The Samaria Gorge is one of Europe’s most famous and great canyons and is part of the European Path E4. It starts from the Omalos plateau in the White Mountains(Leuka Ori) and ends at Agia Roumeli. The entrance of the Gorge is called Xyloskalo and is at 1,227 feet. The gorge is 15 km long and the journey lasts from 4 to 7 hours and depends on the experience and the resistance of the hiker. It was created by the river that flows between the main volumes of the White Mountains and Volakias Mountain. There are several other gorges in Samaria, perpendicular to the main gorge, but they are mostly technical.
The distance of 15 km is the distance between the settlement of Omalos and the village of Agia Roumeli. In fact, however, the gorge is 13 km, starting at an altitude of 1,250 m. on the northern entrance, and ends on the coasts of the South Cretan Sea in Agia Roumeli. The path through the White Mountain National Park, ie from the Xyloskalos outpost, to the outskirts of the old village is 13 km away. From there, you will have to walk about 2.0 km to Agia Roumeli beach, making the total 15 km.
The Samaria Gorge and a large area around it, some 48,500 acres, have been designated as National Park, which joined the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Network in 2010. It was proclaimed in 1962, being one of the first time national parks in the country. Its core in 2008 occupied an area of 48,480 acres, with the gorge itself dominating. It hosts many endemic species of birds and animals, the best known of which is the Cretan goat, known as kri-kri, and more than 450 are the species of gorge flora, many of which are also unique in the world.
Crossing the gorge you will find 22 sources of drinking water and you will pass through the most famous point of the Gorge, the Doors. They are located just before the gorge exit and are the narrowest point, 3 meters wide. Impressive elements of the gorge are its caves, such as Demonospilios, as well as inaccessible peaks such as Melindaou at 2,134 meters or Gigilou at 1,864 meters.
Additionally, you will pass from the desolate village of Samaria, which was abandoned by its inhabitants, in 1962 to become the White Mountain, National Park. You will find many old buildings, tall trees that will give you shade for your rest and will see 7 churches. You will also see the house where the Greek Government lived in May 1941 with Prime Minister Emmanuel Tsouderos and King of Greece, George II, before continuing for Cairo.
The Samaria Gorge is usually open from the beginning of April to the end of October, depending of course on the weather.