Whilst on your holidays to the island of Crete, why not take a hike along the Samaria Gorge, you won’t be disappointed!
Also known as the Farangas or Great Gorge, the Samaria Gorge is located in West Creete, in the White Mountains and was declared a national park in 1962.
The Gorge starts at Xyloskalo and runs down for 16 kilometres to the seaside village of Agia Roumeli on the south coast of Crete. The walk the Samaria National Park is actually only 13 kilometres but you have to walk a further 3 kilometres to Agia Roumeli.
The most famous part of the gorge is the ‘Iron Gates’ where the gorge narrows to a width of just four metres, rising to a height of 500 metres.
When the gorge was declared a national park, the inhabitants of Samaria Village were relocated. However old tradition houses still stand here. A short distance from the village is the church of Osia Maria (Holy Mary), from which the name Samaria was taken.
The plants and animals in the park are protected by International law, flowers must not be picked!
Whilst hiking the gorge you will see magnificent plant species (about 450), pine trees and the huge cypress trees. You will also see the Cretian wild goats, known as ‘kri-kri’ by tourists and ‘agrimia’ by locals.
The best time to visit the gorge is during the spring when the weather is cooler, th worse time is during the summer in a heat wave!
The gorge is usually open from May to October but is closed on rainy days as the rain can cause rock falls.