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...And I Would Walk 16km

Jocelyne Brisson

Oct 14, 2022

The Samaria Gorge

Greece is known for many things — sun, olives, gods and goddesses… but a recent adventure to the island of Crete was motivated by something else entirely: trekking the Samaria Gorge. 


The gorge is situated on the Western side of Crete among the White Mountains and the trail ends on the south coast. You can start the trail on either end but it is preferable to start at the top near Xyloskalo with an altitude of 4035 ft. 


It’s all downhill from there! Once you’ve paid your five euros to enter, you will begin to slowly make your way down for roughly the first six kilometres of your adventure. You’ll enjoy beautiful open space on a path that you would need to purposefully choose to get lost on. It is well trodden and allows a gradual decent. 


There are no shortage of people on the trail, so even if you come alone, you may leave with a friend or two once the endorphins have started their magic on everyone’s systems. 

Samaria Gorge, Greece. Photo by Jocelyne Brisson.

The halfway point comes when you reach the abandoned village of Samaria. Indulge here in a small break; anything longer than a few minutes will make it hard to get back up and move on. It’s an ideal place to refill your reusable water bottle, and lather on that layer of sunblock before the sun does its job and gives you a colour shade you might not be wanting (lobster, anyone). 


A completely subjective opinion is that the second part of the gorge is more stunning than the first. There is something truly humbling to see the sheer height of both sides of the gorge coming straight up along side you and narrowing as you continue your journey. 


The rock formations and striations are a stunning piece of art which will make you stop often for that perfect selfie. Though the trek takes roughly 4-8 hours to complete it could take you longer if you’re an avid photographer or enjoy taking your time. 


You do need to be mindful of the time if you are doing the Gorge only as an excursion as the only way to get back to your bus is by getting on a ferry that will take you to either Hora Sfakion, Sougia, or Paleochora. Unless you plan on spending the night, you do not want to miss your ferry. Your bus will meet you at one of those stops. 


If you do plan on spending the night, there are plenty of options if you want to enjoy a bit of ocean after your arduous walk. Be sure to book ahead of time in the summer months as things can fill up quickly. 


This is a wonderful way to get out and see a beautiful gem that Greece has to offer. Make sure to rest after this excursion; if you are not used to this type of activity, your hips will remind you of it for the following week and will age you beyond your years-but the pictures will be worth it!

Samaria Gorge, Greece. Photo by Jocelyne Brisson.

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