Hiking the Samaria Gorge in Crete

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One of the big bucket list of things to do while on Crete is to walk the Samaria Gorge. At 16kms long it is Europe’s longest gorge and filled with history and scenic beauty. My wife booked a local guide through Air B&B and set the whole trip up before I even arrived.

samaria-thumb.jpg

It was an early start to catch a taxi into town to the meetup point. Pari (the guide) arrived on time in an old 4 wheel drive (as expected). I jumped in and off we went. I was her only guest on this trip, so it ended up being a private tour of the gorge.

It was a long drive to the start, winding up through the mountains until we came to a little parking spot with very few cars and just a couple of busses.

I bought my pass at the kiosk and off we went down into the gorge. As expected, it was a lovely sunny day, but not too hot, as we descended sharply. The footing was rocky and slippery, and I was glad of the grip on my Vibrim Five Finger shoes. They worked well in the gorge, and for a change I didn’t slam my toes into a rock, not even once. That makes a big difference. Although by the end of the day, my feet were really sore. (no padding on the soles of the shoes)

Pari, my guide, was very knowledgeable, explaining how different herbs were used and the history of the gorge. Her family lived in the village of Samaria until 1962, when the gorge became a national park. She showed me old stone buildings that belonged to her family, and her father’s house, which was now a first aid post in the village.

I found it quite hard to keep up with her, as she had quite long legs, and you can’t walk fast in ‘fives’ on rocky ground. So she was constantly waiting (patiently) for me.

In the village I saw the kri-kri (native goats) that were the reason the gorge was turned into a national park – to preserve them. They seemed quite docile, considering they are wild, and not at all bothered by me taking photographs of them.

We left the village and carried on down to ‘The Gates’ – a narrow section where you can almost reach out and touch both walls at once. This was one of the reasons why the Turks and the Germans failed to conquer this part of Crete. And why the village of Samaria is where freedom fighters hid out from the invading armies.

Eventually, after about seven hours of walking, we reached the end of the gorge and looked out over the Libian Sea. I could see Libia in the far off distance as I sat and drank a well deserved beer, while I waited for the ferry that would take us to Sfakia where we would catch a bus back to the start.

By the time we got back to Chania I was pretty tired. Pari dropped me off in town and I wandered down towards the harbour to meet my wife and friends for dinner, quite happy with the day (except for quite sore feet).

If you ever make it to Crete, spend a day walking through the gorge. Take your time and enjoy it. Wear good shoes (probably not ‘fives’) and remember to take some money for a beer at the end. It’s well worth it.

Check out the video of the day


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  ·  작년

You mostly walked accompanied by a wonderful natural cicadas concert: how wonderful!
Thanks for sharing with us these wonderful little-known places of Crete!

$trdo & !giphy hiking+crete

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Oh wow, that looks like one heck of a hike, but it seems you enjoyed yourself. I can't remember the last time I went hiking, but yest, you need good comfy shoes. I'll keep that in mind about fives not being good for hiking.

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Thanks for that. ;-)

Fives are excellent for hiking. I hike in them all the time. I've done some really big, alpine, multi-day hikes in them.

But walking all day on stone was not so much fun by the end of it. :-)

Once I got my fives, I sold my hiking boots and never wore anything like them again. They are THAT much better to hike in.

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Ok, duly noted ;) Thanks for the tip.

I like that Greek music that you chose for your video :)

Well, Pari must have been very patient with you as I do see that such trails are not right for the shoes that you wore. I'm glad that you didn't have any accidents :)

7 hours walking is tough when it's a sunny day. But it's definitely worth it when you're in such beautiful piece of Greece ;)

Thank you for sharing your video and congratulations on your curie vote!

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Thanks for that :-)

Pari was very patient. It seems seven hours is not such a long time to take walking the gorge. She has had people take a LOT longer.

My shoes were fine right up until the last few kilometers, and then my feet really started to hurt.

And seven hours is not so long for walking for me (I did ten hours non-stop a couple weeks after this hike -) )

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Would you recommend such shoes for hiking in the mountains? I have normal trekking shoes but find them too hard very often. You feel safer as it's not that easy to twist your ankle but I wonder if there are better options..

Good for you! I love walking but ten hours would be a little too long for me :)

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Yes I would recommend them for walking in the mountains. :-)

There are some things to consider however -

  • they are not waterproof - not even a little bit
  • you need to spend a lot of time in them beforehand to get your feet and ankles etc used to them. Do this slowly to avoid injury.
  • there is no padding on the soles, so if you walk for a long time on hard uneven surfaces it will start to hurt.
  • you can't walk as fast as you can in normal shoes / boots

But you will be more agile, lighter and suffer much less fatigue than you would with normal shoes.

As for twisting an ankle - that's the whole point! You ankle is designed to twist. encasing it in a boot stops it from doing it's job.

This is one of the reasons why you need to build up to walking any sort of distance in these shoes because you also need to strengthen your ankles.

Consider this - I use these shoes to strengthen my ankles - I can walk for days in alpine territory with a full pack, roll my ankle, slip on ice, stub my toes (ouch!) and keep on going. Because my ankles and feet are strong an flexible these events are not a problem for me any more.

So that's one of the big selling points for these shoes for me - they make your legs bomb-proof

Do you know what is beautiful? Walk an extraordinary place with the people you love! I adore your video, it was an interesting walk♡♡

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