Map of Crete: how to get to Samaria gorge from Chania to yourself?
The Mediterranean island of Crete, reputed to be the perfect place for a beach holiday, and interesting for those tourists who prefer to vacation extremely.
Ready to change-flops for sneakers, and soft pink or white sand (Yes, it's on Crete!) on a rocky mountain trail? If Yes, then you are in the gorge of Samaria Crete a unique place, recognized as a natural monument, whose age is not much - a million years.
Samaria on the map of Crete
These places annually attract hundreds of thousands of tourists from different countries of the world, including Russians.
The unique nature, amazing history, reminding himself at each step that very few people indifferent.
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Samaria is located in the South-West of Crete, close to Chania town, in the mountain range called Lefka ori ("White mountains"). They are truly the white – tops are covered with snow until the hot summer days.
Read our article, what airport Greece better to land to quickly get to a place of rest.
The gorge is 16 kilometers. Sometimes quite large, up to 300 m in the gorge, Portes (this word is translated as "Gate") it is compressed to 4 meters. The bottleneck is near the village of Samaria, which gave the name to this "stone jungle".
Impressionable people here do not recommend a long look up: sheer cliffs rising several hundred meters, show how fragile human life against the power of natural forces. Even the most resilient, confident traveler is not alone and want to get out of here on the "operating room".
However, history suggests that the rocks were not suppressed and defended person. Here there were settlements, temples were erected, it was a reliable refuge from external enemies. It is believed that the word "Samaria" derives from the name of the Church "Holy Mary", built in the reign of the Venetians.
By the way, besides the temple at various times, there was built the Church of Christ, St. Mary of Egypt, St. Nicholas.
Preserved remains of the buildings in honor of the ancient gods.
Now Samaria centuries ago was located in a city called tarra. Its construction began in the 6th century BC and, according to various historical accounts, he prospered: was independent, minted its own coins – on one side was a picture of a bee, the other a mountain goat.
Local residents were engaged, as we would say today – logging: cut down cypress trees and exported them to different countries, including Egypt.
In dashing years the gorge has helped the local community in the fight against foreign enemies (for example, in the battles with the Turks), and in recent history (2nd world war) there was a camp of fighters of the Resistance movement and it is through this gorge lay the path of the forced to emigrate to the government of Greece.
In 1962, the area became a national Park. Some old houses here, was restored, but nobody lives.
The remaining local residents have provided more housing, they come here only to work – to look after the procedure.
The Samaria gorge in all its glory with photo
Man, as history shows, not always been able to find a common language with nature, but national Park status has helped to keep what these places have always been rich, amazing fauna and flora.
Flora and fauna
Flora of the gorge is represented by four hundred plants. From treesthis, for example:
- pine (several species);
- maple Cretan;
Many plants are endemic, that means anywhere except in Crete, they were no longer Dating.
One of the endemic medicinal plant burning with a beautiful aroma and tonic and antimicrobial properties.
The fauna here is also extremely interesting. Tourists can, for example, observed mountain goats, called KRI-KRI (those with ancient coins).
By the mid-twentieth century the species was on the brink of destruction, mercilessly slaughtered animals because of their magnificent horns and beautiful fur. The number amounted to only two hundred copies. National Park became their salvation: in 30 years the number of animals has increased 10 times.
But whom can still be seen in the gorge:
- wild cats;
- Griffon vultures;
The surrounding landscape as you move along the route varies – the closer to the sea, kamenistoe he becomes and the vegetation there is less.
Already want to visit in the Samaria gorge? Find out herewhether you need a visa to visit these places.
There are several reservoirs, which were formed of springs flowing down the mountain slopes. Travelers they bring freshness, helping to restore power. However, drinking from them is not recommended, for this purpose, each tourist backpack should be a plastic bottle with drinking water.
By the way, to gather berries and plants here is prohibited, not to mention to cut trees and to kindle a fire.
Sights of the area
Man-made attractions of the gorge is presented to the surviving churches, built in the XII-XVII centuries. This:
- Osia Maria (Holy Mary);
- the Church of Christ;
- the Church of St. Nicholas.
Some of the objects are located directly on the route, some slightly to one side.
Interestingly, in the Church of St. Mary of Egypt can be seen on one of the walls the date of its construction - 1379 year. There are also frescoes, but the researchers attributed to a later period – the middle of XVIII century.
In addition, approximately in the middle of the route, travelers will see several small houses, forming an idyllic picture of rural life in Crete.
Well, as omens of today here – phone, helipad, pharmacy (for certain occasions), and even a few mules, on which the Park staff regularly check the gorge, if necessary, to provide the travelers some help.
