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“Nature at it's best”

Samaria Gorge National Park
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Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge
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Samaria Gorge Tour from Chania - The Longest Gorge in Europe
Ranked #1 of 12 things to do in Sfakia
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Owner description: Believed to be one of the most scenic national parks in Europe, this gorge stretches more than 10 miles to the south coastal region and offers many hiking trails.
Reviewed July 25, 2013

We decided to hike the Samaria Gorge while in Crete. It is a beautiful place with well kept trails. Probably not the best idea if you have bad knees as the first part is all downhill. We didn't feel as though there were a lot of people in the gorge. We kept a pretty good pace and were alone for long sections. We went with a bus tour from Chania. When we were finished we enjoyed lunch and drinks at a tavern and looked out at the sea. The beach is nice but very hot on the feet!!

1  Thank Christen B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 23, 2013

Had a great day out in the Gorge. Fabulous scenery and, because the tour company brought us out so early, we were able to start the hike just after the Gorge opened, enjoying the coolest and quietest part of the day.
We booked through a travel agent in Chania, close to the bus station. ELYROS TRAVEL
Address: KORLIDI SQ. 1866 CHANIA
Phone: 00302821074191
Turn right out of bus station, continue for a short distance and as you turn left into Korlidi Square they are located on the corner, with an ATM machine on their wall.
They were very helpful and almost as cheap as travelling independently on the normal bus service from the bus station, but with the benefit of a very knowledgeable and interesting guide (Thomas) and the advantage of being collected and returned to our accommodation in Agia Marina.
Thomas worked for the tour company that they employed (Elafonissos Travel, Tel 003028210 33500, 32030), and it was their bus that picked us up.

5  Thank terrypoole1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 22, 2013

The Samaria Gorge is something you have to do if you are capable to do so. It’s stunningly beautiful and you’ll never regret it, at least not if you do it right.

What’s right for me may not be right for you, but if you’ve never been, here is a few tips for you.

What to bring
Sensible shoes. It’s not a cleared path as in a park, and while it’s not rough per se, it’s a rugged terrain and your foot is likely to slip on gravel from time to time. I left my hiking boots back home since they took too much space in my bags. Instead I had brought pair of running shoes. It was no problem at all, but ultimately the support provided by hiking boots is preferred, even if it’s hot.
A light daypack with a little snack or an energy bar and 0,5L of water. You are able to refill on water as you go along, so no need for big bottles.
I suggest a bandana, a cap or something lightweight to put on your head for shade and/or keeping sweat away.
An extra t-shirt for when the walk is over and maybe flip-flops.
Depending on how fast you walk, you will be stuck at the beach for a number of hours before you can board the ferry and most likely you’ll want to take a swim. “If” it’s hot you’ll sun dry, but if you feel like carrying it, bring a small towel.

Getting there
What are your options? Bus, car/(motor)bike or ferry. For most day tourists, I think the preferred option is arriving at the top or start of the gorge by bus and leave by ferry at the bottom.
Arriving by car or motorbike is only and option if you make the return walk. I kind of get the feeling this is an option not chosen by many.
There is accommodation at the bottom by the beach, in a little township.

Arriving by ferry is an option if you don’t want to walk the entire gorge. You can walk up from the bottom as far as you feel like and make the return walk to the ferry. I would suggest this option if your hiking legs are not what they used to be.

We skipped the travel agency’s tour, got up early, took a public bus from Agia Marina to Chania and got on the first bus to Samaria Gorge from Chania. Aside from saving a few bucks, this option gave us a head start of about an hour or more. It’s not a competition, but if you prefer a less crowded trail, this is the way to do it.
Make sure you buy a return ticket.

The walk
We walked somewhat fast paced, meaning we got away from the slower walkers and those who clearly didn’t think when choosing footwear. The advantage is you get a less crowded experience. It’s not like we’re antisocial, but …you know, people! ;-)
Plus you get less crowded pictures as well, and you’re likely to take a lot of, the gorge and it’s changing views invites you to shoot constantly.

