Samaria Gorge is, it seems, the most well-renown hiking spot in all of Crete and perhaps even all of Greece. As I mentioned in Athens that I would be heading soon to Crete for several weeks’ hiking, I was met consistently with knowing nods and eyes that said “Ahhh, Samaria huh?”
While I tend to downplay tourist sites that get tons of popular hype, Kyle and I left the Gorge thinking that perhaps after all it deserved a lot of the recognition it gets.
Though well-known for its beauty, the Samaria Gorge also gets talked up a lot for the sheerness of its cliffs and the impressive Iron Gates, a spot where the Gorge narrows to only a couple of meters wide around a quick-flowing stream.
There is a very real danger of falling rocks in the area, and in fact we arrived so early in the hiking season that much of Samaria was still off-limits for just this reason.
Kyle and I were told by the Park Rangers at the southern entrance of the Gorge only to proceed as far as the first rest area, one of many along the 18 km trail (making it, in fact, the longest Gorge in Europe) if the map is to be believed.
Being a touch irreverent, of course, we pushed a bit further past a flimsy sapling tossed over the trail as a gate. Our brilliant plan if we were caught? Say we didn’t realize the log was in fact the barrier. Eventually, considering the fact that Kyle works in Greece and could conceivably have visa issues if he caused trouble, we doubled back down with more than ¾ of the Gorge still unexplored.
So, Samaria Gorge: another entry on the long list of things I would go back to Crete for.