Trail Distance: 10 miles
Elevation Gain: Downhill hike
Terrain Rating: Medium
Navigation: Very Easy (well marked every 20-30 minutes)
Hike Time: 4-6 hours
Dog Friendly: Yes
Samaria Gorge is the most popular hike in Crete, and for good reason! This one-way hike is jaw droppingly beautiful and ends in a quaint Greek town.
Start your day really early by taking the 6:15AM bus from Chania to Xyloskalo
Pay the 5 Euros entrance fee, start the hike around 8AM, end anywhere from Noon – 2PM
There are water refill stations every mile or so. There is a bathroom 1/2 way through and at the beginning/ends of the trail
There are two small snack huts at the end of the hike
You can either pay a few Euros or hike down to Agia Roumeli
Take the 5:30pm ferry from Agia Roumeli to Chora Sfakion. Take a connecting bus from Chora Sfakion to Chania (the bus departs soon after the ferry arrives)
We started the day really early from our villa to get to Chania. We were surprisingly able to find free street parking for the entire day! (PM or Comment below for parking details). From there, the bus left promptly at 6:15AM to Xyloskalo. The road was long and windy so we didn’t get much sleep.
It was a bit cold in early September in the beginning of the hike, but air was crisp and fresh. We started our descent through the stairs and was blown away by how beautiful the area was! This first section of the hike is more like a dense forest, it felt like I was in Yosemite.
After the stairs ended, we started to descend into more rocky terrain. About half way through the hike, you will reach Samaria settlement. There are bathrooms here and some people will stop for a snack. Soon after, we finally came upon the Gorge! We spent some time to take photos here before pressing on.
I think the last 1-2 miles were maybe too much. This is when our feet started to get tired from the awkward rock-shaped trails (none of us packed hiking boots). But we finally arrived to the end and treated ourselves to coffee and orange juice before paying (yes we paid) for a shuttle to town!
Once we got to town, we were completely famished and found a great restaurant called Calypso to eat at. Like true Americans (well only half of us were Americans), we ordered an entire table full of food.
On the way back, the ferry passed a cute town called Loutro. It’s like everything you would imagine in a Greek postcard. Santorini-like buildings with the crowds. If we had more time and didn’t have our villa, we would have stayed one night here!
Overall the hike was fantastic and a great way to get some exercise in during a vacation that was full of eating, beach, and more eating 🙂