sougia or Hora Sfakion, where you can catch a bus back to Chania.

Make sure to leave the boat among the first passengers, in order to secure a place on the bus. Alternatively, you may try to find a guided tour bus and speak to them about dropping you off in Chania (in case they have empty seats available).

Samaria Gorge from Chania

Refreshing after a long hike

Once you reach the end of the Samaria Gorge from Chania hike, an award is waiting for you on the coast – a cute village with outdoor cafes, restaurants, and shops.

Wait no longer – soak your tired, blistered feet in the clear blue water, go for a refreshing swim, or just sip fresh orange juice on a terrace –  you’ve deserved it!

The place is so relaxing, you can forget there is such a thing as time! Soon, the ferry will come and pick you up for a return journey back to your hotel.

Samaria Gorge from Chania

Samaria Gorge walk tips for beginners

  • First and most importantly – be careful under high cliffs, and try to avoid stopping just below them. Falling rocks are a serious danger, even though the gorge is open for visitors, it doesn’t mean that it’s 100% safe. In fact, the gorge is closed during rainy days for exact same reason. So, make sure to watch out. For the same reason – avoid speaking loudly or shouting.
  • Drink plenty of water. The heat will dehydrate you very quickly. Don’t worry about running out of water – there are plenty of refilling opportunities along the way.
  • The first 3 km are the hardest and most dangerous. Walk slowly, while getting used to the path and steep steps. If you would like to enjoy the view, just stop for a moment, don’t try to look around while walking. It’s too easy to twist your leg and get hurt.
  • Take short breaks, rather than longer ones. The reason is simple – your muscles may start to stiffen if you rest for long. The trek is quite long in itself, so make sure you are ready and fit to make it through.

Have you been to Crete? Did you also hike in Samaria Gorge?

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Samaria Gorge Crete


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