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I am thinking of putting the Samaria Gorge on my Greek Bucket List but I feel like I need more information. In my research, I can see that one should start at the top, hike down, and then allow some time to explore the village at the end and get something to eat, maybe even sit at the beach. So, this seems like an all day thing? It seems totally doable and I am in decent shape, but I am nervous and need more information.

Are there any guided tours that will take me through the process?
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There are tours that leave Chania via bus on the Omolos Road and drop you off at the head of the gorge. I am not sure if any guides accompany you through the gorge; that might depend on the tour you choose. The hike of approximately 16 km takes an average of 4 -7 hours, depending on your fitness and the number of stops you make. When you reach the end, the village of Agia Roumeli, you’ll definitely want to have a swim and something to eat at the seaside tavernas. The tour includes a ferry ride from Agia Roumeli to Sfakia; where the bus meets you for the ride back to Chania. This is definitely a full day excursion, but well worth it.

If you want to do a shorter hike, you can take a bus or your rental car to Sfakia, Sougia, or Paleochora and take the early morning ferry to Agia Roumeli. Some people hike the gorge from the sea to the Iron Gates; a much shorter distance….but remember that you’d have to double-back to catch your return ferry from Agia Roumeli.

If you do either day trip by yourself, just be sure to research the bus/ferry schedules ahead of time so that you don’t get caught over-night in Agia Roumeli (though I can think of worse problems - it would be beautiful!)
So my friends did this hike, not I. Don’t think they would do it again. It was not easy hiking, a lot of loose rocks to walk on. They were required to wear hard hats due to possible falling rocks. They were pretty exhausted and sore after the day. Good luck.
This is some very good information. Dionasia, I heard the same thing from some other hikers. Deborah, thanks so much for your thoughtful response! After reading this feedback I am considering hiking through the gorge from Aqia Roumeli and then doubling back after I've had my fill. I had someone tell me to make sure I sit at that beach before I leave and buy some honey! Seems like this plan is more relaxing and gives me the most out of the experience.
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I think that you’ve made a good choice. A swim on Crete’s southern coast is always very special. When my daughter was very young, we went to the Iron Gates only from Agia Roumeli. Hiking in Crete always involves navigating some loose stones and yes, goats above you can cause some falling rock - but you’re more likely to encounter some very friendly goats (especially if you’re carrying snacks) on the shorter path to the Gates! If you have a rental car, you can always take separate road trips to the village of Anopolis (above Sfakia - a fantastic drive!) or to Omolos, to get a better sense of the majesty of the White Mountains.
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I have friends who did this hike, as well. I wanted to do it! However, after reading this thread, I think I might consider heading to that village and poking around. I heard the water at that beach is very warm and the black sand is really cool. The portion of the hike that leads to the gorge when done from the other direction I heard is difficult and not very scenic. Sounds like we are better off hiking through the gorge itself for as long as we feel like it and hen enjoy the village!
I can't wait to do this plan! Thanks, all, for chiming in. I'll have a rental car so I can explore around before or after my time at the gorge.

Tips for visiting Elafonissi Beach?

I'm planning a trip to the beautiful island of Crete and have been intrigued by pictures of Elafonissi Beach's pink sands and beautiful crystal blue waters. As I'm putting together my itinerary, I wanted to reach out to this knowledgeable community for some insider tips. Specifically, I'm looking for advice on the following:

  • Best Time to Visit: When is the ideal time of day or year to visit Elafonissi Beach to avoid the crowds but still enjoy good weather?
  • Transportation: What are the best transportation options to reach the beach? Are there any recommended car rental agencies or public transport options?
  • Facilities: Does the beach have facilities like sunbeds, umbrellas, or cafes?
  • Local Eateries: Are there any must-try local eateries in the area that offer authentic Cretan cuisine?
  • Accommodation: Can you recommend any nearby accommodations ranging from budget to luxury?
  • Activities: Besides swimming and sunbathing, what other activities can one enjoy at or near Elafonissi Beach?
Also, are there any specific dos and don'ts or local customs I should be aware of while visiting Elafonissi Beach? Thanks in advance!

This is one of the photos I saw - it looks gorgeous there!


Hiking advice for Crete?

I want to hike while I am on Crete but I need advice. I have never hiked in Greece before. Any advice is appreciated! Some things on my mind:

  • Best Trails: I was thinking Samaria gorge and maybe one other during my stay. Ay advice?
  • Preparation Tips: What should I pack or prepare for these hikes? Considering the terrain and weather conditions, are there specific items (beyond the basic hiking gear) that are must-haves for Crete? What kinds of shows? How much water?
  • Local Guides or Groups: Do you recommend hiking with a local guide or joining a group for certain trails? If so, how can I find reputable guides or groups
Thanks in advance!

Spending time at Rethymno Old Town on Crete question

I'm planning a trip to Crete and have been captivated by what I've heard about Rethymno's old town. From its charming cobblestone streets to its rich history and beautiful architecture, it sounds like a place I wouldn't want to miss. However, I'd love to hear from people who've actually spent time there.

What do you recommend? What has been your experiences?

I'm all for immersing myself in the local culture, so any tips on cultural experiences or events would also be greatly appreciated.

Visiting Zorba Beach on Crete Questions

I'm planning a trip to Crete and I've heard wonderful things about Zorba Beach. I'm looking for some detailed information and personal experiences from those who have visited.
  1. Best Time to Visit: What is the ideal time of year to visit Zorba Beach to avoid large crowds but still enjoy good weather?
  2. Activities: Besides relaxing on the beach, what kind of activities are available? Are there any water sports, hiking trails, or local cultural experiences you would recommend?
  3. Amenities: What facilities are available at Zorba Beach? Are there restaurants, sunbeds, and changing rooms, or should I bring my own supplies?
  4. Accessibility: How easy is it to reach the beach from the main tourist areas? Is there public transportation, or would you recommend renting a car?
  5. Accommodations: Are there good places to stay nearby, or is it better to stay in a different area and make a day trip out of it?
  6. Local Tips: Any insider tips or lesser-known facts about Zorba Beach that would enhance my visit?
The reason why I ask is I have a friend who's been and I want to go, but the friend doesn't remember any details!

Visiting the Minoan Palaces on Crete Question

I am planning a trip to Crete, specifically to explore the ancient Minoan palaces, which have been on my bucket list for years. I've always been fascinated by the history and myths surrounding the Minoans, and I'm eager to see the remnants of this great civilization first-hand. However, I want to ensure that my trip is as enriching and smooth as possible, so I’m reaching out for some advice.

  1. Best Time to Visit: When is the ideal time of year for visiting these sites in terms of weather and avoiding large tourist crowds?
  2. Must-See Palaces: Of course, the Palace of Knossos is at the top of my list, but I’d love to know if there are other Minoan palaces or sites that are equally worth exploring.
  3. Guided Tours vs. Solo Exploration: Are there benefits to opting for a guided tour of these palaces, or would I have a more personal and fulfilling experience exploring on my own?
  4. Transportation Tips: What's the best mode of transportation for getting around to these different sites? I'm wondering about rentals, public transportation, or any local tips on moving around the island.
  5. Local Insights: Any suggestions for local restaurants or cafes near these sites? I’m also interested in any cultural norms or tips that might help me respect and understand the local customs better.
Thanks in advance! I know there's a few - and Knossos Palace is one of them. There are others, like Malia. I would be interesting in seeing any of them because I am a history buff.
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