Meet your guide at your central Chania hotel and settle inside your air-conditioned minivan with the rest of your small group. Then, soak up the views of Crete’s White Mountains as you journey southward to the Samaria Gorge.
Along the way, hear how the limestone gorge ranks as one of the longest in Europe, and is part of the Samaria national park. On arrival, get a safety briefing and set off with your guide on the approximately 6-hour hike. Your route will take you along the 10-mile (16-kilometer) long path that leads through and out of the gorge.
Walk at a steady pace that suits you, and follow your guide through the stunning ravine. As you hike, learn about the gorge’s history and geographical make-up, and drink in the untouched scenery.
Follow the rocky trails, where some stretches are uneven and steep, and look out for deserted villages such as Samaria, abandoned by its residents in the 1960s to make way for the park. Watch for birds of prey wheeling overhead, and keep your eyes peeled for rare flowers and kri-kri, the wild goats sometimes spotted on the slopes.
Pass through the spectacular ‘Gates’ stretch of the gorge, where the ravine narrows to just 13 feet (4 meters) wide. Negotiate the path between the steep-sided cliffs that tower more than 300 feet (90 meters) up on either side.
Toward the end of your hike, leave the gorge and follow the downhill tracks to Crete’s southern coast, where the village of Aghia Roumeli flanks a pretty bay. Enjoy free time to relax in the village — accessible only from the sea or through the gorge — and perhaps cool off with a refreshing dip in the sea.
Refuel with lunch (own expense) at a taverna before taking a boat along the coast to a nearby port. Your trip ends with a hotel drop-off back in Chania.