Samaria Gorge (from Chania)
We start our journey with a bus ride through the heart of western Crete and reach the famous Omalos plateau which is surrounded by the splendid Lefka Ori (White Mountains). Just 38 km from the town of Chania and we will have reached a height of 1250 m above sea level. It is here that we come across Xyloskalo where the path of the world famous Samaria Gorge begins. Opposite, the wild mountain of Gigilos stands tall peaking at 2080 m in full view .
The Samaria Gorge houses rare fauna and flora and has therefore been proclaimed a national park for its preservation. The gorge of Samaria is the longest in Europe at 18 km. Its width ranges from between 150m to 3m at its narrowest point. Six hours should see you through in comfort and leave you time to take photos along the way -as you will certainly want to do. There are no particular difficulties as it gradually makes its way down toward sea level. Be sure to wear strong and comfortable footwear. No sandals!
The initial descent is as breathtaking as you could wish, zigzagging 600 m down where you reach a picnic area at the bottom. Here you will find a river, a trickle in the summer but a rush of wild water in winter. A tiny stone church, Agios Nikolaos, stands beside the river, which you cross and re-cross under the eucalyptus and chestnut trees. Stupendous grey corries curve away to the east as you approach the abandoned village of Samaria under giant cliffs near the halfway point. Its few houses were evacuated in 1962. It was always a resistance centre. The Turks never managed to take it, and it proved to be a nest of vipers for the Nazis during WWII. There are fountains here and picnic tables under the trees. Across the gorge is the little church of Ossia Maria built in 1379, after which both village and gorge where named.
Now comes the drama. The gorge deepens and steepens into sheer rock walls, the sides falling together until you can almost feel them snap shut. Thick bands of white quartzite and black rock writhe along the cliffs overhead. Even the chatterers fall silent under the spell of this overwhelming place. At last the path, twisting over the pebbles, threads its way through the famous sideroportes, rocky walls less than 3 m apart that tower well over 300 m into the sky.
Throughout the entire length of the gorge there are streams and springs with fresh mountain water that is fine to drink. You know you’ve made it through when you reach the port village of Agia Roumeli. Here we will meet up at the Taverna Kri Kri’ where we will arrange the boat tickets. At the Tavern you can enjoy lunch and if you have made it through the gorge in ample time you may get a chance for a swim in the crystal clear fresh waters of the Libyan Sea. The boat leaves for Sougia and we are back at about 20.00.
Price: AD 29// CH 15 (3-12 years old)
Duration: 12 hours, starts at 07.45
Included: Round trip transfers & guide
Excluded: Entrance to the gorge 5€ /Children up to 15 years old free entrance, boat ticket 10€ /Children 6-11 years old – 5€
Runs: Daily except Friday from 1/5 to 15/6. Daily from 16/6-20/10
Meeting point: Your hotel or at specific pick up points close to it
Language: English & German
Cancellation policy: Up to 48 hours prior 100% cancellation fees. Before that relevant bank charges are withheld only
Important note: Be sure to wear strong and comfortable footwear. No sandals