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près de Samariá, Crete (Greece)
The second longest gorge hiking route in Europe is located on the island of Crete, in the south Aegean and it's the Samaria Gorge. Start off at the city of Chania (arrive in Chania either by air at the town airport CHQ or ferry from Athens at the town port) and get an early transfer to Omalos plateau up in the White Mountains mountain range at 1227m which is the starting point. You will hike 18km down to sea level! Marvel at the the stunning rock formations from beginning to end, especially the narrow pass at 'Sidiroportes' a few kilometers before the end of the trail and watch out for falling rocks! Admire the huge cypress trees, native vegetation and animals such the rarely seen 'kri kri' goats and do take that refreshing dip in the Libyan sea when you arrive at the end of the hike - at the small coastal village of Agia Roumeli. From thereon you can take a boat to Sfakia village or to Sougia village and from there take a transfer back to Chania.
TIPS: Samaria Gorge is open from 01 May to 15 October each year. Try to be at the starting point very early, this is an easy hike but demanding due to terrain and the scorching sun. Don't go with flip flops or sandals just because you're on holiday! Wear proper hiking boots, have plenty of water and be sure to protect against the sun! Not suitable to be hiked during July+August for elderly people or people with asthma or other medical conditions.