The entrance to the Samaria Gorge is in the southern part of Omalo's plateau, in Xyloskalo, 1250 meters above sea level.
The stone plaque located there will orientate you.
It shows in which direction is the city of Chania, the abandoned village of Samaria, the village of Agia Roumeli on the South coast of Crete, as well as where are the peaks of Gigilos and Linoseli.
Arriving in the area, the first thing you will see is the gray peak of Gigilos at 2,080 meters high, and to the right the Linoseli peak with its homonymous spring.
When you approach the wooden parapet and look to your left (east), you will be able to see the peaks of the bulk of the White Mountains. The tallest of all is Pachnes at 2,453 meters.
However, you can't look at the deep of the gorge from that position. You can
have a better look to the imposing Samaria Gorge from the cafe-restaurant
located over the hill, on your right.
Here is a better look to the imposing Samaria Gorge!
At the entrance to the National Park of Samaria lies the
forest outpost of Xyloskalo.
Here, there is an information centre, a kind of small museum on White Mountains and the Gorge of Samaria.
Furthermore, from here you will get your ticket. It costs 5 Euros. Keep it because you will need it at the exit of the National Park!
Start your hike and...
Continue your descent to Xyloskalo!
From the entrance of the Samaria Gorge to reach the bed of the stream, you need to descend the slope of Xyloskalo.
These are the first three 3 kilometres of the overall 16 kilometres of hiking, up to the village of Agia Roumeli.
The trail starts out spectacularly with a stunning, steep
descent with consecutive turns on stone steps and wooden
Consider the difficulty faced by the residents of the village of Samaria, when they had to go up to the plateau of Omalos.
This part of the trail was especially tedious and dangerous. Therefore, they built stair steps made from wood on the edge of each.
Since then, the slope is identified as Xyloskalo, which
means "wooden stairs."
Although appropriate attention is required across your hike
in the Gorge of Samaria, pay more attention at these steps to
prevent slipping. Think that thousands of visitors' feet smooth
these stones every year.
It would be advisable to stop or be retained by the parapet,
when you want to admire the scenery.
The path that has been dug on the slope, continues towards the east through pine and cypress forest until about the completion of the 1st kilometer.
In some areas, special measures have been taken to protect the trail from rock-falls.
Approximately 600 meters from the entrance to the Samaria Gorge, you will meet
the branching to the terrace, which is an ideal place to take some photos.
Continue downhill. Next stop... Neroutsiko!
About 1700 meters of walking in the Samaria Gorge, in about 40 minutes you will encounter the first water source at 950 meters high.
Cool off and fill your bottles. There is also a WC and a couple of benches in case you want to quench here.
If there are enough people waiting, and you don't want to join the queue, the next source is about 20 - 30-minute walking, approximately 1200 meters away.
From the entrance of the gorge, after hiking almost 3
kilometers to descend the slope of Xyloskalo will reach the rest
area Riza Sikias at 800 meters height.
Here are a second source, benches and WC. Cool off and
From here, until you get to the village of Samaria, will walk
beside the bank of the stream, either on one or on the other
After about 4 km hiking through the National Park of Samaria
will arrive at the rest area of Agios Nikolaos, at 700 meters
Here you might decide to make the first stop for rest. You'll find a water source, wooden benches with tables, WC, and the forest outpost.
The area got its name from the stone Chapel of Agios Nikolaos (Saint Nicholas) located here. It is said that it has been built on the ruins of an ancient outdoor sanctuary (probably of Apollo).
At this point, you will notice high ancient cypress trees with a circumference that reaches the 6.5 meters.
Used as shipbuilding material, from the Minoan era and yet, it's been said that in antiquity, they were even exported to Egypt.
From these were also manufactured the cypress columns used in Minoan palaces at Knossos, Phaistos, and the palaces of Tyrinth and Mycenae.
After Agios Nikolaos rest area, you will find two other sources, the source of "Vryssi," about 900 meters away, and the source of "Prinari" upon completion of the 6th kilometer.
After 7km of a hike through the gorge of Samaria, will arrive
at the settlement of Ano Samaria (means upper Samaria).
Up to this point, you will have covered almost half of the
There is a water source, benches in the shade, WC, the forest outpost and a first-aid station.
In Samaria, you may see some wild Cretan goats (Kri-Kri). Maybe you will have a chance even to feed them.
Samaria village ceased to be inhabited in 1962 when Samaria was declared National Park.
Today, some of the houses of the derelict village have been renovated and host the forest guards of the National Park, during the operation of the gorge.
When it's time to continue your hike, cross the bridge and continue longer with a south course.
A little further down from the Ano Samaria, the wooden sign shows you the path that leads to the chapel of Osia Maria (St. Mary the Egyptian), from the name of which was named the Samarian Gorge. (Osia Maria - Sia Maria - Samaria).
And even further, in the opposite side of the stream bank, you will see the
village of Kato Samaria.
From here onwards the canyon begins to narrow. The vertical
walls increasingly converge.
You will reach two more water sources.
After hiking about 11,5 km, you will reach the famous "Portes", (which means "Gates") the narrower points within the Samaria Gorge.
At the narrowest "Gate", the vertical walls of the Gorge close each other to 3,5 meters. Arguably, this is one of the most beautiful spots in the Gorge, due to the very narrow passage and because of the stream flowing from it.
Passing by the Portes, the canyon gradually begins to widen, and the horizon starts to be
At approximately 1.5 km from the "Portes" and having walked 13 kilometers within the Samaria Gorge, you will reach the exit of the National Park located in the abandoned settlement of Old Agia Roumeli. From there, there are about other 3km until your endings in the seaside village of Agia Roumeli.
Here lies the forest outpost of Agia Roumeli and the forest guards check the tickets so that they are able to know if all hikers exited the gorge.
The ending of 16 km hike within the Gorge of Samaria is in
the coastal village of Agia Roumeli.
There you will find refreshings and a beach with black pebbles and crystal-clear sea to relieve you from the long hike.
...Until you take the ferry back to your destination, to Loutro or Chora Sfakion to the east, or to Sougia or Paleochora to the west of Agia Roumeli.