Thursday, November 1, 2007

Samaria Gorge - June 20, 2007

Here are a couple of pages that I did from pictures of our Samaria Gorge hike in Crete (Greece).

Here is a bit more information on this beautiful gorge: (From

The gorge of Samaria is not 18 km long (the 18 km refers to the distance between the settlement of Omalos on the northern side of the plateau and the village of Agia Roumeli) but is 16 km long, starting at an altitude of 1250m and taking you all the way down to the shores of the Libyan sea in Agia Roumeli. The walk through the National Park of Samaria is 13 km but you will have to walk the extra 3 km to Agia Roumeli from the exit of the National Park making it 16 km.

The very narrow passage near the end of the gorge is often called the "Iron Gates". None of the former inhabitants of Samaria know why the place suddenly got this name. They were always known by the locals as "Portes" which means "doors" or "gates", but certainly no "Iron" anywhere!

Samaria is said to be the longest gorge in Europe. I am not sure about this. As far as I know the "gorges du Verdon" in South France are a little over 20 km in length. Similarly, the gorge of Tripiti which runs west of the gorge of Samaria is about as long, but almost nobody knows it.

The gorge of Samaria is situated in the National park of Samaria, in the White Mountains in West Crete.
The park is supervised by the Department of Forestry and the gorge is generally open only from the beginning of May to the end of October. In winter, high water makes the gorge dangerous and impassable. It will also be closed on rainy days (too dangerous because of rock falls)

You have to pay an entrance fee of Euro 5.00 to enter the park (free to children under 15, half price to students).

So what do you get for your 5 Euro? The path is maintained and is substantially better than "normal" paths in Crete. There are guards along the way (in radio contact with each other) who will help you in case of trouble or injury. There is also a doctor stationed in the abandoned village of Samaria. There are well-maintained springs on the way so that you do not have to carry much water. There are toilets in several places and plenty of rubbish bins. You find surprisingly little litter, considering the amount of people passing through every day.

You also get a set of rules, aimed at protecting the park and making the experience safe and pleasant for everyone.

The gorge is open only during the day time and if you want to start walking in the afternoon you will only be allowed in up to a certain point. The guards want to make sure that everybody who walks in also gets out before nightfall. This is the reason why they ask you to present your ticket on the way out as it (supposedly) enables them to know if there is anyone still in the park at night.

Credits for Samaria Gorge:
Template by Di Hickman for November {}
All papers, ribbons, brads & alphabet from thedailyscrap's Ides of March kit
Green vellum by Digi Debz's Aubrey kit
Font: Book Antiqua with Satin effects
Photos by Angela, Matt & Kim

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