samaria gorge

Old Jul 30th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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samaria gorge

My wife and I will be in Hania, Crete in September. Any thoughts about hiking Samaria Gorge. What I've read is that one can take a public bus from Hania to the Gorge. Is the hike doable to do in one day and return to Hania. Any suggestions?
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Old Jul 30th, 2006, 12:56 PM
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We did it and loved the day. Afterwards I found out it is a horrible and toursity way to spend the day. I'm glad I didnt' know that in advance or we wouldn't have liked it. (OK, will remove by tongue from cheek now).

There are a number of companies that do the "package" and it is really worth it. They provide the bus to the top of the gorge, and later a boat from the beach at the end of the gorge (which can't be reached by vehicles) and then a bus from another point back to Chania. We left very early in the morning and returned in the early evening. We packed sandwiches and water for the trip.
 
Old Jul 30th, 2006, 10:34 PM
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We did it by public bus, albeit from Paleochora. Same principles apply.

go to the KTEA bus station which is out of the tourist centre, but marked on all the maps. Ask for the bus to Samaria. It leaves as the sparrows are clearing their throats, or slighty before. It drops you at the top of the wooden stairs (Xyloskalo). Pay for your ticket. Walk down. Walk the gorge. Have lunch, maybe a dook. Get the boat to either Chora Sfakion or Sougia. Get the public bus back.

The difference in cost between a costed tour and the public bus was about €1.50. It did feel like we were walking to the moon without a support crew but worked out just fine.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 04:06 AM
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sheila, you may have been lucky. When we were there it was very busy. At the beach at the end there were some independent people who wanted to buy boat tickets, but they were all sold. There was talk of another boat coming, but no one seemed to be sure. And when we got to the bus, we fortunately had tickets, because those busses were all full. We too did the price comparison, and thought it was safer to have everything reserved.
 
Old Jul 31st, 2006, 06:00 AM
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Well, we were not in high season- but in September, but there really was no issue.

The ferry office had all the information we needed, and we were out of with no difficulty.
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 07:27 AM
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We did Samaria on an organised trip - the bus got us to the top for 7am so we could start the walk before the day got too hot. What time does public transport get you there? Don't have too many plans the next day, though reasonably fit walkers, we were pretty stiff!
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Old Jul 31st, 2006, 03:10 PM
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Are you keen /experienced walkers? - it's quite a long way, and can get very hot. We did it years ago, and my main memory is that we took too long and almost missed the boat. Literally. Crete is lovely.
Good luck!
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 02:19 AM
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"Are you keen /experienced walkers?"

It is only 17 kilometres. My son was 7 years old when we walked it. And there were even smaller kids walking it. Really, just walk slowly, and have sufficiently drinking water. There is also a drinking fountain somewhere in the middle.

And yes, most people do it in one day, although it is nice to stay in Hora Sfakion (or was it the next village?) for a night and wait for the crowds to leave.
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Old Aug 1st, 2006, 02:42 AM
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Bus times are on www.ktel.org - enter "Chania" to "Omalos (Samaria Gorge)". Morning buses are at 0615, 0730 and 0830. Schedules for boats from Ayia Roumeli at the end of the Gorge are on http://www.cretetravel.com/To_and_fr...rete_south.htm
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Old Aug 3rd, 2006, 08:26 PM
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My husband and I bought tickets on a "tour". I remember that the bus picked us up really early from Chania. There was a tour guide who talked about the area for much of the ride to the Gorge, but once we arrived there the hike itself was done individually. I remember that we arrived at the start of the hike at 8:00 am. The guide arranged for us all to meet at a particular taverna at the bottom at 2 ish. My husband & I are fairly fit 30 year olds and the hike was no problem at all. The whole thing is downhill! (my favorite part - we live in the Rockies where you always have to hike uphill for at least an hour or more to get to where the good scenery is. The whole way down the SAmaria Gorge I kept saying that it was my favorite hike EVER "it's all downhill").

The hike is beautiful and unique. We finished in just under or over 4 hours (can't quite remember). I was very tired by the end of it - probably a combination of the hike itself and having to be up so early for the bus (and nothing to do with the couple of extra shots of raki I insisted that we do at the end of dinner the night before....). Since we had time to kill we went to the beach and swam in the Libyan sea - another of my favorite parts (you just can't do that at the end of a hike in the Rockies - the water is not warm ).

Our "tour" then included tickets to get on the ferry which took you along the coast (absolutely beautiful ride), to a place where the bus picked us back up again for what felt like a very loooooong ride back to Chania.

I can't remember what the cost of the "tour" was - for us it was worth it as we got to enjoy the hike without worrying about all of the other transportation issues. However there were tons of people on the hike so I imagine that public transportation must be fairly convenient. It may make for a very long day if the public bus makes a lot of stops between the gorge and Chania.

Enjoy the hike. It's worth it. I recommend bringing a hat. We brought a little backpack with water and we bought some snacks from Chania (some nuts and fruit, I think). There is plenty to eat and drink at the end of the trail. And do bring a bathing suit - that swim was fun.
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Old Aug 4th, 2006, 05:12 AM
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About the swim -- you end up at a black sand beach. In the very hot mid afternoon sun, it is blistering hot. I remember running across the sand to get into the water, and I literally burned the bottoms of my feet. They were sore for days -- burned sore, not hiking sore!
 
Old Aug 4th, 2006, 05:59 AM
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Yes, I also remember it being very hot at the beach - south facing with little or no shade. The sea however is very dark blue, deep and cold. As I'd turned beetroot colour after the hike, it was most welcome!

I think the reason for us feeling so stiff after the walk, was that it was all down hill, so only acted on one set of muscles.

Which ever way you do it, start early, as this means you will walk the first part with some shade. Fresh water springs are available throughout the route.
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Old Aug 8th, 2006, 11:38 PM
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hello, check this link, it might be of some interest: http://www.igogreece.com/EN/Greece.a...D=98&parent=97
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