Samariá Gorge

Useful Information

Location: Crete, Chania province
Open: Buses from Chania to Xyloskalo: Mon-Sat 6:15, 7:30 and 8:30.
Park: MAY to 15-OCT daily 7-15.
Boats from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion: All year daily 17:30.
Buses from Chora Sfakion to Chania: daily 18:30, the bus waits for the boat to arrive.
Fee: Buses from Chania to Xyloskalo: Adults EUR 6.20.
Park: Adults EUR 5.
Boats from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion: Adults EUR 7.50.
Buses from Chora Sfakion to Chania: Adults EUR 6.20.
Classification: GorgeGorge
Light: n/a
Dimension: L=12 km.
Guided tours:
Address: Samariá Gorge.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.


1962 gorge becomes National Park.


Samariá Gorge is the most famous gorge of Crete and whole Greece. It is said to be the longest gorge of Europe with a total length of 16 kilometers. Obviously this may be disputed, as there is no official statistic of gorges.

A walk through Samariá Gorge is a very popular day trip which starts with a bus ride to the upper end of the gorge. Then the visitors walk down the gorge about 12 km to its lower end at the sea. There is a trail along the sea three more kilometers to Agia Roumeli. Here boats pick up the hikers and bring them to Hora Sfakion where the busses wait at the harbour. This trips are offered by several tour operators and participants are picked up at their respective hotel. It is also possible to use public transport and do it on your own.

The walk through Samariá Gorge is actually a must for Crete visitors. The tour is not difficult except for the fact that it is necessary to walk 16 kilometers in the rather hot climate, which means about four to seven hours depending on your speed. We recommend to go early and plan a longer time, which allows to rest, take some pictures, and enjoy the walk. There are no villages in the gorge, no way to get there or out except by foot, so it is essential to walk the distance in the given time to catch the boat.

This gorge was created by a small river running between the Lefká Óri (White Mountains) and Mt. Volakias. It starts near the village Omalos at an altitude of 1,250 m asl. Most of the time the gorge is a steep and deep vallley. But the most famous part of the gorge, the Iron Gates, is the place where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only four meters and at the same time a depth of 500 m.

The gorge is named after the village Samariá which was located in the gorge. It was abandoned in 1962, when the area of the gorge became a National Park. The park was founded to protect the gorge as a geotope, but even more to protect the endemic species which are found here. It is one of the last refuges of the rare kri-kri (Cretan goat). The name is actually a sort of abbreviation of Óssia María (Saint Mary) as the church of Samariá was dedicated to Mary.

The gorge is not a commercial operation, still there are some rules. It is open only during summer and it is not allowed to start the through trip later than three o'clock in the afternoon. Between three and sunset you may only walk two kilometers into the park from both ends. Camping, overnight stay, lighting fires and swimming in the river of the gorge is strictly prohibited. There are numerus spots with toilets and drinking water, nevertheless it is advisable to take a backpack with food and drink with you.