The hike in Samaria Gorge is one of the few excursions on Crete that you can easily do without a rental car or arranged tour. It’s a beautiful hike descending into a gorge, ending by the sea. Don’t get me wrong, the hike in this heat is very tiring but I would do it again right away as the constant change of scenery is very rewarding.
How to get to Samaria Gorge
Simply buy your return bus ticket the evening before at the bus station (14.30 EUR) or get there a bit earlier the next morning to buy your ticket. They even give you advice about the hike if the station isn’t too busy. Due to COVID-19, there was only one bus leaving at 7.45 a.m. I think there was one space left on the bus, so you don’t have to worry about having to walk the whole walk on your own in case you are a solo traveler. The bus curved along pretty green hills with olive trees while the sun was rising, and it was beautiful. On route, we passed the tour busses which had left earlier but were now making a breakfast stop at some café. At 8.50 a.m. we arrived at the top entrance of the gorge. Just before the first tour bus.
Entering Samaria Gorge
Then, I bought the entrance ticket for 5 EUR and at 9 a.m. I started the 15 km downhill hike. It’s not too tough but it’s still tiring on the knees because the rocks are extremely slippery, and you have to choose every step carefully. Hence, good hiking shoes and even hiking poles are advisable.
The hike in Samaria Gorge
There are rest areas in frequent intervals where you find squat toilets and fresh spring water to fill your water bottle. You can’t buy any snacks though and, therefore, bring what you need for the 5-to-7-hour hike.
The gorge is pretty with trees and herbs that smell good and you can see the way the water carved through the rocks throughout the centuries. The exit gate of Samaria Gorge comes after 13 km.
With stops, I reached the exit gate at 2.30 p.m. After the exit, there is a restaurant with cheap and cold beer. However, you still have to walk 2.5 km to get to the beach at Roumeli.
After the hike
You can swim at the beach behind the boat dock around the bend. Now in October, the water was so warm that it wasn’t even refreshing and soon I went to hide from the sun in one of the restaurants.
Returning to Chania
The boat ticket office is on the main street with the restaurants (slightly up the hill behind the restaurant opposite the ferry dock).
As my bus back to Chania would be leaving from Sfakia, I bought a ticket to get there for 12.50 EUR. The only boat of the day left at 5.30 p.m. at the same time as a ferry departs in the opposite direction. So, let your ticket be checked by one of the employees before you board the boat. With the golden sun above the smooth water, we arrived in Sfakia at 6.40 p.m. and had to walk 5 minutes up the road and up a flight of stairs to get to the bus station. The buses had waited for us and we left at 6.50 p.m. Tired, but ready for dinner and a shower we arrived back in Chania at 8.20 p.m.
What to bring on your hike in Samaria Gorge:
– good walking shoes (perhaps hiking poles)
– water bottle
– sun cream
– bathing suit and towel (for the beach at the end)
– lunch and snacks
– your medicine in case you are allergic to bees. There were quite a few of them, especially around the drinking fountains. Mosquitos were present as well.