8. Heraklion: Samaria Gorge Guided Hiking Day Tour
Join us on an ultimate hiking experience of the Samaria Gorge. This is one of the longest gorge and the most beautiful in Europe. Our activity starts at 05:30 in the morning from Heraklion areas with a pick up point close to your hotel or your hotel.
The gorge is located at the south of Chania Prefecture in southwest Crete. It was created by a small river flowing off the White Mountains (Lefka Ori). The gorge is 13 km long, starting at an altitude of 1,250m at the northern entrance (Omalos), and ending at the shores of the South Cretan Sea in Agia Roumeli. One of the most impressive mountain regions of Crete.
After 2 two hours drive we arrive at the entrance on the plateau Omalos of the White Mountains. The entrance of the longest gorge in Europe (11 miles) lies at 4000 ft. You have the option to enjoy your breakfast on the top of the mountain close to nature and the fresh air before you start your activity.
The hiking starts from Xiloskalo, we step over rocks and stones down the gorge, through a fantastic forest among thousands of years old trees, along a little river and fresh-water springs. The walk is partially difficult. It lasts approximately 5-6 hours and you need absolutely good shoes- mountain boots or, at least, strong trainers. The path follows the route of Taras, a river with gurgling, lucid water. It gave its name to the ancient town which was located at the end of the gorge. On the way, we can get a glimpse of the caves that formed a natural shelter for the Cretans. In war times and now they are the natural habitat of the well-known wild goats, or kri-kri, as they are also called. Halfway we come across the village of Santa Maria, which was abandoned by its last inhabitants in 1962.
Three kilometres prior to our exiting this majestic gorge, we reach the Iron Gates (Sideroportes), the narrowest spot of the route, just a few meters wide, but 300 meters high – an amazing contradiction that can cause nothing but awe.
At the end of the gorge, we reach the Lybian sea and the village of Agia Roumeli, where you can relax and enjoy swimming and after a meal at the local taverns, before you join the group to take ferry to Chora Sfakion, where our bus waiting to take you back to your original pick up point, arriving approximately at 21:30 at night after unforgettable day experience that you will remember for the rest of your life.