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Hiking Samaria Gorge from Chania

One of the more open parts of hike

If there is one thing that people really should do when visiting Crete, it is hiking the Samaria Gorge. The hike through the gorge is 16km, 13km for the hike in the gorge itself and a further 3km from the exit of the park to Agia Roumeli on the southern coast of Crete. For me, the best way to do this hike is on a day trip via the capital city of the island, Chania. This trip can be done using just public transport and you don’t need to book tickets in advance. Read on to discover how hiking Samaria Gorge from Chania is simple and easy to do.

Getting to the Gorge

The start of the gorge is a place called Xyloskalo. From the main bus station in Chania, you need to take a bus to Omalos. There are two buses each morning making this route, one at 0745 and one at 0845. Which one you take depends on your personnel preference but I decided to take the early bus to get to the gorge as early as possible. The advantage of this is that it gives you more time to do the hike rather than having to hurry for your ferry at the other end. It takes approximately one hour for the bus to leave Chania to arrive in Xyloskalo and the costs is €16 for a return ticket.

Where the bus drops you at the start of the hike

Where the bus drops you at the start of the hike

 

Small shop and cafe for supplies

Small shop and cafe for supplies

 

The usual rules and regulations!

The usual rules and regulations!

 

Hiking the Gorge

The ticket to enter the park costs €5 (children under 15 get in for free) and you can only enter between 1st May and 15th October. The visiting hours for the park are 0700 – 1500. After this time, you will only be able to travel 2km before you have to go back, so make sure you are there with plenty of time and not disappointed! You should be able to do the hike in 4 hours at a minimum. Add in some time for rest stops and photo taking and you are probably looking at closer to 6 hours total time.

The hike itself was not exactly difficult (apart from the later heat) but the start is probably the most ‘difficult’ i.e. the part where you need to be careful. It is basically a series of corkscrews descending down from the top of the park to the gorge itself.

The start of the hike, a lot of walking downhill

The start of the hike, a lot of walking downhill

 

At the bottom of the gorge

At the bottom of the gorge

 

While the start of the hike is mostly over loose stones/rocks, there are also large sections which resemble more of a mountain bike trail. The scenery is stunning!

One of the easier parts of the hike

One of the easier parts of the hike

 

Great scenery!

Great scenery!

 

The path through Samaria Gorge contains many old buildings which are perfect for exploring and taken some snaps of as well as resting the feet for a little!

The chapel of Ayios Nikolaos

The chapel of Ayios Nikolaos

 

Scenery on the hike

As I said before the scenery on the hike is beautiful. It’s hard to beat blue skies, trees and being in nature!

Lots of trees

Lots of trees

 

One of the more open parts of hike

One of the more open parts of hike

 

Little lizard

Little lizard

 

You can't beat a day spent like this

You can’t beat a day spent like this

 

Further on in the hike, the sides of the gorge come closer and closer together. These are some of the most popular photo opportunities, as well as offering some much needed shade from the 33 degrees sun!

The sides of the gorge get closer

The sides of the gorge get closer

 

Walking between two sides of the gorge

Walking between two sides of the gorge

 

A little stream runs in the gorge

A little stream runs in the gorge

 

Enjoying a little break from the sun in the shade

Enjoying a little break from the sun in the shade

 

The gorge!

The gorge!

 

The end of the hike

On the last section of the hike, the path starts to widen again until you finally come to the exit of the park. You can treat yourself with another 3km walk to the village of Agia Roumeli or you can do as I did, and wait for the minivan to take you to the village. The advantage of the minivan was getting to the well deserved ice cold beer on the coast even faster!

Wide open space

Wide open space

 

Almost at the finish line

Almost at the finish line

 

Waiting for the minivan and a well earned beer!

Waiting for the minivan and a well earned beer!

 

The village of Agia Roumeli

The village of Agia Roumeli

 

Enjoying the view with a beer

Enjoying the view with a beer

 

Returning to Chania

At the end of the gorge hike is the village of Agia Roumeli, right on the coast. If you take the first bus from Chania you can spend a couple of hours here relaxing before the journey back to Chania. There are two possible ferry trips running, one to Sougia and another to Chora Sfakion. You want to take the ferry to Chora Sfakion which leaves Agia Roumeli at 1730.

In Chora Sfakion, there will be a bus at 1830 that will take you back to Chania. This bus will wait for the ferry to arrive, so you don’t need to worry about missing the bus!

Things to bring on the hike:

A water bottle (this can be refilled in the park)

Sun cream (the end of the hike is quite open. When I was there in August, it was over 30C)

Good shoes. You don’t need hiking shoes/boots as such but the start of the hike is very rocky downhill.

Food and snacks. There is a small shop at the start of the hike but there is no food options on the hike itself.

Extra Reading:

Public Buses in Crete

Ferry Information

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18 Comments

  • Reply
    Laura
    January 18, 2018 at 22:07

    What a beautiful hike! Not something I would have expected to do when visiting Crete but I will have to add it to my list, I love a good hike!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:17

      I hope you do it and enjoy as much as I did.

  • Reply
    Grace | Impulsive Adventures
    January 18, 2018 at 10:57

    What a fun way to spend a day! A beach at the end of the trail is the perfect reward for a day’s hard work. Good tip about the early bus! I’d be so bummed not to have time to relax in the village.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:16

      Definitely. You can go later but I think you need to relax and enjoy the scenery for a little before getting the ferry afterwards.

  • Reply
    Corinne
    January 17, 2018 at 17:28

    I have yet to go to Crete…but you can bet your bottom dollar I’ll get there…soonish. I love Cyprus…and imagine it’s very similar. Love the idea of the hike…

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:16

      I have been to both and yes I think they are similar. If you love Cyprus, you will love Crete too.

  • Reply
    Rohini
    January 17, 2018 at 09:17

    That seems to be a good hike! .. I have not heard about Samaria Gorge before . ..Thanks for the detailed post . Theer with the view must have been really soothing after the long hike ..

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:15

      It really was great to relax after the hike and the heat!

  • Reply
    Don @ Travelvoila
    January 16, 2018 at 17:34

    The 4 hours hike looks pretty demanding! And I will definitely wait for the mini van.. Cold Beer FTW!

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:15

      Haha we are the same on both those counts

  • Reply
    Punita
    January 16, 2018 at 13:40

    This is the first time I have heard about Samaria Gorge in Crete. That is 16 kilometres through some pretty rough terrain and fabulous scenery! It must have worth every minute. And a well-deserved rest awaited you at the village of Agia Roumeli.

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:14

      It was a really good day 🙂

  • Reply
    Marya
    January 15, 2018 at 16:02

    wow, the place is so picturesque! 😀

    i love the part where you could get a chance to take a pic of the lizard as it sat still. it’s hard to take a decent pic of animal, especially one like lizard. 😛

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:14

      That is so true. I think I had to take about 20 photos and luckily one came out ok in the end.

  • Reply
    Candy
    January 15, 2018 at 00:58

    Looks like a gorgeous hike! I would like this hike since it doesn’t seem that hard and I like that the hardest part of the hike is in the beginning when you are full of energy 🙂

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:13

      I wouldn’t say it is easy but its not like climbing Everest either! Easily manageable I would say!

  • Reply
    Amanda
    January 15, 2018 at 00:26

    Thank you for sharing in such great detail! I love that there is public transportation (my preferred method of travel to save costs) and that you don’t need to have hiking shoes. (less to pack).

    • Damien
      Reply
      Damien
      January 23, 2018 at 21:12

      I agree completely with you on this! Plus its less stressful I think and you get to do things at your own time.

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