When will the gorge of Samaria open this year?

'The Gates' - gorge of SamariaIt’s the middle of March and the first emails asking me when the gorge of Samaria will open are starting to trickle in. It’s a yearly phenomenon that announces spring.
I guess that if I post about it here I can just email the link as a reply.

The short answer is: I haven’t got a clue.
But I will write when the gorge opens as soon as it does on the Samaria web page.

Should you want to know more, here is the long answer:
If you have read  my page on the gorge of Samaria (which is probably why you have emailed me and not someone else) you will remember that it starts with the sentence “The Samaria National Park has traditionally always opened to the public at the beginning of May. In the last few years it has often been possible to enter the gorge of Samaria in April from the bottom part. This depends of course on the weather and the amount of work needed to restore the path after the winter rains. So this varies: it could open a little before the 1st of May, on the 1st of May or later (if the weather is bad or repair work is late).

So we have two main factors: how much winter damage to the path and how much water in the gorge (possibly blocking access to the lower, narrow part of the gorge.

The winter damage is not really related to the amount of winter rainfall but generally has to do with the intensity of rainfall. It would take only one very heavy localized rain to do serious damage to the path. Whilst we might know early in winter that serious damage has occurred this is something that could happen towards the end of the rainy season and a reason why maintenance work will not start until shortly before the gorge is due to open.

Water levels in the gorge are related to rainfall to some extent but what might be more important is the speed of snow melt (and of course the amount of snow – that’s the rainfall connection).  Again, we know how much rain (and snow) falls in the White Mountains over the winter but the speed of snow melt which will play a significant role on water levels in the gorge is related to temperatures and that cannot be predicted. It will take only one short heat wave (common in the spring when you have a few days of sirocco winds blowing) to create very intense snow melt on the mountains surrounding Samaria and bring down huge amounts of water into the gorge.

These two factors make it impossible to set a precise opening date.
I can give predictions for this year (and they might prove completely wrong but let’s have a go anyway): little serious damage to the path – to my knowledge there has not been any extremely  heavy rainstorm this winter. Right now water levels might not be very high but there are huge amounts of snow in the White Mountains and when they start to melt they are going to generate a lot of water. If temperatures climb up gradually things will be OK but if there is any heatwave in April it could play havoc with opening times.

I’ll post an update in a few weeks time when I know more.


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22 Responses to When will the gorge of Samaria open this year?

  1. Vince says:

    Great article Jean and the “Samaria” web page is the best I have read with extremely accurate info… congratulations!
    We’re planning to walk the gorge in May when it’s open

  2. Martina says:

    Thanks a lot for all info =)
    So you think is impossible that Samaria’s Gorge are open at Easter (8 April) ?

  3. Jean says:

    Easter here is on the 15th.
    I am not saying that it is impossible but it is not the time-table the National Park authorities are aiming for (1st of May which) so I would be very surprised if it was suddenly open on the 8th of April. It’s never been so.
    Add to that the huge quantitie of snow that will eventually melt and I think that we will be very luckyif we can go though it on the 1st of May.

  4. Yorgos says:

    Access to the lower end of the gorge will open tomorrow, Monday the 16th of April, according to this report:

    • Jean says:

      Only for the first two km which means just to the “Gates”. At least it means that water levels are not excessive.

  5. Renee says:

    I don t know if this blog is still actif as it looks like nothing happend since 2012…but if someone already knows if the gorges are going to be open in april 2015, i would love to know it :-) ??

    • Jean says:

      The last post on this blog was a month ago so it’s not exactly like “nothing happend since 2012″.
      As for your question…read the article and you’ll have my current answer. That’s for the gorge of Samaria. Other gorges are not part of the national park so they are never “closed” or “open”.

  6. Mark says:

    Hi, I’m planing to hike the Samaria on the 25th of April.
    Is there any new news about the opening?

    • Jean says:

      As far I can see this year (2015) there is no chance that the gorge will open before the 1st of May. And if the water levels don’t drop it will not open in early May. This is for the entire route through the gorge. It might open from the bottom a little earlier. But it’s still too early to predict what the situation will be as it is all very dependent on the weather.

  7. Traci says:


    We are looking to visit the Samaria Gorge this year. the only day we can do the hike is on 1st May.. I’ve been trying to find out the opening date, but have had little luck. Please can you advise…

    Please also let me know if it is wise t do the hike on our own (myself and my husband), we have been trying to book a tour, but have not had any luck there, with all being sold out on May 1st.

    We are staying in Heraklion, and are looking for a return tour from there.


    • Jean says:

      Please read the main article as well as the last reply I left on the 9th of April and you should have your answer. Nothing has changed in the last 3 days and it won’t change in the next 2 weeks so there is nothing more that I can add.

  8. Marta says:

    Hi Jean,
    thank you for your very useful information! Just a more question: are the bus from Chania to Omalos and from Hora Sfakion to Chania (included the boat from Agia Roumeli) working also on the first of May? Or they are not because of the holiday?
    Thank you,

  9. Iris says:

    We would like to visit Samaria Gorge in these days, is there any updates about the opening?
    If it is not yet opened, it means the whole part of park or it will open a little part?
    Thank you!

  10. Pingback: When will the gorge of Samaria open in 2015? | West Crete Blog

  11. Irena says:

    Thank you for the information. Especially for the alternatives of Samaria Gorge visiting. We are planning to visit Samaria on the 3rd of May 2015 (or on 4th). If the george is not opened on the 1st of May, what is the procedure of opening? Could it open every next day or every next week? Will it change anything, if we go on 4th of May?
    What can you say about visiting Karanu and Kidoni gorges?

    • Jean says:

      What is the procedure? I am not sure that I understand your question but the gorge will open when it opens. If not a day later then a few more days later….
      I never heard of Karanu or Kidoni gorges so I can’t help you there.

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