europe, Greece

Samariá Gorge- 7 Days in Western Crete

I visited Crete for a week in June 2019, using public transport to get around. In my posts I focus on points of historical interest, as well as good places for food, costs, and travel.

Click through for posts on the other visits of the trip:

RETHYMNO; HERAKLION AND KNOSSOS; CHANIA as well as ALTERNATE PLANS we made if we had more time.


Samariá Gorge is a stunning national park to the south of Chania, and one of the largest gorges in Europe. The walk through the gorge is around 13km, and travel to and from the gorge is well organised by public transport.

The name of the gorge comes from a village in the middle of the gorge that has now become a rest spot. When the gorge became a national park in 1962, people left the town. Along the walk are a series of churches as well as ruined farm buildings.


The bus ticket to the start of the gorge, the ferry from the town at the end of the gorge to the bus pick up point, and the bus back to Chania are all easily obtainable in the main bus station in Chania.

The earliest buses from Chania are the best to get, as the walk through the gorge takes around 4-6 hours and the ferry back is exactly at 17:30. If you miss the ferry then it’s hard to get back that evening and likely have to stay the night in the town.

There is constant running water throughout most of the gorge, so it is advised to take some bottles with you to fill up during the walk. Also advised are snacks, and sports drinks. Sensible shoes, and a hat, are very much advised.

There’s a small little shop/café at the top of the gorge selling a sparse collection of souveniers, overpriced food and drink.

The view from the top is breathtaking and intimidating when the first bus pulls in around 9am. The walk begins with a wooded downhill trek, where you kept pace with many of the other walkers before losing people to rest stops or the more experienced hikers ploughing ahead. Whilst I had read some online complaints about this start being tough, I enjoyed it immensely- the shade from the trees and going down hill were quite enjoyable, and I liked experiencing the awe and beauty of the gorge with others.

KM markers are along the way to help you keep pace. The path is very easy to follow.

At the midway point of the gorge was an abandoned village- cleared of residents when the gorge became a designated nature reserve. This spot in the middle was a nice place to catch your breath, use the loos, fill up on water and have a bit to eat. Goats were also around. Along the way, a number of churches scatter the area and are accessible for visiters.

Beyond the village, another 7km of walking remained, and we headed into the base- a dried up river of reflecting white rocks which was tough in 30 degree weather and difficult to manouver around at times. The area gets less shaded and, whilst filling up in the river is fine, it is at times more difficult to do so than in specifically designed fountains. But hey, that’s nature for you. Again, loo breaks become a bit less and more difficult to take in this area.

The path becomes less obvious through the lower part of the gorge. Whilst I did find this area more difficult to walk through, it made up by being just stunning to wander. No photos I took could capture the size of the gorge or the beauty of the area. Small wooden bridges are dotted around to get you over rivers and past waterfalls, as well as stepping stones.

When we made it to the end, there was a stall selling (expensive but needed) fresh orange juice while we waited for the bus to take us into the town. We made it into the town at around 15:30, giving us 2 hours until our ferry.

In the town, which seems largely to cater for the people who have finished their walk and are waiting for the ferry, many little shops selling ice cream, meals, drinks, and souvineers could be perused.

The beach in the town consisted of boiling sand and refreshingly cold waters of the Libyan sea and we chilled here until our ferry came to take us to CHORIO SKOFIO where the buses to Chania were waiting.


Bus ticket round trip (Chania to Olmonos; Skofia to Chania)- €15.70. Bus leaves around 7:30 to 7:45 and several buses were there to take people to the gorge.

Ferry ticket in advance from Chania station- €12.50. You need to make sure you are out of the gorge for the 17:30 ferry (if you are going back to Chania)


Short bus from end of gorge to beach town- €2

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