We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
Save Topic
Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

I will be in Chania May 21-23 and would like to hike the Samaria Gorge on May 22. I'd prefer to play it safe and buy a package deal on the transport (bus, boat, bus back to Chania). I have two questions about that. First, will I be able to book the excursion when I arrive in Chania on May 22, wanting to do the trip the next day, or should I book it ahead of time? I'll be in Rethymnon for a few days before and Iraklion before that, so should I book it from one of those towns? My preference is to do it in Chania, but I don't want to find it unavailable because I waited. And is there a difference between companies offering the trip? I think I read on the forum that one company had travellers stopping at a bar or two on the way back to Chania, and that doesn't appeal to me at all.

I'm a 60 ish woman traveling solo if that figures into any advice you might offer. I have all my hotels booked. Looking so forward to this hike! Thanks.

Harbin, China
Destination Expert
for Kanchanaburi
Level Contributor
22,578 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Hi,

I would book the one day package once you arrive in Chania. I can't recommend any particular company though.

Devizes, United...
Level Contributor
40,216 posts
339 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Hi there

Yes, leave it till you get to Chania, tours to the gorge are big business there and you will always find a seat, especially in May which is well before the main holiday peak season for visitors.

Sale, United Kingdom
Destination Expert
for Crete
Level Contributor
11,212 posts
82 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Yes, I agree, book it when you get there.

Weesp, The...
Level Contributor
3,020 posts
77 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

if you stay in Chania, you can do it easy by yourself. Early local Bus to the entrance, walk the gorge, boat to Chora Sfakion and Local bus back to Chania

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Thanks so much! It's great to put another thing in my "don't worry about it" box. I appreciate your prompt replies. If I wait till I'm in Chania, I can ask questions myself about the bus ride home. Thanks again.

Devizes, United...
Level Contributor
40,216 posts
339 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Hi again

To be honest, if you book an organised excursion, it won't be much dearer than 2 x long bus rides, a ferry ride and entrance to the gorge plus of course, you don't have to worry about finding buses, water taxis and the like. Your call naturally.

Chania Town, Greece
11 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

If you book an organised excursion though, be aware that the entrance price to gorge and the boat fare is not normally included in the prices they quote! (About another 12 euros total).

London, United...
Level Contributor
18,231 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

If you decide to take the organised excursion, the firms that run it are all pretty much of a muchness. The excursion certainly takes all guesswork out of the trip, but there is so little guesswork that it hardly matters, and you might as well save the few extra euros the excursion would cost you.

If you decide to do it independently, here are a few things to be aware of.

1. At Chania bus station, buy your return ticket from Chora Sfakion to Chania as well as your ticket to Omalos.

2. Once you've reached Agia Roumeli at the bottom of the gorge, go to the ferry ticket kiosk and buy your ferry ticket to Chora Sfakion. Then enjoy yourself either on Agia Roumeli's wonderful beach (don't forget your swimming things) or in one of the waterside tavernas until departure time.

3. Board the ferry 10-15 minutes before departure time and get yourself a seat on the upper deck of the ferry on the right hand side as you board. When the ferry turns you'll be on the side near the shore for the best views of this spectacular coastline.

4. Move down to the lower deck a few minutes before the ferry docks in Chora Sfakion so that you can be one of the first off and be sure of a seat on the bus. It's not likely to be that crowded in May, but just to be sure.

Enjoy the walk: don't rush. Go slow, take as much time to stop and look around you as you like, and you'll have plenty of time to complete the walk before the ferry goes. This is one of the most beautiful walks, in one of the most special places, in the world.

Take something to eat with you: there is nowhere to buy food in the gorge. As for water, you need only one small bottle: you can refill it from the springs at the rest stops along the way.

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
22 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

Thank you so much Alabastron. These are just the kind of specifics I'm interested in! Really, the only reason I'm interested in the package deal is to prevent me from hurrying through the walk due to worrying about getting a boat ticket. But it sounds like that wouldn't be a problem.

Thanks for your tips about which side of the boat to choose and getting off quickly at Chora Sfakion. Now all I have to do is endure the waiting . . . .

London, United...
Level Contributor
18,231 posts
10 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Samaria Gorge--booking an excursion?

You don't need to worry: there will be no problem getting your ferry ticket, and you don't need to rush. If you take the first bus and start down at 9am, and go at a leisurely pace, you will probably take around six or seven hours for the walk, and still arrive in Agia Roumeli in time for a swim or a beer before the 17.30 ferry (a difficult decision for many! Not for me, though: all I want to do is plunge into the sea.) My husband and I took nine hours on our first trip in 1984 - and I still managed a swim.

And even if you missed the ferry, you'd spend the night in one of Agia Roumeli's hotels, see the stars while having supper at one of its good tavernas, and make your way back to Chania the next day. It won't happen - but if it did, you'd enjoy it. I stay in Agia Roumeli for several days every year: it's one of my favourite places.

Wear good, strong walking shoes, and take your time on the first part of the walk, the Xyloscala: that's where falls are most likely to happen as the steps are steep and slippery.

Here is the ferry timetable:

www.anendyk.gr/pages/en/timetable.php?lang=EN

And here is a link to some good information about the gorge:

http://www.west-crete.com/samaria-gorge.htm

Edited: 4:12 pm, April 01, 2012