Samaria Gorge National Park

#5 in Best Things To Do in Crete
Samaria Gorge National Park picture
Panagiotis Karapanagiotis/Getty Images

Key Info

Samaria Gorge

Details

Hiking, Natural Wonders, Parks and Gardens Type
Half Day to Full Day Time to Spend
3.9scorecard
  • 4.0Value
  • 3.5Facilities
  • 4.0Atmosphere

Stretching for about 10 miles through southern Chania Prefecture's White Mountains, Samaria Gorge is thought to be one of the longest canyons in Europe. The gorge trail begins on the Omalos plateau at Xyloskalo, perched high among the mountains. It then winds its way 10 miles between some 1,600-foot vertical walls to Agia Roumeli, a small seaside village. Speedy hikers can usually make the journey in four and a half hours, while more leisurely paced walkers can spend up to eight hours in the gorge. Fast or slow, you're going to want to get an early start to beat the heat and the crowds (about 1,000 people make the hike every day during high season).

Recent visitors strongly advise bringing plenty of water and sunscreen, wearing sturdy shoes and really assessing your fitness level before embarking on this long walk. Although not a hike, travelers reported very few areas where the surface is completely flat. Since it is a gorge, rocks are everywhere and traversing them for hours may be too much for those who aren't regularly active. Despite the challenge, many fawned over the beauty of the gorge. Make sure to observe the greenery, as there are hundreds of different plant species that populate the park. Also keep an eye out for the rare and endangered kri-kri, Crete's native goat.

Park entrance costs €5 EUR. Visitors are welcome from May through October 15th each year between 6 a.m. and 4 p.m. daily. You can drive yourself to the gorge, but that means you'll need to retrieve your car at the trailhead at Omalos — a daunting prospect after a long hike. Another option is taking a public bus (KTEL) from Chania to the trail; after your hike, you can catch a ferry from Agia Roumeli to Hora Sfakion, where you can take the bus back to Chania. For more information about ferry pricing and timetables, visit the ANENDYK website. Perhaps the easiest way to see the gorge is to take a guided tour, which will provide transportation to and from your hotel. You can book tours through Magical Journeys or Tourline.

See all Hotels in Crete »

More Best Things To Do in Crete

Rethymnon Old Town1 of 8
Elafonissi2 of 8
Type
Time to Spend
#1 Rethymnon Old Town

If you're in Rethymnon, then you shouldn't miss the opportunity to wander the narrow alleys of Old Town, a seaside neighborhood that dates back to the 11th century. Here you'll find prime examples of Venetian Renaissance architecture along with splashes of Turkish influence spread throughout the city.

The food and shopping options in Old Town are seemingly endless, but the maze-like streets can be perplexing. If you do get turned around, don't despair: The area isn't huge, and once you see the Venetian Fortezza or the harbor, you can easily regain your bearings. Recent travelers have actually embraced getting lost in Old Town because the streets are so charming, the locals are so kind and the food is so good. Case in point, Old Town Rethymnon is simply beautiful.

Read more
Romtomtom/Flickr
See full list of Best Things To Do in Crete »

Explore More of Crete

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.

Recommended

30 Top Florida Weekend Getaways

Spend sun-filled days exploring Florida's beautiful beaches, cities, parks and small towns.

Gwen PratesiDecember 9, 2019

The Best Travel Backpacks for 2020

U.S. News rated the best travel backpacks using recommendations from experts and consumers.

Lyn MettlerNovember 25, 2019

30 Top Wellness Retreats

Rejuvenate your mind, body and spirit at one of these relaxation-focused properties.

Kyle McCarthyNovember 21, 2019

30 Fun All-Inclusive Family Vacations

Book one of these all-inclusive trips that cover food, accommodations and activities galore.

Holly JohnsonNovember 14, 2019

5 Ways Cruise Lines Are Becoming More Environmentally Friendly

Industry considers impact as it looks to the future.

Gwen PratesiNovember 12, 2019

11 Unique and Quirky Cruise Destinations

Venture off the beaten path for an authentic cruising experience.

Christine SmithNovember 12, 2019

The 2020 Best Cruise Lines for Families

Gather up the gang and head out to sea with one of these six kid-friendly cruise lines.

Nicola WoodNovember 12, 2019

The Top Pyramids in Mexico to Visit

Add these ancient marvels to your Mexico vacation itinerary.

Lyn MettlerOctober 28, 2019

30 Top Babymoon Destinations, Trips and Ideas

From romantic beach getaways to big city adventures to glamping in the forest, these locales will inspire your babymoon planning.

Gwen PratesiOctober 15, 2019

15 Tips for Traveling While Pregnant

These tips will help pregnant women travel the world in comfort and style.

Holly JohnsonOctober 10, 2019