Samaria is one of the places we often devote a place to on our site. This gorge is not without exaggeration is considered one of the biggest attractions of the western part of Crete. Every year in high season it is visited by even over a thousand people a day. Its popularity was influenced not only by the natural beauty of this place, but also by the name of the longest gorge in Europe.
Although there is already a guide on our site, in which we described in detail the trip from Paleochora to the Samaria Gorge , we decided to supplement it with an additional article because we get a lot of questions about self-organization. Below you will find detailed information on this topic of this trip carried out from several important cities of central and western Crete .
At the outset, we would like to point out that in these descriptions we will not go further east of Crete than to Rethymno. Independent organization of a trip to Samaria from cities such as Rethymno or Heraklion, in our opinion, does not make much sense without using a rented car. A round trip bus journey will take a long time or will not be feasible within one day. If during your stay in the eastern region of Crete you dream of such a trip to the Samaria Gorge then you will need to make accommodation in one of the cities located on the western part of the island.
People who are still farther east in cities such as Agios Nikolaos, Ierapetia or Sitia should think about the sense of the trip to the Samaria Gorge in general. However, if you are very determined to go this route, we strongly recommend you to use the services of one of the local travel agencies, which as part of the trip will provide you with a bus transfer from and to the hotel.
Ways to organize a trip to Samaria yourself:
Short trip plan:
Chania [KTEL - 5:00, 6:15, 7:45, 8:45]> passage [1:05]> Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 or ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [0:40]> Sougia [KTEL: 18:15]> passage [2:00]> Chania [arrival around 20:15]
Cost of the trip:
ticket KTEL Chania - Xyloskalo - 7.8 €
admission ticket to the Samaria Gorge - 5 €
ticket for the ANENDYK / Nen Kritis ferry - 11 € / 10 €
ticket KTEL Sougia - Chania - 7.8 €
Total fixed costs: approx. 32 €
The implementation of the trip from Chania is not a problem. In the peak of the holiday season, there are even four bus routes that provide direct access to Xyloskalo, the starting point of the trail leading through Samaria.
A large number of KTEL connections from Chania to Xyloskalo should also interest people whose hotels are located in this part of the north coast of Crete. Using bus transport, you can be tempted to get to the bus station in Chania yourself, and then without the help of local travel agencies realize your trip to the Samaria Gorge. For many towns, such as Agia Marina, Platanias, Maleme or even Georgioupolis, it should be relatively easy and not too expensive.
In 2019, the holiday route network from Chania to Xyloskalo looked as follows: - the first course (unavailable on Sundays) is already running at 5:00, and the next ones at: 6:15, 7:45 and 8:45. The journey time is estimated to be about 1 hour and 5 minutes. The total ticket price is 7.5 €.
After reaching Xyloskalo, just go to the entrance gate to buy a park entrance ticket costing € 5 and you can already enjoy the beautiful views extending within the Samaria Gorge. You can find more detailed information and comments related to the trail in our previous article .
Samaria Iron Gate
After passing the gorge and reaching the modern part of Agia Roumeli, people who want to finish their trip in Chania have at least a few different options related to returning to this city. Regardless of whether you choose the first option by Sougia or the second option described below by Chora Sfakion, the further stages of your trip will be partly realized by sea.
The first solution adopted in this variant is to buy a ticket for the ferry running between Agia Roumeli and Sougia. Depending on the carrier, the cost of the ferry ticket on this route is as follows: Nen Kritis - 10 €, ANENDYK - 11 €. The time it takes the ship to travel the distance between these two places is about 40 minutes. It is also worth noting that the Nen Kritis ferries are moored at a small marina on the west side of the beach.
Anendyk ferries moor at the main harbor of Agia Roumeli.
You can reach Sougia several minutes after 6pm. On the road leading to the marina, where the ferry arrives, there will be a KTEL bus leaving to Chania. It is worth remembering that this course is only carried out after the ANENDYK ferry arrives at Sougia. Certainly you do not have to worry about the fact that if the ferry is late, the bus will leave without you. Approximate bus departure time is 18:15. The cost of a KTEL ticket on the Sougia - Chania route is € 7.80. The total length of the connection is about 2 hours. Such a long journey time is due to the fact that the return bus route passes through the Omalos plateau.
You will reach Chania around 20:15.
