White Mountains National Park was established in 1962 and at the heart is Samaria Gorge where there are more than 450 protected species of animals and plants.
This is the longest gorge in Europe and there are organised tours that include bus or ferry transport.
Walking the whole distance can take between 6 and 7 hours. Sturdy footwear is needed as there are tricky sections. You may well meet donkeys along the route!
Often called a paradise and deserving of the description, the gorge has stunning views. You may well see the endangered Kri-Kri (Cretan Mountain goats) which leap with ease along the steep rocky cliffs. There are also owls, kestrels and the rare Beared Vulture.
During the high season the gorge can be crowded and very hot. The descent is around 2 kilometres via a rocky footpath. At the bottom you will find Agios Nikolaos, a temple dedicated to Apollo.
The walk takes you past the deserted village of Samaria. This is a challenging walk but the reward is a beautiful small village where you can rest before returning either by bus or ferry.
Samaria Gorge is 37 kilometres from Chania Airport and 108 kilometres from Heraklion. You can travel there by bus and ferry or by car. From Chania the journey takes around 2 hours.
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