Gorge of Samaria National Park
Gorge of Samaria National Park is part of the Tentative list of Greece in order to qualify for inclusion in the World Heritage List.
The Samaria Gorge in the Lefka Ori (White Mountains) in the southwest of the island of Crete is one of the longest gorges in Europe. Over a length of 17 kilometres, the gorge descends from an altitude of over 1200 metres to the coast of the Libyan Sea. At the narrowest point, it is only a few metres wide lined with high vertical rock walls. Due to its isolated location, the gorge offers habitat for many endemic plants and animal species, including the Cretan goat also known as Kri-kri.
Map of Gorge of Samaria National ParkLoad map
The coordinates shown for all tentative sites were produced as a community effort. They are not official and may change on inscription.
The hike through Samaria Gorge is one of the most popular outings in Crete. Although I'm not much of a hiker, this walk seemed too good to miss. So on an early morning in 1999 I packed water, bananas and a pack of crisps/chips into my daypack and went on my way.
I took the 7.30 bus from Hania to Omalos: a public bus but full of tourists. After a scenic mountain drive of over an hour we arrived at the park gate. I started following the trail immediately, as I was a little worried about getting stranded inside the gorge or without public transport back. The mass experience went on however, I guess there were about 80 others that had the same goal as I did for today and took off at the same hour.
The walk started with about 6 km going down on rocky stairs. There were trees all around so the heat that is so common on Crete wasn't too bad. There also were plenty of rest stops underway.
After about 2,5 hours I arrived at the bottom of the valley where the real gorge starts. Rocks and little wooden bridges dominated the second part of the walk. The heat also began to take its toll, as there is little shade among the rocks. The goal of the day changed in my mind from a nice walk to an assignment that I just had to finish. Which left little attention for the still impressive nature of this area.
After 5 hours and 20 minutes I suddenly arrived at the exit of the park. The guard collected half of the entry ticket to be sure that noone had stayed behind (accidentally or willingly) in the gorge. A tiring half hour bonus walk to the village of Agia Roumeli finally brought me to the boat that would take me back to Hora Sfakion (Sfakia).
Renomination under the same name on new Tentative List
2003 Added to Tentative List
More info on "value" needed
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