You walk on anything from rocky paths to trails to the river bed and log bridges. The latter may seem a bit shaky, but it’s all fine. I’m not saying you will not get hurt if you fall, but most likely the greatest danger is getting wet.
Choose wisely when picking footwear.

A bit down the gorge you come by the abandoned village, where the locals lived before the gorge was turned into a national park. If you brought a snack or food, this could be a place to take a break.

There are a lot of things to look at, but remember to look out for the kri-kri goats climbing the steep sides of the gorge. They may be a little hard to spot at first, but you’ll see them for sure.
The gorge is patrolled by park rangers, I assume to look out for both the gorge and the tourists. Clearly not all of them are big fans of being photographed, at least not the one I tried to snap.

How to find your way? No worries, you can't get it wrong, there's only one way to go.

After the walk
When you exit the gorge, you may be both relieved you did it and disappointed that it’s over.
You’ll pass two cafés right at the exit of the park, where you can cool down. Alternatively you keep walking a bit further on, where you’ll have more restaurants to choose from, including those on the beach.

Sore feet? Cool of in the sea of maybe try the local fish skin peeling place. If this place is still open for business, it’s likely cheaper here than in other places.

You are stuck at the beach until the ferry arrives, so you might as well kick back and relax.
The locals are fully aware you are stuck with nowhere to go and have made a business of it.

If you've still got energy, there is a castle (ruin) on top of the mountain, visible from the beach. If I remember correctly, it’s an estimated one hour to walk up there. I kinda wish we had done it, but also remember being happy relaxing at the beach, not having to think about being back in time for the ferry.

The ferry makes one or two stops on the way to the pick-up point where the busses are waiting, including the public busses.

10  Thank Michael P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

There is no disputing the gorge has remarkable beuaty and grandeur. Despite hot weather elsewhere, the majority of the gorge walk is shaded, and the heat presented NO problems.

However, you body does take a serious beating, unless you are a kri kri (local goat). I wore my most comfortable leather padded boating shoes, and my family all wore walking sneakers. Because we were travelling for three weeks, we could not devote the weight in our luggage to a separate pair of hiking shoes for this one day. While differnt shoes may have prevented the blisters on my feet, they could not change the muscle fatigue in my legs.

Imagine walking down a fairly steep graded slope, walking on uneven stones the size of cantoulopes embedded in mud. Now, think of walking this way for over one hour (the first part of the trek). We ski every year, and my quads have never burned the way they did in Samaria on the way down. With time and a desire to make it to the end, your body adapts and learns ways to cope with the everchanging slopes and rock patterns. I found that "playing hopscotch" on the larger rocks was least damaging and exhausting. After a while, all he leg muscles fatigue and the cold Libyan sea at the end helps to revive the body.

While the body suffers, the soul and other senses (other than pain) are rewarded with magnificent vistas and everchanging mountain, forest and eventuially riverbed views.

I was reluctant to drink the "crystal clear" water for fear of parasites, but did not want to play sherpa and carry 8 L of water for me and family, so I indulged. 2 weeks later, I have not suffered any consequences.

It is hard to sum up the walk. I think it is a must for anyone who likes nature. Expect that you body will take a beating. BTW- the tour guides used ski poles to help keep their footing - although I did not notice ski poles being sold atop the gorge. Bathroom facilities are present in the gorge but primitive. Water ("crystal clear +/- parasites) is available in each of four stops along the walk.

7  Thank GRtraveler_8
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

This was breath taking in beauty and in exercise. There where all sizes and ages hiking the gorge and anyone can do it, but you will pay for it the next day! Please please please take the right type of shoes! tennis shoes or hiking boots. My friend hiked it in toms and it was really tough. if you run out of water you can drink from the crystal clear streams. Take a swimsuit and hop in the cool sea at the end. Take a cap!

2  Thank heck23
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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