I was initially nervous booking onto this trip. I was worried that due to the popularity of this hike, we would be shuffling around the route like a herd of cattle; but this excursion was absolutely nothing like that. Because the trek is so long, within the first kilometre everyone is starting to move at their own pace and there was actually large stretches of the hike where we were completely alone.
We were based in Platanias which is 20 minutes west of Chania town, with a pick up time of 5.50am. There is a small café around 10 minutes from the start point where you can stop and use the toilets, grab some breakfast and get a few snacks for the hike. The price of the trip was €28 per person, with an additional €5 each for the entrance fee, and €10 each for the ferry. You cannot rent a car for this route as the place the ferry drops you is not the same place as you start the hike. However, taking public buses may have been a viable option, which is something I will consider for next time I am in Crete. Samaria gorge hike is wonderfully beautiful but definitely should not be underestimated. It is a 16km walk, with a decent of 1230m, the majority of which is covered in the first 4km.
The views and spectacular nature on this hike are simply breathtaking. The first and most difficult part of this walk is luckily very shaded, but once the ground becomes flatter, and less shaded, the views become even better.
After that first couple of hours it begins to really feel like you are in the gorge – the tall rock formations at either side of you and the cool water running alongside. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Kri-Kri goats, which can only be found in Crete and are plentiful around Samaria Gorge. There is some unique fauna on this hike – make sure you take your time, capturing plenty of photos. There is absolutely no point in zooming around the hike in 3 hours, but taking none of the beautiful sights in.
When you finish the hike you will arrive in Agia Roumeli, and have the opportunity, time permitting to take a swim in the Libyan sea. There are a few places to grab something to eat and drink before getting the final ferry back to the bus. It’s quite a long journey from Agia Roumeli back to Platanias (around 1 hour on the boat and a further 1 and a half on the bus) so be sure to grab some water and snacks for the journey.
If you’re looking for something a little more relaxing for the day after hiking Samaria Gorge, be sure to check out Falassarna beach.
Essentials to take on your hike:
- A water bottle, (There’s plenty of fresh-water springs to fill up along the way, so don’t worry about carrying lots of heavy bottles with you)
- High factor sun cream. After the first hour or so the gorge opens up and there is absolutely no shade
- Some lightweight flip flops. Once the hike is finished you will (hopefully) have a couple of hours to relax on the beautiful beach. No better feeling than getting those hiking boots and taking a dip in the sea
- Lots of snacks. Once you’re on the trail, there’s nowhere to buy anything to eat. Take plenty of snacks including some fresh fruit to keep you going