Short trip plan:
Chania [KTEL - 5:00, 6:15, 7:45, 8:45]> passage [1:05]> Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 or ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [approx. 1:00]> Sick Sfakion [KTEL: 18:30]> transfer [approx. 1:40]> Chania [arrival around 20:10]
Cost of the trip:
Total fixed costs: approx. 34 €
At the beginning it is worth noting that this option will allow you to reach Chania at a similar time as when returning through the village of Sougia. For the most part, the trip will be very similar to the previously described solution. What distinguishes this variant from the previous one is the way of organizing the return to Chania after passing the entire trail through the Samaria Gorge. In this case, after reaching Agia Roumeli, the next stage will be overcoming the sea section to Chora Sfakion.
A ticket office where you can only buy tickets (!) For Anendyk ferries
A small vessel Nen Kritis leaves from the western harbor at Agia Roumeli at 17:00, while the ANENDYK ferry leaves to Chora Sfakion from the main port at 17:30. The cost of the ticket for the connection between these cities is 12 € for the first shipowner and 12.5 € for the second, respectively. It is worth mentioning here that the smaller units that Nen Kritis has at its disposal are not able to make connections in case of worse weather conditions, in particular at high waves. There are situations when Nen Kritis flights are canceled, which is why we personally do not recommend buying tickets in advance, which are offered by local travel agencies. In case of cancellation you will have to claim a refund. You can pay for the cruise without any hassles directly on the Nen Kritis ship. ANENDYK connections are definitely a more reliable choice in this respect. From our own experience, however, we can confidently recommend the services of both companies, which we have used personally many times. Important note at the end: Anendyk ferries depart to Sougia / Paleochora and to Sfakia at the same time (17:30). Don't mistake these ferries at the marina!
Nen Kritis ferries moor at the small harbor on the west side of the beach in Agia Roumeli.
One of the advantages of this option to return to Chania is that during the cruise you will be able to see the town of Loutro, which looks particularly picturesque from the upper deck of the ANENDYK ferry. Cruise to Chora Sfakion is a great opportunity to capture in the pictures a small bay, around which there is a tight hotel building consisting of small white buildings.
The ferry reaches Chora Sfakion around 18:30. Again, as in the case of Sougia, the KTEL bus driver will wait with the departure until all passengers on the ferry willing to use the services of this carrier are inside the vehicle.
After over 1.5 hours by bus after 20:10 you will reach Chania.
Short trip plan:
By car to Omalos-Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 or ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [0:40]> Sougia [KTEL: 18:15]> passage [approx. 1 hour]> Xyloskalo [arrival around 19:15]> access by car to the hotel
Cost of the trip:
Total fixed costs: approx. 22 € + the cost of renting a car and fuel
We reserve this option for all people who are off the main KTEL bus routes and for that reason will not be able to carry out this trip using public transport. Regardless of which town you will be in, you have to get to the Omalos plateau by car, and then to Xyloskalo where the point where the trail begins through the Samaria Gorge begins. You can leave your car in the quite spacious parking lot next to the hostel. In the morning, due to the large number of buses coming here that bring organized trips, this place may seem crowded. However, until the afternoon only individual tourists' cars will remain in the car park.
Parking by the hostel in front of the entrance to the Samaria Gorge
After passing the Samaria Gorge and reaching Agia Roumeli, you must buy tickets for the cruise to Sougia, which costs 10 or 11 € depending on the shipowner. The first harbor at Agia Roumeli leaves the ship Nen Kritis, which leaves towards Sougia at 5pm. Half an hour later, the ANENDYK ferry sets off on the same route.
After reaching Sougia you have to change to the KTEL bus heading towards Chania. This course is carried out through the Omalos Plateau. The bus covers this route in about an hour. After reaching Xyloskalo, you can change to your own car and set off on your way back to the hotel.
Considering this variant of the trip to the Samaria Gorge, you must remember that the costs did not include the costs of renting a car or refueling it. It is worth adding them in your calculations, because it can clearly affect the profitability of this solution in relation to other based on public transport.
The undoubted disadvantage of this solution is also that it is only available during the holiday peak. Usually in low season buses running on the Sougia - Chania route do not cross the Omalos plateau and thus do not have a stop at Xyloskalo.
Short plan of the trip from Paleochora:
Paleochora [KTEL - 6:15]> passage [1:30]> Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 or ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [1:30]> Paleochora
Total fixed costs: approx. 29 €
A brief plan of the trip from Sougia:
Sougia [KTEL - 7:00]> transfer [about 1 hour]> Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 or ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [0:40]> Sougia
Total fixed costs: approx. 22 €
If your stay in Crete falls in one of these two places, then the implementation of an independent trip to Samaria is extremely simple. In May, with the opening of the entrance to the trail through this gorge, morning bus connections to Omalos / Xyloskalo are launched.
