The National Park of Samaria, is probably the most renowned sight in Crete and is the longest hiking gorge in Europe. Every summer, thousands of people visit it, to admire its majestic scenery. The length of the gorge is 18 km. in total, from which the visitors hike 14. Hiking through the gorge can last between 4 â€“ 7 hours, depending on the hikers' speed. The entrance to the gorge is south of the plateau of Omalos, on an altitude of 1227m. and the exit of the gorge is at the coast of the Libyan Sea, at Agia Roumeli. The visitors do not need special equipment, nor to be experienced hikers, since everyone could do it as long as they don't have any serious health problems. However, proper shoes, sunscreen and a hat are necessary for such a long hike.
The visitors start early in the morning with buses, from the centre of Chania, drive through a gorgeous scenery and are left at the entrance of the National Park. The trail which leads from one side of the gorge towards the exit follows a path of unprecedented beauty, through nature, that will enchant every visitor. The National Park of Samaria has a very rich flora and fauna and one can find over 450 different kinds of plants, as well as the unique Kritiko Egagro or Agrimi, also known as KriKri, a kind of wild goat that can only be found in Crete. There are plenty of areas inside the gorge where the visitors can stop and rest, drink water or use the bathroom. Furthermore, halfway through the gorge there is a small settlement, that nowadays is only used by the rangers of the national
park. In case of an accident or any other problem one can talk to the rangers, that are dispersed throughout the path, and ask for help. When the hikers reach the end of the Samaria Gorge, they reach the small town of Agia Rumeli, where they can swim in the Libyan Sea, eat at the local restaurants or if they wish, be accommodated in one of the rental rooms. From Agia Rumeli, ferry boats leave daily towards Sfakia, Lutro and Palaiohora, where the visitors can go for a swim, stay in a hotel or take a bus to return to the centre of Chania. Whatever the choice the visitor might make, Samaria Gorge is a key point for everyone that visits the island of Crete and is definitely an experience no one should miss out on.
Cv h JUNE 2017