A lot of people think that Crete is just a cheap beach destination for people in need of a quick relaxation break. However, Crete also has some incredible off the beaten path adventures to offer that most people don’t know about.

Did you know that Crete is great for hiking for example? Crete is home to the Samaria Gorge which is the longest gorge in Europe. The gorge is located in the southwest of Crete and was declared a National Park in 1962. It was formed over thousands of years through a small river running between the White Mountains and Mount Volakias. It is possible to hike the entire length of the gorge which is about 18km.

It is a demanding 5-7 hour walk through sometimes rough terrain and river beds, but you will also get rewarded with absolutely stunning vistas. You start the walk from the beautiful little village of Omalos. The National Park opens at 6am and to avoid the hot sun I would advice you to start that early. Late spring or early autumn usually sees the least hikers, but even if you are visiting during peak season it is still not overrun with hikers. You don’t need a guide for the hike either as the path is well marked.

You will start the hike at an altitude of 1,250 m. The beginning of the hike is pretty spectacular as you will descent almost 1000m in just 2km. Once you have reached the bottom you can take a little rest at the beautiful chapel of Agios Nikolaos. The most adventurous part of the hike is when you reach the iron gate. At the iron gate the walls of the gorge narrow to a mere 3m in width but also rise up to 300m in height. You can almost touch both walls with your hands. Walking through this part of the gorge will certainly make you feel like Indiana Jones in search of a hidden treasure. You will end the hike at the shores of the Libyan Sea in Agia Roumeli. From there your can either sail to the nearby village of Sougia or Hora Sfakion, where you could spend a night, or you can catch a bus back to Chania.

The trek through the Samaria Gorge is probably one of the most scenic and adventurous in Europe. If you like hiking it is definitely a hike worth doing.

Practicalities:

  • Getting to Crete is very easy and Crete flights are available from most Europen cities.
  • Once you are in Crete there are daily buses from Chania to the head of the gorge (marked Omalos) and buses depart from the Chania Central Bus Station at 07:45. The trip takes one hour and the round trip fare is €14.30. From Sougia or Chora Sfakion buses depart to Chania at 18:30.
  • The National Park entrance fee is €5.
  • At Agia Roumeli you can find restaurants and accommodation.
  • Boats to Chora Sfakion or Sougia from Agia Roumeli leave at 17:00. The fare is €10.

 

About Tammyonthemove

Tammy & Chris are a couple hailing from Germany and England, meaning between them they are efficient and polite, but unable to talk about football. Find out why they stopped pushing pens around the British civil service to travel the world on their blog.

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