A highlight of Chania is the Samaria Gorge. The Gorge is said to be Europe’s longest. It begins below the Omalos Plateau and runs down through an ancient riverbed that flows between the peaks of the mountains to the Libyan Sea.
The most popular canyon in Europe!
At the foothills of the White Mountains, the province of Sfakia is home to the most famous gorge in Europe, the imposing Gorge of Samaria. The gorge became a national park in 1962, particularly as a refuge for the rare kri-kri (Cretan wildgoat),
The gorge,16 km long, starts from the plateau of Omalos, descends through a magical dense forest of cypresses and pine trees, passes between very narrow passages with vertical walls of a height of up to 500m, before reaching the seaside village of Agia Roumeli.
What to take with you on the walk?
- A water bottle which you can refill on the way.
- Sun cream and a hat, especially for the last part of the walk which has very little shade.
- Good shoes. These don’t have to be hiking boots but you won’t be contributing to your enjoyment by wearing tennis shoes or sandals.
- Some food. There is no food available inside the National Park.
- Something warm to wear for the early morning: it can be cold at 1200m.
- A supply of plasters in case of blisters.
How long does it take and how fit do you need to be?
A walk of 16 km on flat ground should take just over 3 hours if you walk at a brisk pace. This is theoretically quite easy in the gorge of Samaria as you are going down most of the time but the path requires some care and attention and the walk will take you a minimum of 4 hours of walking time. Add to this time to rest, to stop and look at the scenery, take photographs and you can count about 6 or 7 hours to cover the entire distance.