The Samariá Gorge

Tour The Samariá Gorge

Greece
Photo credit
Sokol Lukasz
Samariá Gorge
,
Greece

In the rugged heart of Crete, Greece's largest island, lies the breathtaking Samariá Gorge, one of Europe's most dramatic and long canyons. Carved by the Omalos River, which runs between the White Mountains and Mt. Volakias, the gorge stretches over 16 kilometers from the Omalos Plateau to the coastal village of Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea.

Walking through the Samariá Gorge is akin to stepping back in time. The trail weaves through ancient forests of cypress and pine, where the air is perfumed with the scent of wild herbs. The canyon walls, in some places rising vertically for hundreds of meters, are a testament to the powerful geological forces of erosion.

One of the most iconic sights within the gorge is the "Iron Gates", where the walls of the canyon come to a narrow 4-meter width, with the towering cliffs above creating a surreal, cathedral-like atmosphere. As you traverse the trail, the sounds of distant goat bells and the bubbling river are often your only companions.

The gorge is also a haven for biodiversity. The Kri-Kri, an endangered wild Cretan goat, can occasionally be spotted on the steep slopes. Birds of prey, like the golden eagle and the Bonelli's eagle, soar overhead, while the dense forests provide refuge for a myriad of smaller creatures.

Samariá Gorge is not just a natural wonder, but also a place steeped in history and culture. The gorge takes its name from the ancient village of Samariá, located within its walls. Though now abandoned, it was once a refuge for Cretan rebels during the numerous uprisings against occupying forces.

Upon completing the trek through the gorge, hikers are rewarded with the serene beaches of Agia Roumeli, where the turquoise waters of the Libyan Sea offer a refreshing respite.

In essence, Samariá Gorge is a journey of unparalleled beauty and rich heritage. Whether you're captivated by its dramatic landscapes, intrigued by its history, or simply reveling in the challenge of the hike, the gorge promises an experience that resonates with the soul, showcasing the raw, untouched splendor of Crete.

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Geeky Facts about The Samariá Gorge

Fact 1

The Gorge of Samaria is 16km long.

Fact 2

During the Quaternary period, the Samaria gorge was created.

Fact 3

National park of Samaria opens from middle of May until the middle of October.

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