The Gorge of Samaria begins by the southern edge of the high plateau of Omalos in the White Mountains (Lefka Ori), some 42 km south of Chania.
The entrance at 1,127 meters above sea level is called the Wooden Stairs (Xyloskala). It is being overtowered by Mt. Gingilos (2,080 meters) which ranks as Crete's most beautiful mountain.
A path leads down the 16 kms long gorge, crossing the island's largest nature preserve.
|Slide show | Sfakia: Mt Gingilos (2,080 meters) above the entry to the gorge of Samaria||
It passes the abandoned village of Samaria, and by the gorge's southern exit the Iron Gate (Sideroportes) where the rocky walls form a corridor of only 2 meters width.
Another 2 km south there is the old fishing village of Agia Roumeli where one can have a swim in the Libyan Sea by the beach of the ancient town of Tarra, or relax in one of the tavernas while waiting for the boat that connects Paleohora and Soughia to Hora Sfakion.
Road distance: 105 km