It’s the longest gorge in Greece and one of the largest in Europe. A 16 km downhill trek descending 1,230m from the Crete’s rocky crests to the teal blue waters of the Libyan Sea. Passing through this gorge is best early in the morning.
RULES AND REGULATIONS OF THE SAMARIA NATIONAL PARK
The area that you are about to visit is unique. Its beauty, however, hides dangers. Personal safety as well as the area’s safety requires precautions. You are kindly requested to read carefully the following regulations, in order to have a safe and pleasant visit.
Follow precisely the instructions provided by the park rangers and the warning signs, especially those referring to falling rocks. Do not deviate from the main path for any reason.
Special attention should be given to fire issues. Always observe the five-scale daily hazard index. Report immediately any relevant indication (e.g. smoke). Smoking is allowed only at the rest stations. After the 2nd km located near the riverbed for safety reasons of the national park.
DATES AND OPENING HOURS
According to the Rules and regulations of the National Park, Samaria Gorge opens on 1st May until 15th October each year, from 7:00 am until 4:00 pm. Weather permitted, the period the gorge remains open can be prolonged until 31st October. However, the Gorge could close earlier if the path gets damaged after e.g. a big storm.
Additionally, if the weather is favorable and the main path has not been damaged from a severe winter period, the Gorge could open earlier, but not earlier than 10th April, either for the whole route, or for 2 km from the south & 2 km from the north.
According to the rules and regulations of the National Park, you can hike only along the central path inside the Gorge of Samaria. You can access the Gorge through two entrances; one at the north “Xyloskalo” located near the Omalos plateau and the second from the south located near the coastal village of Agia Roumeli. Xyloskalo is accessed by car but the south entrance is only accessed by boat.
The official opening and closing of the National Park is arranged through a Resolution of the Secretary of the Decentralized Administration of Crete. For more information regarding the opening and closing time of the Gorge, please check their website: https://www.samaria.gr/en/home-2/.
Alternatively, you can call their offices: +302821045570 or you can call the forest outpost at the entrance of the Gorge: +302823770046.
GUIDELINES FOR VISITORS
Visitors can walk along the length of the main footpath. All those who wish to walk beyond the main footpath require a special license.
THE FOLLOWING ARE PROHIBITED
Destroying or removing any technical works and material in the National Park.
Cutting trees and bushes, uprooting and collecting plants and seeds.
Collecting and transporting plant soil and firewood.
Lighting fires in general and smoking in all areas apart from the recreational areas.
Camping in any form and staying the night within the National Park.
The free movement of any animals accompanying the visitors.
Displaying and erecting boards and signs.
Selling food and other items as well as their display or distribution.
Consumption of alcohol.
Removal or destruction of all nests, eggs and newborns and the general disturbance or destruction of wildlife.
Swimming in the Park’s rivers and streams.
Annoying other visitors.
Dumping waste in areas other than the waste bins.
Damage to the geological formations and cultural monuments.
Photographing visitors for commercial purposes.
Grazing of animals.
Setting up beehives without a license from the Forestry Service.
EMERGENCY LINE 112.
Besides the necessary sun protection means, make sure you take along any medication that you will probably need in the gorge. Please report to the park rangers any health problem you may encounter. Walk slowly in the gorge, and have several stops. Take time to observe the area around you. Prefer an overnight stay at Agia Roumeli to a day trip.
Google Street View Special Collects: https://www.google.com/streetview/#greece-highlights/samaria-gorge
USEFUL INFORMATION ABOUT HIKING IN THE GORGE OF SAMARIA
The main path inside the Gorge is 13km. The distance from the south entrance to Agia Roumeli is a further 3km. So, the total route is 16km. The natural direction through the gorge is that which follows the slope of the terrain, from Xyloskalo (altitude 1227m) until the surface of the sea at Agia Roumeli (altitude 0m). The path is at its largest part rocky. You will also have to cross the river several times, either by stepping on small wooden bridges, or by stepping on rocks that were placed to create a passage across the river. So, it is not considered an “easy” walk, but this doesn’t mean that it is only addressed to experienced hikers. An average walk takes 6-7 hours, since you will normally make some stops.
To enter the Gorge of Samaria there is an entrance fee that costs 5€. Children under 15 years old have a free pass. The entrance fee is the same regardless you wish to enter the Gorge only for a few kilometers or for the entire route.
Note: It is important to keep your ticket in order to be checked at the exit. This is done for the safety of the visitors, since the Park rangers will know how many people have entered and exited the Gorge.
It is recommended that the entrance to the Gorge from Xyloskalo should be done as early as possible in the morning The crossing must be done slowly, with many stops and following the instructions of informational placards and rangers. Visitors must have appropriate clothing, footwear and sun protection (hat & sunscreen). You must have with you something to eat, since there are no shops inside the Gorge of Samaria. You must have water with you, but since there are several springs inside the Gorge you can refill your bottle. There are toilets in several places along the path. You must dispose your litter only in the waste bins that you will find along your way.
Frequently asked questions
Until which hour of the day can I enter the Gorge?
According to the Rules and Regulation, the National Park opens on the 1st May until the 15th October each year, from 6:00 am until 4:00 pm. However, since no overnight stay is permitted inside the National Park, if you wish to enter the Gorge after a certain hour of the day, you will not be allowed to do the whole route. This is done because you will not have enough time to reach the exit before it gets dark. The same could happen early in the morning if it is not yet dawn and for your own safety you should enter the gorge later (e.g. at 7.00 am instead of 6:00 am). Because this changes during the operation period of the gorge, for information regarding the earliest or the latest that you can enter the gorge, it is better to contact the entrance gate: +302823770046 for further information.
Could the Gorge close one day unexpectedly?
The Gorge could close one or more days if the weather is not favorable (e.g., if rain or heat wave is expected). This is done as a precaution measure for the safety of the visitors. The decision for the closing of the Gorge is taken the previous day. You can call our offices: +3028210 45570, or the forest outpost at the entrance of the Gorge: +302823770046 for relative information. Finally, you must keep in mind that, especially in autumn, the Gorge could be open but if the weather is windy there could be no boats departing from Agia Roumeli and you might have to stay there for the night.
Can children walk through the Gorge?
There is no specific age rule for the entrance to the National Park. However, you must keep in mind that the path is long (16 km) and quite steep (rocks at the most part of the path), so we wouldn’t recommend taking small children with you. If you decide, nonetheless, to take your children with you, you must be sure that they can hike. In any case, you must not leave your children unattended.
Can I take my dog to the Gorge?
According to the Rules and Regulations of the National Park you can take your dog with you, only if it is on lease, since the free movement of any animals accompanying visitors is prohibited.
Samaria National Park Management Body Offices: Tel.: +302821045570 | E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org | Forest Outpost at Xiloskalo: +302823770046