Let’s continue our journey to discover this wonderful island, which is not only paradisiac beaches and historical sites. Crete offers also interesting excursions for all the trekking lovers. If you want to explore the interior and see mountains and rocky landscapes, I recommend the excursion to the Samaria Gorge National Park, a very special place. The path is, so to speak, “obligatory”, because it is one way only, from the top to the bottom. It is not necessary to come back on foot to the point of departure, but in the small village of Aghìa Rumèli a ferry will be available in the afternoon to take you back to the village of Chora Sfakion. From here, with a bus, you can return to Omalos where you parked. Now it is better you read so I will explain all details.
Downhill towards the Samaria Gorge
I decide to hit the road around 8: 00-8: 30 in the morning, my accomodation is in Maleme so I need about one hour to get to Omalos, the starting point for the excursion. Available for you many car parking, before getting into the park it is necessary to pay the ticket of € 5 to access. I think that the sum is due to mantain the path in good conditions. In case of need, there are park guards along the whole route. Into the reserve there are also many springs of water, rest areas and toilets, nothing is left to chance. Thus begins the descent to the Samaria Gorge. I consider the first part in a certain way “boring” for trekking lovers, as it is a simple dirt road surrounded by fir trees with no view. The path continues like this for a long stretch, from time to time you will certainly need to stop and rest enjoying the quiet of the place.
Into the real gorges
I must say that the most interesting part of the excursion is the final. Here, after the long descent, finally the path flattens leading directly into the canyon. From here on, it will be possible to walk along the path between the high rocky walls that in some points even reach 500 meters. The Samaria Gorges will surely strike you for their stratified rocky conformation, for the presence of colored veins ranging from ocher to black and even gray. Without even thinking about it, you will find yourself with your nose up in order to catch the landscape with your camera. But don’t think that the excursion ends here, we still have to explore the sea… The small village of Aghìa Rumèli, ready to amaze you.
The blue sea of Aghìa Rumèli
As I mentioned before, the path leads to the pretty village of Aghìa Rumèli where it is possible to take the ferry for Chora Sfakion. The village is really nice, if you are not exhausted after the trekking, I recommend a short tour there. If you have the bathing suit with you, the small beach is available for a regenerating swim. Instead, If you want to rest, there are many restaurants where you can have lunch or take something fresh. However, pay attention to the departure time of the ferry, in the afternoon there is only one scheduled around 5. If you miss it, this means spending the night in Aghìa Rumèli. The ferry trip is also interesting and lasts about an hour: it allows you to admire the rocky coast and enjoy the colors of the sea under the golden light of the sunset.
Samaria Gorge: some technical info
As I mentioned, the ferry will take you to the small village of Chora Sfakion where you can take the bus to come back to Omalos or Chania. I indicated that the path can be walked only going downhill… Well, it is not completely true, because if you start the trekking in the afternoon and you don’t want to spend the night in Aghìa Rumèli, after 4 or 5, the park guards will ask you to come back to avoid possible problems with the darkness. My advice is not to leave after 11.00 am, to take the ferry easily. The path is not particularly difficult, however I recommend comfortable sneakers or trekking shoes. It is not necessary to bring large stocks of water as there are numerous water springs along the path. For the rest … enjoy the day, the view and take lots of photos!