Samaria, on the Greek island of Crete, is one of the most imposing gorges in Europe, which year after year draws in hundreds of people from all over the world wishing to experience this beautiful, unique and spectacular natural setting. It is the longest gorge in Europe, measuring 16 km and rising up to an altitude of 1,200 meters. At its widest the gorge spans 150 m and the narrowest part is a mere 3 m wide. The park only opens in the summer season, from May to October, because in winter the river waters can be quite dangerous.
The Samaria (White Mountains) National Park is the only national park on the largest of the Greek islands. It is a rugged, limestone territory with deep valleys that are home to two of the most emblematic animals on the island: the bearded vulture, also known as the bone crusher, the most beautiful of European vultures, and the agrimi or kri-kri, an endemic species of mountain goat with few remaining populations in this protected natural area and on the island of Dia, not far from the coast of Heraklion, the capital of Crete.
If you take this excursion, at the beginning you’ll have to walk down stony steps for quite a while. Be careful not to slip (it’s best to use shoes with some type of grip on the sole). Next comes a part that is smooth or irregular, but basically easy to walk on. Then you go down deep in the gorge, where there are lots of loose stones, so you have to watch your step! Last of all, once you check out of the park, there is an asphalt path leading to the town of Agia Roumeli. From there it’s another 2 km until you reach first prize: taking a swim on the beach and resting until it’s time to catch the ferry. The time you’ll need to cover the whole route ranges from 4 to 7 hours, depending on your capacity. This is a route that cannot be missed by anyone fond of hiking.
Hiking or trekking is more than just a sport, a cultural activity or a walk through nature; it is also a personal voyage that releases you, enriches you and it’s something you can share with others. Samaria Gorge, virtually untouched, will provide you with an experience you’ll never forget.
“IBEROSTAR Hotels & Resorts has two 4 and 5-star hotels on the island of Crete with the option of All Inclusive Room and Board. These hotels provide everything a visitor is looking for when going on vacation on this Greek island: a complete culinary offer with all types of bars and restaurants, an entertainment ranging from relaxing at a spa to the adrenalin of activities such as water skiing, plus the sports you can practice at the hotel facilities, for instance tennis. There are also shows in the evenings to wrap up your vacation in Crete.”