Samaria Gorge is considered by many to be the finest natural site on the island of Crete. Approximately ten miles in length, it is among the world’s narrowest and deepest canyons canyons. Thanks to water stops and an alterative way to get in and out of the gorge, it is extremely hikeable from end to end. The Samaria Gorge is located within Samaria Gorge National Park and is a World Biosphere Reserve.
South Central Crete, where Samaria Gorge is located, has been inhabited since the dawn of recorded history. Settlements existed in the gorge for almost all of that time, until one of the last villages (also named Samaria) was finally abandoned in 1962 to allow for the creation of the national Park. Another small village, Agia Roumeli, exists at the end of the gorge hike primarily to support the tourism industry.
Samaria Gorge was formed by a river that flowed down from the mountains of central Crete but which no longer exists. The most famous feature of the canyon is known as the Portes (the Gates), where the gorge narrows to a little over ten feet in width, with walls rising to nearly a thousand feet on each side (one of the narrowest and deepest such sites on the planet).
Samaria Gorge is a very popular destination for both locals and visitors. While many come to hike to reach the Gates, which can be done in a few hours hiking in and out, a full hike through the canyon and back is an overnight trip. Facilities and infrastructure along the way make this more possible for hikers. Web: http://samaria.chaniacrete.eu (official website).