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Superb Places to Go Walking in Greece

Samaria Gorge

At around 18 kilometres in length, the Samaria Gorge is the longest in Europe and is one of the biggest tourist attractions on the island, playing host to thousands of visitors between May and October each year. Situated in the prefecture of Chania in south west Crete, the gorge runs from the Omalos Plateau in the White Mountains to the village of Agia Roumeli on the southern coast. Taking between four and seven hours to walk, the route covers some quite rough terrain but is still suitable for the inexperienced, although walkers are recommended to wear sensible walking boots. Those taking part in the guided walk during the summer months, especially during July and August, are also advised to take plenty of sun screen and drinking water along with them, although there are places en route where you can buy bottled water. With steep cliffs and forests of pine and cypress, the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful and the gorge is also home to around 450 different species of plants (all of which are protected and may not be picked or removed from the gorge). If you are lucky, you might also catch sight of one of Crete’s famous inhabitants, the increasingly rare Agrimia, or Kri-Kri goats as they are commonly known. With other endemic species in and around the gorge, this is a wonderful place to visit and it certainly represents one of the highlights for anyone walking in Greece.

Deliana Gorge

The walk along the Deliana Gorge is an unchallenging one, but one which is rewarding for those walking in Greece due to its beautiful scenery. During the cooler times of the year, a stream runs alongside the path and down the rocks, accompanying your walk with a soft tinkling sound. You are likely to see many goats during your walk, but most visitors come here to see the Griffon vultures which can be spotted throughout the year. The walk through the gorge and back again is not a long one and is only likely to take around two hours in total depending on your fitness or walking ability.

Arkoudospilios Cave

The walk to the Arkoudospilios Cave on the Akrotiri Peninsula in the municipality of Chania is about two kilometres and affords some spectacular views. Starting at the monasteries of Gouverneto and Agias Triadas and following a footpath which often features steep drops to one side, you will come to the cave where there stands a large stalagmite in the shape of a bear bowed over a cistern. Several different legends account for the significance of the animal. Some believe that it was once alive and that it used to drink the water from the cistern, leaving nothing for the local inhabitants and the monks. When one of the monks prayed to the Virgin for help, it is said that the beast was petrified and has stood in its position in the center of the cave ever since. Others believe that the goddess Artemis, who was worshipped by the Pelasgians in the form of a bear, was worshipped here and that the stalagmite is a sacred representation of her. The footpath which continues from the cave also leads to the ruins of the Monastery Katholiko and the church of St John the Hermit. As you stand underneath the towering rock face in this extremely isolated place, it is not hard to imagine why the monks who used it many years ago sought their sanctuary here. With so much spectacular beauty along this route, walking in Greece will not only be enjoyable for the senses, but an experience which will open you up to wanting to learn more about this fascinating and stunning island.