Located in the southwestern part of Crete, the imposing Samaria Gorge stands out among the other equally impressive natural landscapes on the island. This place has been a national park ever since 1962, attracting thousands of travelers from all over the world to Chania region on a daily basis. As the longest trekking gorge in Europe and as part of the European E4 path, this is an excellent option for nature enthusiasts and lovers of adventure to enjoy the surroundings. But beware of the length, since it takes about 4 to 7 hours to complete the entire path and this can be intimidating to some.
If you are wondering how Samaria Gorge came to form over the years, the answer lies to a small river flowing from the White Mountains and Mount Volakas. At the northern entrance, you will be greeted by many other fellow hikers for sure. The altitude at that point reaches 1,250 meters and you will be challenged to complete the path, all the way to Agia Roumeli and the Libyan sea shores. One of the most important things to remember about this destination of exemplary beauty and unique ecological value is the fact that the gorge is home to the endemic Cretan wildgoat. You may have heard the word “kri-kri”, which is how the locals refer to this rare species. But this is not the only rarity you will come across on your trekking experience to Samaria Gorge. Over 450 species of flora have been documented on site, so be sure to preserve that.
As for the most famous part of the gorge, this is hands down the “Iron Gates” or simply put “Gates”. This is where the two sides of the gorge almost kiss one another, at a total width of no more than 4 meters. Can you imagine that? And to top it all, the height of the two sides goes up to 300 meters! Inside the gorge you will also be able to visit the abandoned yet charming village of Samaria, named after the old church within the area of Osia Maria.
Of course, it is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to visit Samaria Gorge and make it all the way to both sides. However, there are other options for those who wish to visit just a part of this grandiose landscape. Either way, you should not miss out on this spectacular gorge of Crete and enjoy nature’s bliss at its peak!