Archive for the ‘Samaria Gorge’ Category

Before I left home I had done a lot of reading about trips from Chania, and one that definitely appealed was the walk down the Samaria Gorge. I even took a pair of walking shoes, despite the  complications this added to packing. However, in the event I didn’t do it. So why was that?

Well, there were various reasons. One was that it was hotter than I had expected it to be; at or slightly above 30º pretty much every day, and I began to question how sensible it was to do a long hike (see more detail below) in those conditions. Secondly, my bout of tummy trouble rather interrupted the week’s schedule – certainly for first the day afterwards I felt very shaky, and even on the day after that I wouldn’t have been up to it (although I did enjoy the visit to Knossos that day).

Most importantly, however, I felt I had underestimated the duration and intensity of the trip. Here’s a typical schedule:-

  • leave Chania town at around 7am;
  • arrive at the top of the gorge at about 9am to 10am;
  • walk 13 kms down the gorge plus 3 kms from the end down to Agia Roumelli on the coast – allow up to 6 hours to do the whole walk, including rests, stops to take photographs, etc;
  • hang around Agia Roumelli, until the 5pm boat to Souga (there’s no road into Agia Roumelli);
  • spend about 50 minutes on the boat to Souga;
  • get the 18:30 bus back to Chania from Souga – that takes two hours or more.

So the whole trip is over 12 hours. It’s also the case that once you’ve started, it’s best just to carry on. The gorge starts with a drop of 700 metres or so (from a starting height of about 1250 metres) within the first couple of kilometres so returning to the starting point will require a climb back up those 700 metres. This might be very tough given that the most likely reason why you’d be going back to the starting point is because you felt too ill to do the whole trip.

On reflection, however, I think perhaps I let myself be a bit intimidated once I’d worked out what was involved. If I return, I’ll have a go at it. One possibility would be to get a late bus to Omalos (the village near the top) the evening before and stay there overnight, thus getting an early start down the gorge. Perhaps also the best time to do it would be in the early part of the holiday before the heat, the food and the alcohol have had too much effect!

(Update: I went back to Crete in 2016 and was able to the Samaria Gorge walk during that visit. See here for a report on that day, which was a highlight of the 2016 trip.)

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