Why Should You Visit Crete's Samaria Gorge?
This article looks at Samaria Gorge, one of the most popular tourist destinations in the whole of Crete, and why you should visit there during a holiday to the island.
Samaria Gorge itself is the central part of the White Mountains national park, although it is usually referred to and is known as the Samaria national park. Not only is the gorge a gruelling 16km hike, it is also home to over 400 plant and animal species, of which almost 100 of them are native to Crete alone. If you wish to view some of the most unique species of wildlife on the planet then the Samaria Gorge is a must for any tourist.
Predictably, many are put off by the sheer length of the walk, therefore it is important to highlight the benefits of doing so – as well as making it clear that you do not necessarily need to walk back up through the gorge having walked the entire distance down!
Although on the way through the gorge you will come across an ancient temple as well as the now uninhabited old village of Samaria, your target is the beautiful coastal town of Ayia Roumeli, which you will reach at the bottom of the long hike. The town looks out over the Mediterranean and is a beautiful, calm town with several beaches, bars, and restaurants for you to sit and relax after your gruelling day.
Put your feet up, have a beer and an indulgent bite to eat because believe me you will feel as though you deserve and need it having walked so far.
How to get back? If you are feeling really extreme then there are a number of alternative walking routes that you can take, all well signposted and known by the locals who will happily show you the way. For the more sensible folk, my advice would be to take the boat back to the village of Loutro, which is situated near the top of the Samaria Gorge and is a great tourism town in its own right.
What to Do
When you reach Loutro the choice is yours. If it is the end of a long day, then naturally you will want to head back to your accommodation and probably go straight to sleep! If you are part of a tourist excursion and have time to kill, however, then consider just wandering around the village an interacting with the friendly locals, or hiring a boat and exploring some of the beautiful hidden sandy coves and small beaches.
Whatever you decide, ensure the Samaria Gorge is high on your list of holiday priorities when you decide to visit Crete.
This author and Touristorama help travellers with a holiday Crete island plan as they take a vacation in Greece.