Come and explore the Gorge of Samaria. This excursion is one of the longest but also the most beautiful you can experience.
Our adventure starts very early in the morning since the gorge is situated on the western side of the island. Our first stop is in the vicinity of Rethimnon. We have the chance to get our breakfast before moving on to Omalos Plateau. The walk starts from Xiloskalo. At the entrance of the gorge, we enter this vast canyon of 18 km that is considered to be the longest in Europe. Canyon width varies from 2 to 40 meters and a depth of 250-600 meters. We usually need 6-7 hours to cross the rocky gorge down to the shore.
The path follows the route of Taras, a river with gurgling, lucid water. It gave its name to the ancient town which was located at the end of the gorge. On the way, we can get a glimpse of the caves that formed a natural shelter for the Cretans. In war times and now they are the natural habitat of the well-known wild goats, or kri-kri, as they are also called. Halfway we come across the village of Santa Maria, which was abandoned by its last inhabitants in 1962.
The amazingly wild and unspoiled scenery, as well as the vegetation that we come in view of during hiking, is unparalleled to those in other places on Crete.
Three kilometres prior to our exiting this majestic gorge, we reach the Iron Gates (Sideroportes), the narrowest spot of the route, just a few meters wide, but 300 meters high – an amazing contradiction that can cause nothing but awe.
A bit later we will arrive in the small fishing village of Agia Roumeli, where we have quite a long time to lunch and enjoy a refreshing swim in the deep blue, crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea before boarding the ship that will take us back along the coast to the village of Sfakia, where we will catch the bus for our return trip.
On the way back we will have the chance to admire Imbros Gorge, as well as the villages of Askifou and Vrisses.
This is an excursion for those who feel adventurous and are in good physical condition.
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Covid didn't stop us from traveling and for sure from taking this walk. Bit of an early wake up since we were staying at Hersonisos but totally worth it. The road trip to Omalos was a little boring to be honest since there wasn't much to do on the bus but once we arrived at the gorge and began our walk we were more than excited. It has great views and the vegetation there is very beautiful. Fun fact: we didn't expect to find any goats as the description said but omg they are really there! Well, they don't pay much attention to you because they are either eating or taking a walk but they are always willing to take some pictures. The beach at the end of the route was absolutely gorgeous. Since it was a hot day, we enjoyed the cold waters and took some of the fatigue off. Just a tip: Bring cold water with you in your backpack and maybe a snack during the walk cause, trust me, you will get thirsty. So, to sum up it was a great experience and we would do that again once we come back to Crete on our next vacation.
Not a morning person but decided to escape my comfort zone and try it anyway. Long walk and some paths were a bit difficult (a special thanks to my gym back home) but all in all an amazing experience. *thumbs up*
Loooooong walk! It does pay off though, the gorge is stunning and the beach at the end exactly what you need after hours of walking. We saw wild goats, sailed at the end with the boat and had an amazing time
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