The SAMARIA GORGE is the most famous hiking gorge in Europe, forming part of the European E4 path. It is also the second largest gorge in Europe. It is located at the southernmost point of the Prefecture of Chania, in Western Crete, which is in the heart of the White Mountains. Its length is 16km and descent (on foot) takes between 5 – 8 hours, starting from Omalos in the “Xyloskalos” area and ending in Agia Roumeli. The Samaria Gorge became a National Park in 1962, mainly acting as a refuge for the endangered Cretan wild goat, which is today restricted to the Samaria Gorge and to the island of Theodore, opposite the town called Agia Marina in Chania. There are many species of fauna and flora local to the gorge and the surrounding area.
HOW TO GET TO OMALOS – XYLOSKALOS
ENTRANCE TO THE SAMARIA GORGE
By car. The distance is 40km from the center of CHANIA and the driving time is about 1 hour.
*From Sougia you may take the boat to Agia Roumeli and then take the “reverse” route to the Gorge, which will lead you to a 1300 metre climb to Xyloskalos.
By bus with KTEL. From the central bus station located at Kydonias & Parth. Kelaidi, Chania, 73100, tel. +30 28210-93052. DEPARTURES 6:15, 7:45, 8:45 journey time 1 hour 15 minutes. https://e-ktel.com
From a travel agency that has organised an excursion package that includes a bus and a tour guide.
Even for those that prefer a shorter hiking route, from the port of Agia Roumeli, you can reach the famous “Doors” (“Portes” – entrance at the bottom of the Gorge) or “Iron doors” / “Iron gates” point in an hour’s walk (about 2km) and then return back to Agia Roumeli. This entrance has a width of just 4m, while it rises to a height of 500m!