Did you know that Samaria Gorge is the longest canyon in Europe? It is the most important natural landmark in Crete and the second most popular point of interest on the island after the Minoan Palace of Knossos. If you rent a car in Chania, we recommend you exploring the wider region around the town, which is full of interesting places to visit. One of them is Samaria Gorge, which is ideal for the lovers of hiking as well as for those travellers, who want to discover the breathtaking natural beauty of Crete. Read here everything you need to know about this incredible must-see in Crete.
How to go to Samaria Gorge
Samaria Gorge is located in the prefecture of Chania, inside the National Park of Lefka Ori (White Mountains). You can stay in Chania town and take a guided tour to access the gorge or go there by the public transportation. A bus starts early in the morning every day and ends up in Xyloskalo, the starting point. If you hike the gorge, whose route ends up in the coastal town of Agia Roumeli, then you can take the boat to go back to Chania. The most convenient way to go to the gorge is of course by car, but remember that hiking the whole gorge lasts about 7 hours. So, it is impossible to go back to take your car in the same day.
Hiking in Samaria Gorge
The most popular activity is hiking in the gorge. Although it is a long route, it is something even beginners can do, and the landscape is just fantastic. The entrance fee is 5€, and the gorge is open to the public from May to October. While hiking in Samaria Gorge, you will admire the wild scenery, pass through wooden bridges, see the Cretan wild goats (kri-kri) and walk inside forests with pine and cedar trees surrounded by unique flora and the famous all over the world Cretan herbs.
What to see in Samaria Gorge
In addition to these amazing experiences, don’t miss out some important points of interest inside the gorge. The Church of Saint Nikolas is built in the lowest point of the gorge, on the ruins of an ancient temple. Samaria Village is located in the middle of the gorge, and it is a perfect stop to get rest for a while. The village is now abandoned, but there is an information desk, a doctor’s office and a guard point. Iron Gates is the end of the Gorge before reaching the coastal town Agia Roumeli, which overlooks the Libyan Sea in an exotic scenery. In this route, you can admire a Venetian castle and ruins from prehistoric settlements.