The gorge of Samaria is one of the most important sights of Crete, which is visited by thousands of tourists every year to cross the 15.9 km route that starts from Omalos and ends in Agia Roumeli. It is located in the southern part of the prefecture of Chania while most of it belongs to the municipality of Sfakion. In 1962 it was designated a National Park and functions as a shelter for the endangered Cretan Goat also known as kri-kri. In 1981 it joined the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Network, to promote and protect valuable sites for humans and the rest of the biosphere.
The Samaria Gorge is the second-largest gorge in Europe in length, after the Verdon Gorge in France, and essentially separates the main body of the White Mountains, from their mountain to the west to the top of Volakias. There are two natural entrances to the gorge. The main entrance to the Gorge has located 42 km from Chania, on the Omalos plateau, and at an altitude of 1,227 meters and you call it Xyloskalo. At the entrance, there is an outpost where guests pay for a ticket.
All the way we meet built fountains with drinking water and toilets. The trail is a bit steep at first but is wide and distinct. Along the way, some cypresses and pines offer their shade but also old buildings. With a little luck, you can see the ibex that live in the gorge.
There are a total of seven churches around and the house where the Greek Government stayed in May 1941 with Prime Minister Emmanuel Tsouderos and the King of Greece, George II, before moving to Cairo. From the village of Samaria and after the path you become gentler and with less vegetation. On our way, there is a small river and we will have to cross the wooden bridges. Below we meet the famous Gates (Portes), a narrow passage between two high imposing vertical rocks, to reach the Old Agia Roumeli. The settlement of Old Agia Roumeli was abandoned after catastrophic floods and was transferred to the exit of the Gorge that you now call Agia Roumeli
If one wants to see the gorge of Samaria without crossing it, one can walk from Agia Roumeli to Portes to get a picture of the majesty of nature. In any case, we suggest the long route, which will surely compensate you with unique experiences.