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More walk Samaria Gorge

- by Archimedes

More walk Samaria Gorge.

Summer walkers just can't seem to get enough of the spectacular Samaria Gorge in south-west Crete. The number of holiday visitors walking the 16 kilometre Samaria Gorge jumped 25% in August compared to last year. In total, 29,238 people visited the Gorge of Samaria, with the vast majority selecting the entrance from Omalos.

The number of visitors from the entrance in Xyloskalo in August was 26,309 while the entrance in Agia Roumeli was visited by 2,929 people.

According to the Forest Directorate of Chania a total of 29,238 tourist visitors took the trail though the Samaria Gorge in August.

The vast majority took the downward route from Xyloskalo on Mount Omalos with 26,309 following the trail to Agia Roumeli on the south coast.

Only 2,929 people elected to enter at Agia Roumelli and head upwards, although even fewer would have made the upwards trek all the way with most staying in the southern part of the gorge.

The Samaria Gorge is one of the most popular excursion destinations in Crete and the gorge is one of the longest in Europe.

Now a national park the gorge can get very crowded in summer and this July visitor numbers were about 27,100 making a total well over 56,000 for the two most popular months of the year.

There are two advertised ways to walk Samaria – down the full 16km full length from Mount Omalos or a boat to Agia Roumelli and a trek to the edge of the gorge and back.

The main downhill walk is not easy and it can take from four to eight hours. Up to 3,000 walkers can arrive daily by coach and car in the high season.

They buy a one-day ticket at the large tourist pavilion at Omalos and step onto a railed zig-zag wooden walkway that drops into the gorge proper.

A popular stopping place on the way is the former 4th century village of Samaria which has been abandoned since 1952.

The most impressive stretch is through the 'Sidero Portes' or Iron Gates where the near vertical cliff walls are just four metres apart.

The Samaria Gorge is closed from October to May when rains can bring flash floods down the canyon. The park may also close on rainy days because of the danger from rock falls