Posts Tagged ‘Samaria Gorge’


Taken at the top

Yesterday I successfully walked the length of the Samaria Gorge. For those who haven’t heard of it (and a year or so that would have included me), it’s about 16 kms long, with an additional kilometre or two at the bottom for the walk-out to Agia Roumelli. There’s also a 1250 metre drop in altitude.

I arranged an excursion through an agency in Paelochora, starting at 7:30 yesterday. The first thing I did was to have some breakfast at a snack bar and bakery just by the pickup point. I bought two filled sandwiches – one for breakfast, the other to eat during the day. This is important as there is no food available during the walk. I also took two half-litre bottles of water, with the aim of replenishing them during the day – there is water available in the gorge. I was glad there was, as the litre of water I’d taken wasn’t enough – I must have got through twice that amount overall. I wore a hat, and I wore good footwear – I don’t think ordinary trainers (and certainly not sandals) would do. I have a pair of North Face walking shoes – think ‘tough trainers’ – and they were a good choice. Boots would also do, of course, but would be very heavy and hot. (more…)

Read Full Post »

Just a quick post to say that I managed to complete the Samaria Gorge walk. I’ll do a fuller report with images tomorrow, but this post is just to report success, and to admit that I’m rather pleased with myself. The whole day lasted just over 12 hours, and I was walking for just under 7 of them. But as I say, I’ll do a full post tomorrow.

Read Full Post »

Last year I was attracted by the walk down the Samaria Gorge, but in the end I didn’t attempt it – I blogged about my reasons here. This year, however, I’m going to do it. As I’d hoped, there are excursions from Paleochora to the top of the gorge and I’m booked on one tomorrow.

It starts at 7:30 am and takes us to Omalos, which is a small village some distance inland and up in the mountains, and is near the start of the gorge. I’m not clear if we get dropped in Omalos village (which is two or three kilometres from the top of the gorge) or whether we get driven to the top. I hope the latter – it looks as if there is a reasonable road to the start of the walk. Then after 15 (or 17) kilometres the weary hiker arrives at Agia Roumelli, another small town/village along the south coast. This is the one that doesn’t have any road links to anywhere; instead there’s a ferry from Paleochora that calls there. The ferry back leaves at 17:30, and takes a bit more than an hour to get back to Paleochora.

There are a couple of things that could still spoil the plan. First, if the weather is rough – specifically, if the sea is rough – the ferry doesn’t run. However I gather this will be known early in the morning and in that case the whole excursion is cancelled. The other problem is my propensity to tummy upsets – one of these was part of the reason why I didn’t do the walk last year. However, I’m reasonably OK so far this year, and I’m well-supplied with the appropriate medication! All being well, I shall do it tomorrow.

Read Full Post »

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.)

Read Full Post »