At 11 miles long with over 3000ft of descent, the Samaria Gorge is the longest and most famous gorge in Europe.

The gorge is situated in the southwestern part of the Greek Island of Crete. It is surrounded on all sides by mountain ranges, and consequently the only way to see the gorge is get the bus to the top and walk down it to the port of Agia Roumeli. From there the only way out is by ferry.

The first half of the walk has the steepest descent. There are breathtaking views of mountain scenery and of extensive conifer woodland. The last half of the walk is a lot more gentle, but the views are equally impressive. About two miles from sea the gorge narrows, and there are amazing steep sided rock faces on both sides. This is the location of the famous Iron Gate, where the gorge becomes so narrow that it is almost possible to touch both sides at the same time.

The Samaria Gorge was made a National Park in the 1960's, and consequently all the people living there were rehoused. The interesting ruins of the deserted village of Samaria are still visible. Due to its unique geography, the gorge was used as a hide out during World War II.

Be prepared whatever time you go for the gorge to jam-packed with tourists. Also note that due to serious flood risks, the Gorge is out of bounds in winter.

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