In the case of Paleochora, the bus service runs at 6:15. The KTEL station is located on the main street in the central part of the town in a building with a clearly visible sign hanging. Here you can buy tickets and wait for the opportunity to get inside the bus.
Bus stop in Paleochora
In Sougia, the bus departure takes place from the stop located on the west side of the road along the coast (roughly just behind the Livikon tavern). There is a small kiosk where tickets are sold. If this place is closed, you can easily buy tickets directly from the bus driver.
After reaching Xyloskalo, which in the case of Paleochora takes a long time, a trip through the Samaria Gorge is carried out in the same way as for other variants.
Your last stage of the trip will be a return by ferry to the starting town, i.e. to Paleochora or to Sougia. As with the options described earlier, you can use the services of the shipowner Nen Kritis and Anendyk. The approximate time to return to Sougia is at 18:10, while in the case of Paleochora it will be around 19.
The harbor in Paleochora
Short trip plan for commuting to Sougia:
Self-drive by car from the hotel> Paleochora [KTEL - 6:15]> drive [1:30]> Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 lun = b ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [1:30]> Paleochora> Self-drive to the hotel by car
Total fixed costs: approx. 29 € + car and fuel costs
Self-drive by car from the hotel> Sougia [KTEL - 7:00]> transfer [about 1 hour]> Xyloskalo> Samaria - walking trail> Ag. Roumeli [ferries: NEN KRITIS - 17:00 or ANENDYK - 17:30]> cruise [0:40]> Sougia> Self-drive to the hotel by car
Total fixed costs: approx. 22 € + the cost of renting a car and fuel
This travel option can be especially useful for those planning a trip to the Samaria Gorge during early spring or late autumn. During these periods, evening KTEL bus services on the Sougia - Omalos route are usually not available, as they run only during the holiday season.
Regardless of whether you choose the option to start the trip in Sougia or Paleochora, the first step you will have to do is to get to these places yourself. Remember, however, that buses leave very early. It is 7:00 for Sougia and 6:15 for Paleochora, respectively. Due to the early departure of buses from these cities, it is worth considering buying accommodation.
In Paleochora, be careful not to leave your car near the bus station. According to the marking that is placed in this area along the road, there is a prohibition of stopping here, which is strictly enforced. We personally saw drivers who were fined for parking in this area of Paleochora. If you have enough time, we suggest you leave your car in a relatively large parking lot at the marina.
Coaches waiting in Sougia for ferry passengers
In Sougi, the bus stop is located on the west side of the road along the coast (roughly just behind the Livikon tavern). There is a small kiosk where tickets are sold. If this place is closed, you can easily buy tickets directly from the bus driver.
After reaching Xyloskalo, the trip through the Samaria Gorge is carried out in the same way as for other variants. Details of the trip itself and tips can be found in our separate article .
The penultimate stage of your trip will be a return by ferry to the starting town or to Paleochora or to Sougia. As with the options described earlier, you can use the services of the shipowner Nen Kritis and Anendyk. The approximate time to return to Sougia is at 18:10, while in the case of Paleochora it will be around 19.
At the end you will only have to travel from Sougia / Paleochora to the place of your stay.
The Kourtaliotiko gorge (Greek: Κουρταλιώτικο Φαράγγι), also known as the Asomatos gorge (Greek: Φαράγγι Ασώματου), is perhaps one of the most spectacular natural attractions available in the central part of Crete. The total length of this ravine is about 3 kilometers. Its majestic walls are separated by Sucha Góra (904 m high) and Kouroupis mountain (984 m above sea level). At the climax point, the steep walls of the gorge are over 600 meters high.
Samaria is one of the most important tourist attractions located in the western part of Crete. In addition to such places as Balos and Elafonissi beaches or the extremely charming oldest part of the city of Chania, the gorge is one of the stronger magnets attracting tourists to this area of the island.
Going deep into the Richtis Gorge near Exo Mouliana, it's hard not to resist the impression that you enter a land completely different from the rest of Crete. The abundance of water and shade mean that even at the peak of the tourist season, this place is full of lush vegetation. So obvious rust colors dominate in other places of Crete, here they are completely absent, because their place replaces juicy greenery.