9.9 miles (16 km) of stones and bumps were quite a feat for me. Moreover, I forgot my knee supporters at home. But we overcame it!! And I was still alive two days late . . . I even managed to go somewhere else after (though, on my own, because my friend stayed in bed). I really hope that you will visit, and enjoy "the most spectacular gorge in Europe" ((c) guidebook).
I offer you a virtual tour!
We got up early that morning - the bus left at 5:30 a.m. and didn't wait for latecomers.
Omalos Plateau is an incredibly beautiful peak among a group of White Mountains, but the sun rises late in October, so there was nothing to show excpet the dark and the fog, especially through the tinted glass of the bus. Later, we started our first descent. The bus brought tousists the the edge of the plateau of Omalos, an altitude of 4265 feet (1300 meters) above sea level, so that we could start the descent no later than at 8 a.m.
) is a great mountain range with a length of 24 miles (40 km), with 50 peaks that range from 6561 to 7391 feet ( 2000 to 2253 meters) tall, and with the same number of peaks with a height of 4921 to 6561 feet (1500 to 2000 meters). It was very nice, but there was no time to admire it - the last boat left at 5 p.m. so, in total, we had 9 hours. You should mind your step: there is a 2952 feet (900 meter) difference in elevation during the first 1.8 miles (3 km).
We tried to see as much as we could before finally making our descent. There was a trail that continued further, paved with stones. It seems that a river used to be there. I do not know why it disappeared. There was also the Saint Nicholas chapel at the end of our first descent.
After we passed a third of the way, we saw the abandoned village of Samaria.
If you are lucky, you can meet the famous Cretan mountain goat (Kri-Kri) on the way. We were not so lucky - two goats were far away, and we could verify this but we believed the guidebook; "This animal is unique in its beauty, agility, intelligence, courage, fidelity, it amazes with its stamina, speed, and levity".
After another third of the way, the gorge converged into a very narrow path. In general, the width varied from 9 to 984 feet (3 to 300 meters), and the height of the steep slopes, in many places, was more than 3000 feet (1000 meters). I thought vertical panoramas would be more helpful to show the height, but I didn't manage to capture that - in fact, everything looks much grander.
Here, for example, you can see the legendary "Iron Gates" (they had never been opened to conquerors): they are 11 feet (3.5 meters) wide and 984 feet (300 meters) tall (panorama has 5 frames).
In general, you can admire the rock garden, or, moreover, compose panoramas for hours, but our time was limited - we needed to go to the Libyan Sea. We made it across the last 1.8 miles (3 km), and those who came on time, managed to have a swim. We not only managed to have a swim after the hike, but also drank some wine in a tavern. :-)
And at 5 p.m., the ferry took all the tourists that arrived on time, to Chora Sfakion. There were no other transportation options. But it is possible to spend the night in Agia Roumeli, at the exit of the gorge, as there are several hotels.
We drank coffee on the ferry and admired the sandy bank of the Eligias gorge.
The bus was waiting for us, 30 minutes ahead of schedule. Our tour had ended. :-)