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“Absolutely essential hike, if you don't mind getting up early!”

Samaria Gorge National Park
Experience for Yourself
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Full Day Tour to Samaria Gorge
Ranked #1 of 10 things to do in Sfakia
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
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.
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28 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
“Absolutely essential hike, if you don't mind getting up early!”
Reviewed August 20, 2009

It doesn't matter how long you're on Crete for, you must do the Samaria Gorge hike, but depending on the time you visit it could either be pretty busy or closed (rainy season). Book a trip with your local travel agent and a coach will pick you up early in the morning, convey you through the rising sun and deposit you at the head of the gorge. You need to pay a small fee to enter, but this may be included in your ticket.

Your view from the top will give you an idea of how high you've climbed and also the good news is it's all downhill from there. Descending through fragrant pine forests, past bubbling brooks and eventually emerging into the main boulder-strewn gorge itself, at every turn a wonderful view, you'll enjoy every moment. One piece of advice - take proper walking boots as it's a long way down and you need ankle support whatever your age.

Eventually you emerge into a long open valley without shade and have the final stretch down to Agia Roumeli where there are plenty of Tavernas to choose from.

One of my most delicious memories of Crete: after the 4-hour hike, diving deep down into the Libyan Ocean to find cool water (it's hot on the surface) and then sinking an ice-cold Mythos from a chilled tankard - absolute bliss!

Your tour will then finish with a ferry journey along beautiful, untouched coastline (passing the inaccessible by road, Loutro) dropping you at Hora Sfakion, where your coach awaits to take you home.

7 Thank Nick A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Level Contributor
12 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“Fantastic Experience”
Reviewed July 14, 2009

My partner and I love walking, although only do a long walk once a year. We had heard about the Samaria Gorge before we visited Crete and decided to schedule a day to do it.

We woke up at 6am to get the 7am bus from Rethymnon. It took nearly 3 hours to get to Omalos via Chania and was not cheap at €30 for the two of us. We looked into taking the car but there is no way to get from the bottom of the gorge back to Omalos as the buses do not run back there.

The walk is incredibly sceanic. There are water fountains every 3km. There is no food available and you need to take your own. There is a shop just before the entrance where you can buy food. In the last 6km, there are no water fountains but there are streams where you can dip your hands to cool down. The last 6km is also un shaded so it does get very very hot.

The park costs €5 to enter. We started at 10am and we were walking at a relatively quick pace with 15 minute stop for lunch and by the time we got to the boat, it was 3.15pm. The boat takes one hour to get to the bus and costs €8. We then had to get a bus to Vlyssos and change again for Rethymnon. The overall journey was €30 again for the two of us.

Overall, a very long and tiring day but worth every aching pain as it was a fantastic experience.

8 Thank himpantsou
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Samaria Gorge - In and Out in one day”
Reviewed June 30, 2009

My wife and I were in Crete in late May. We had read that the gorge was not to be missed so we went for it. Most folks opt for a tour, which drops you off at the top. Then you hike down, enjoy lunch at the bottom, take a ferry to the nearest seaside town with road access and then the bus takes you back to Hania. We wanted to try the round trip hike so we rented a car and drove up ourselves. It was a beautiful, slightly nerve racking drive up from Hania to the top of the gorge. I'm not going to spend time describing the hike in great detail because many have already done so but we noticed that there were no reviews that included the hike up so that's why I'm writing one. It took us 4 hours to get down and we decided to give the return hike a try after a 45 minute lunch. I think only a handful of people try the return each day and we spent a fair bit of time side stepping those who were still on the way down. Once we got through the first couple of kms the path cleared up. The walk down is quite steep at first and a little tough on the knees and thighs but it is a well marked path that can be attempted by just about anyone who doesn't lead a completely sedentary life. Make no mistake, it is 16 km and quite rough and rocky so it shouldn't be attempted by couch potatoes, but anyone who can walk a golf course and not be exhausted can certainly handle this. The walk back makes it quite a bit tougher. The first 12 kms are a gradual incline so it doesn't feel too bad. The hike did start to get tougher at about 7 km to go, just after the old town of Samaria, as the path gets quite steep and zig zags back towards the top. I must admit I was quite tired by the end and the last 4 kms were very slow and quite difficult. My wife is in exceptional shape so it wasn't too bad for her. The hike up took 5 hours. So the bottom line is.. the walk down is not a walk in the park but doable for most people - we saw everyone from young kids to people wearing sandals to very overweight folks completing it (I can't speak for how they felt the next morning). Adding the hike back up is for fairly experienced hikers only and is a certainly a good challenge. 32 km is a lot and when you throw in large elevation changes and uneven terrain it must be respected. Only for the adventurous but if you do a lot of hiking it's highly recommended.

7 Thank Rossinator
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
“Great experience, but LOOOONNNG Day”
Reviewed June 26, 2009

Our tour picked us up at 6am and dropped us off at 9pm, so be prepared! A great experience though, and very glad we did it. It is a long, somewhat challenging hike especially if it is hot out. The ride up to the gorge is very long from Hania. Bring a packback with a bathing suit because there is only 1 ferry out of the gorge after your done and its at 530pm. the beach at the end is black rocks so too hot sit on sand. back to the gorge itself, beautiful sites and just a great excursion but you have to be prepared for long day.

Thank JBones77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
65 reviews
5 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 37 helpful votes
“Stunning scenery but sturdy footwear essential”
Reviewed June 15, 2009

We visited the gorge early June.

The bus journey from our hotel was quite lenthy (over 5 hours). We were picked up at 4am & dropped back off at the hotel at midnight.

I was so worth the visit. It was a good walk, hard on the knees though. There are natural springs along the way so you can refill your drinking water, meaning you dont have to carry heavy bottles around. The scenery and park were stunning & the village was lovely.

The walk along the revine is not shaded so make sure you wear a hat & plenty of suntan lotion. Also sturdy shoes are a must.

We went through an organised tour with Olympic Holidays, their charge (around 50-55 euros) does not include park entry or the boat ride at the end to get you back to the coach. The charge for this will be 13 euros, which they will ask you for on the coach.

3 Thank slinkygoers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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