Exploring Samaria Gorge: Why Starting from Sougia Offers a Better Experience than Chania
If you are planning to visit Samaria Gorge in Crete, Greece, you will likely encounter the decision of whether to start your journey from Chania or Sougia using public transportation. While Chania is a popular starting point for many tourists, we recommend considering Sougia instead. In this blog post, we will outline the advantages of beginning your Samaria Gorge hike from Sougia, taking into account the duration of the journey and the convenience of public transportation. By the end, you will understand why Sougia is an excellent choice for an enjoyable and hassle-free experience.
Option 1: Starting from Chania (Duration: 16 hours)
If you choose to start your Samaria Gorge adventure from Chania, the journey can be quite time-consuming. The bus from the central bus station departs at 05:00, requiring you to wake up early to catch it. After a 1-hour and 15-minute bus ride, you will arrive at the entrance of Samaria Gorge around 06:15 - 06:30. However, you'll need to wait until 07:30 for the gorge to open for hikers.
Once the gorge opens, you can begin your walk, which typically takes around 5-6 hours to complete. This means you will likely reach Agia Roumeli, the end of Samaria Gorge, between 12:30 and 13:30. To continue your journey, you'll need to spend at least 4 hours in Agia Roumeli until the ferry departs for Sougia at 17:30, arriving around 18:15 - 18:20.
Upon reaching Sougia, you'll have to purchase bus tickets to return to Chania. Fortunately, the bus departs promptly, minimizing any waiting time. The return journey to Chania can take approximately 2 - 2.5 hours. Considering all these factors, this entire day trip will last a minimum of 16 hours (04:30 - 20:30), leaving you with limited time for relaxation and exploration.
Option 2: Starting from Sougia (Duration: 12 hours)
Starting your Samaria Gorge hike from Sougia offers a more streamlined and efficient experience. The bus from Sougia departs at 07:00, and even if you choose accommodation far from the bus station, it will only take a maximum of 10 minutes on foot to reach it. To catch the bus, you should plan to be at the station by 07:00, giving you ample time to prepare.
The bus ride from Sougia to the start of the gorge takes approximately 1 - 1.5 hours. Arriving at 08:00 - 08:30, you'll find the gorge already open, eliminating the need to wait. You can immediately embark on your 5-6 hour hike through the breathtaking scenery.
By following this route, you'll likely reach Agia Roumeli by 14:00 - 14:30. Here, you will need to wait for approximately 3 hours for the ferry to Sougia. The ferry departs from Agia Roumeli at 17:30, reaching Sougia at 18:15 - 18:20.
Once you arrive in Sougia, you can easily return to your accommodation, freshen up with a shower, and enjoy a relaxing evening having dinner at one of the local restaurants, taking in the ambience of Sougia.
When it comes to exploring Samaria Gorge using public transportation, starting your journey from Sougia offers several advantages over Chania. By beginning in Sougia, you can save approximately 4 hours of travel time compared to the Chania route. This allows for a more relaxed and enjoyable experience, with ample time to appreciate the natural beauty of Samaria Gorge and savour the delights of Sougia. So, if you are planning to visit Samaria Gorge, consider starting your adventure from Sougia for a seamless and memorable journey.