The Samariá Gorge is a National Park of Greece since 1962 on the island of Crete – a major tourist attraction of the island – and a World's Biosphere Reserve.
The gorge is in southwest Crete in the regional unit of Chania and is the longest one in Europe. It is an area of stunning natural beauty. The fauna and flora life is very rich, offering more then 400 unique species protected by international law.
The gorge is 16 km long, starting at an altitude of 1,250 m at the northern entrance, and ending at the shores of the Libyan Sea in Agia Roumeli. The walk through Samaria National Park is 13 km long and then there are another 3 km to Agia Roumeli from the park exit.
The most famous part of the gorge is the stretch known as the Gates, or "Iron Gates", where the sides of the gorge close in to a width of only 4 meters and soar up to a height of almost 300 meters, the perfect place to take amazing photos.
Inside the gorge you may even meet its famous inhabitants, the wild goats of Crete, Kri-Kri, but also probably see some in the village of Samaria, as they often approach the houses at the edge of the village.
A must for visitors to Crete is to complete the walk down the gorge from the Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea and sail to the nearby village of Sougia or Hora Sfakion.
Ayia Rouméli is a small coastal village that you reach after walking through the Samaria Gorge. From here a frequent boat service will take you directly to Loutró and Hóra Sfakion. The ancient Greek site of Tára, is on the left (east) hill as you exit the gorge. Many of the finds from Tára are housed in the Archaeological Museum of Chania.
Tára flourished during Greek, Roman and Byzantine times. In Ayia Roumeli you can also visit the Byzantine churches of Panagia, Agia Triada, and Agios Pavlos, a Turkish castle and an exceptionally beautiful beach.
To the east of Ayia Rouméli you can discover the beaches of Mármara (at the exit of the Arádaina gorge), the wild beaches of Lýkos and Finikas, and the charming village of Loutró.