Crete is an island of stunning natural beauty. Exquisite long sandy beaches with azure waters, high mountains, plateaus, lakes and rivers.
However, the island is also famous for its wild gorges, including the one of Samaria (a national park), which is crossed every year by those who want to see nature’s wonder from up close and are capable and willing to hike through its 17 kilometers. The ones who had say it’s a fascinating experience.
Crete has about 50 gorges in and around Lefka Ori (White Mountains). The most imposing ones cut deep in the mountains and lead to the Libyan Sea. The most popular are 3 or 4 of them, while some of the rest have seen very few visitors over the years and mostly for observation, rather than leisure.
Apart from the famous Samaria Gorge, few more are popular. The Gorge of Imbros, which ends up near Sfakia –in the Libyan Sea-, attracts many visitors around spring time, before the Samaria Gorge opens up for the public. Let’s remind everyone that Samaria is open from May until October, since the stream that crosses it, turns into an impetuous torrent and some of its sections cannot be crossed. Imbros is easier and shorter.
The Agia Irini Gorge, which ends up near the town of Sougia in Chania, is frequently visited by individuals and groups. Its path is quite simple and easy to follow.
Finally, the Aradena Gorge –not far from the town of Loutro- is somewhat less popular and the walk is more difficult, since it has a lot of steep and very narrow passages.
The rest of the Cretan gorges are much less visited for leisure and if they do, a guide is absolutely necessary. Nature is wild and unspoiled and you never know what sort of an animal you might stumble across or what sort of an unusual and difficult situation you might have to face. These gorges include the one in Tripiti, Agiofarango, Eligas, Selinari, Klados and Kourtalioti.
It’s absolutely crucial to remind potential visitors that in case they decide to cross the Samaria Gorge –or any gorge for what matters-, they need to be prepared. Appropriate hiking shoes, hats, lots of water, a snack, a small First Aid kit and light clothes are a must. Also, a good physical condition is a prerequisite. Now you are ready to enjoy a once in a lifetime experience in the Greek nature…