South of Chania a deep, verdant crevice extends 10 km (6 miles) from near the village of Xyloskalo to the Libyan sea. The landscape—of forest, sheer rock faces, and running streams and inhabited by the elusive and endangered kri-kri (wild goat)—is magnificent. The Samaria, protected as a national park, is the most traveled of the dozens of gorges that cut through Crete's mountains and emerge at the sea, but the walk through the canyon—in places only a few feeet wide and almost 2,000 feet deep—is thrilling nonetheless. Buses depart the central bus station in Hania at 7:30 and 8:30 am for Xyloskalo. Boats leave in the afternoon from the mouth of the gorge (most people don't hike back up) at Ayia Roumeli for Hora Sfakion, from where buses return to Hania. Travel agents also arrange day trips to the gorge. Also from Chania a couple of extremely scenic routes head south across the craggy White Mountains to the isolated Libyan sea villages of Paleochora, the main resort of the southwest coast, and Souyia, a pleasant collection of white-washed houses facing a long beach. Much of this section of the coast, including the village of Loutro, is accessible only by boat or by a seaside path.
Xyloskalo, Crete, 73005, Greece