An excursion that you cannot miss is the one to Samaria Gorges, a route of 16 km. suitable for both experienced and non-experienced hikers who descend from the 1250 meters of Omalos to the beach of Agia Roumeli, on the Libyan Sea. The route takes place through extraordinary landscapes, starting by walking through a forest and then entering the gorge with high rock walls. Its width varies from a maximum of 150 meters to a minimum of 3 meters, with vertical walls that reach 500 meters at the highest points.
The ticket for the Samaria Gorges costs 5 euros. It is not possible to stay overnight in the gorge, it is necessary to complete the crossing before closing. On “too” hot days, with temperatures above 40 ° degrees, the gorges are closed for safety reasons.
How to reach the Gorges of Samaria
For the day trip to Samaria I suggest you to use public transport as we did.
Go early in the morning to the Chania bus station and buy a ticket to Omalos, we took the bus leaving at 6:15 am. I know you’re thinking this is a real turn-up, but trust me, it’s worth it.
The bus ticket, cost € 14.30 round trip, will leave you at the entrance to the gorge in Omalos. You will feel like you are in the high mountains, in the Dolomites.
The end of the route is in Agia Roumeli, from here the only way to move is to take a boat, 5.50 euros, which will take you to Sfakia where you will take the bus back to Chania, you will arrive around 20:00, tired but satisfied.
The Gorges are very popular, so I advise you to leave early to anticipate organized trips and be able to make the route with greater tranquility.
Gorges of Samaria - The route
The route takes from four to six hours, do not be scared by the distance and the length, my children of ten and twelve have completed the route without problems.
For the first six kilometers the canyon is wide until the abandoned village of Samaria, a few steps south of the village stands a small church dedicated to Santa Maria Egiziace.
After Samaria the gorge shrunk becoming much more suggestive up to km. 11 where the walls are only 3.5 meters away from each other: the Iron Gates.
Nearby, a rickety wooden walkway about twenty meters long allows you to cross the stream and reach the other side.
The canyon ends at km. 12.5 north of the semi-abandoned village of old Agia Roumeli. From here continue for 2 km. on a less interesting stretch to the coastal town of Agia Roumeli, known for its pebble beach and the blue sea towards which most hikers head for a refreshing swim, be careful: the water is very cold.
In Agia Roumeli you can treat yourself to an “alternative” pedicure practiced by small fish. In this location you can sit at the tavern overlooking the sea for a lunch or simply to have a refreshing drink.
Gorges of Samaria - Clothes
If, like us, you leave early, I suggest you bring a sweatshirt: the start is in the “mountains” and therefore quite cool.
No particular technical equipment is required but, since you walk on stones and ground that can be slippery, I recommend comfortable shoes: gymnastics are fine or, better still, hiking boots.
Remember to bring something to eat and water even if there are fountains along the way. The only refreshment point is upon arrival.