The route also ends in a village called Agia Roumeli. This is a real island civilization – with souvenir shops, tavernas and the lovely beach. From Agia Roumeli by ferry tourists out on the "mainland".
And I must say, I ferry a lot over the year-the Samaria gorge is visited by nearly 400 thousand tourists and in peak season – 3 thousand people daily.
When is the best time to visit?
The gorge takes tourists from April-may to early November. Limitations arise from the fact that in the winter months, here comes the rainy season, flowing between the rocks and the river overflows with water, making the terrain impassable. In addition, there is a danger of avalanches (also due to rains).
The ideal period for visiting here is spring: the river is deep and calm, gives the much-needed traveler cool, everything around is blooming, and most importantly – no sweltering heat that is summer, 30-odd degrees in the shade – not the best option for a fairly difficult hike.
To begin the journey, seasoned travelers recommend early in the morningwhen there is a large influx of people, but a little cooler will help more confident to overcome the kilometer after kilometer.
How to get there?
In the eternal debate, what is tourism better in these areas – organised or "wild" wins first place, especially if travelers are limited on time. Here everything is clear: the end of the tour "tied" to the ferry timetable, and "on the shore" tourists are already waiting for the bus to separate them at the destination.
In the Samaria gorge, the tourists come by bus (tour or Shuttle) from Chania. Its final stop and the beginning of the route Omalos plateau (1250 m above sea level). The journey ends in the village of Agia Roumeli where a ferry carries passengers to the town of Loutro or Chora Sfakion (East direction) or in Paleochora and Sugio (Westerndirection).
The ferry departs approximately 17-30, on the exact time, you should know in advance.
The ferry will sail for about an hour. Late for this type of transport or simply wishing to extend their stay in these places, you can spend the night in a small hotel in Agia Roumeli.
How to get yourself on the cars?
"Automobile" variant would not be considered ideal. They are suitable only physically strong people. You can, for example, to arrive early in the morning in a rented car to Omalos, walk the route through the gorge and immediately go back (but to go will have a mountain).
Can "prolong the pleasure" 2 days: going through the gorge, spend the night in Agia Roumeli and in the morning to go to the opposite, more difficult way.
Another option: start journey from Chora Sfakion, travelling there by car, then take the ferry, leaving the car on shore in the Parking lot. In this case, will have to walk uphill. Someone from tourists ready for such a test and, completing the route then turns in the opposite direction. Someone makes it a little easier, with the deletion of route 3 km stretch of wooden stairs.
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The passage of the gorge
To pass the Samaria gorge, the tourists should be ready physically, because along the way there are hard-to-reach places.
The main route
From Chania to the entrance of the national Park – 43 km. On Omalos plateau starts the main route, which is not so often make adjustments. The fact is that travel involves movement through the gorge downto the Libyan sea. The adventurers who risk to move in the opposite direction, way "uphill", and it is not easy.
The main route normally walk for 5-7 hours. This time is enough for a short period of relaxation, and photography. Those who are accustomed to set records and are in good physical shape, will complete the route in 3.5 hours.
Quite difficult as the first three-kilometer – descent down the trail is a staircase, which twists like a serpentine. Here we have firmer hold on the railing and handrails. When this slope is completed, tourists will set foot on the path that will lead them to the coast of the Libyan sea. Along the tourist trail is the river bed dries up in the hot summer months.
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For those whose physical training does not allow to pass through Samaria, provides alternative routes:
- start the journey from the village was Ksiloskalo, descending into the gorge on a special ladder (length – 900 m), walk a distance that is, and then go back;
- to start from Agia Roumeli to overcome a distance of approximately 6 km to see one of the sights – Iron gates (narrowest point of the gorge), and back.
- Because the path through the gorge – quite a serious test, traveller, daring the tour must be absolutely sure that I could handle it without harm for health.
- Clothing should be comfortable, hat – binding, Shoe – comfortable, thick soles, because sometimes you have to go on the rocks.
- On the way tourists usually do 4 stops, they are equipped with points where there are benches, table, have fresh water, toilets.
- Do not be surprised that even in "unorganized" tourists at the entrance to the gorge will take his passport data – this is the requirement of security. And do not expect to put the tent in some nice place and get settled for the night is local regulations is prohibited.
- The entrance to the gorge toll – cook for 5 euros (about 345 rubles). If the group takes a separate tour guide for the entire route, you will need to pay from 45 to 55 euros (3080-3760 RUB) each participant of the trip. For the ferry ticket will be needed for 9.5 euros (≈650 RUB.).
A bottle of water and a small snack (really to eat can only be in Agia Roumeli) it is better to put in a backpack.
See the ascent of the route in Samaria gorge in this video: