By far the most famous walk in Crete starts in Omalos down the National Park of the Samarian gorge. Open only in summer time you can walk down 16km to Agios Roumeli at the Libyan Sea in the south of Crete. It is the second longest gorge in Europe. Passing through the “Iron Gate” at the lower part of the gorge is very impressive: stone walls on both sides are 300m high and the pass is only 4m wide. At the end of the gorge, you will reach Agios Roumeli where you can take a well-deserved swim in the sea and meal at a local taverna. From here, a ferry leaves to return you back to Chora Sfakion or Sougia (where you will then find a bus back to Chania). This gorge is a must do whilst visiting Crete, however, it’s not for the faint hearted. Although thousands walk the path every year, it can be strenuous and takes 6-8 hours to complete.
Imbros gorge is the second most popular gorge walk in Crete, after the Samaria Gorge. The walk is 7km long and in some parts, it becomes very narrow. The entrance of the gorge starts at Imbros village and there is plenty of space to park your car. The walk is fairly easy and not a steep descent. It can be completed in 2.5 hours and you could easily walk with children. The gorge ends in the village of Komitades near Chora Sfakion. Here there are often ‘taxis’ willing to take you back to the top of the gorge for a small fee. This gorge offers stunning views and even though it is a lot smaller than Samaria, you still get the ‘gorge experience’ with some narrow parts. The gorge is also open all year, weather depending during the winter months.
Aradana Gorge is beautiful walk and one for the real adventurers! The walk begins in the village of Aradana located next to a spectacular bridge. In the summer, you may even see bungee jumpers jumping from the bridge. From Aradana, you start your descent down the narrow gorge. Some parts require going down steep ladders or rocks. You finish the walk at the stunning beach of Marmara Beach with its turquoise waters. There is even a little taverna located at the beach, for you to enjoy a meal or cold drinks. There are small ferries taking you back to Chora Sfakion or you can walk back up. One way, takes around 2-3 hours depending on your fitness level and pace.
Agia Irini Gorge
The gorge of Agia Irini is lusher in vegetation compared to Imbros and Samaria. It is a 7km walk amongst a variety of trees and vegetation. There are a few areas with fountains and drinking water, for you to cool off. The gorge is home to the famous Kri Kri mountain goat, if you are lucky, you may spot one! The walk begins in the villages of Agia Irini and is mostly shade, so perfect for hot summer days. This gorge walk is much smaller than Samaria, less crowded and has a smaller descent down making it an idea alternative.
Diktamos Gorge is a great local walk if you are in the Apokoronas. It runs between Katochori and Faragi villages close to Stylos. The area is very beautiful and lush with lots of plain trees. Although its not a steep descent, the walk can be tricky and require scrambling over rocks and through some water. A shorter gorge walk of only 7km but can take 3 hours to cross it.