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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51 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.

  12. Steve says:

    Hi, can anybody tell me what time in the morning the gorge opens as we would like to start as early as possible. We’re planning on walking it on Saturday June 10th and would like to avoid all the bus loads of walkers.
    I haven’t got a great knee so I’m guessing they’ll catch us up anyway ☺

  13. Dominik says:

    Hello, could you tell me Is it possible that gorge Samaria will be opened in april this year ??? If yes since when ?

  14. Jean Bienvenu says:

    I am in Agia Roumeli right now. The locals hope that the gorge might open from the bottom until Christos (about 2km into the park) within a week or less. As for the through walk from the top of the gorge to Agia Roumeli it will hopefully be possible from the 1st of May. But it depends on the weather.

  15. Jen says:

    Coming to Crete 26th April , just wondering if the gorge is open yet ?

    • Jean says:

      It’s quite possible. Phone the national park on the 26th or 27th to find out.

      • Thomas says:

        I tried calling but no one answers the phone 🙁

        • Jean says:

          What can I say? Keep trying.
          And incidentally the gorge is supposed to open on Sunday 30th April but I would still call them to confirm

  16. Michelle says:

    I am wondering if you have any predictions as to whether the Gorge will be opened by 23 April, 2018 based upon the winter weather this year.
    Thank you so much

  17. stefano meriana says:

    Hello Jean
    I will be in Omalos the 26 of april with a group of 11 people (coming from Sougia trough Agia Irini gorge). Since nobody knows when the Samaria gorge will be opened, I was wondering if there is an alternative trail to Agia Roumeli, where we have to stay at the evening.
    Thank you very much

  18. Michelle says:

    Aloha Jean,
    My two college aged sons from Hawaii who are athletic and fit will be staying in Chania near the bus station on Monday, 23 April without a car. They arrive Sunday evening and would like to do some hiking on Monday. They leave Tuesday afternoon back to Athens. I’m assuming the Samaria Gorge will not be open. What would you suggest as a good day hike? Thank you so much for your time.

  19. Jean says:

    The only reasonably easy alternative trail to Agia Roumeli would go through the mountains via Kallergi, Melindaou and Potamos to Agios Ioannis then on to Agia Roumeli. I guess that it would take between 12 and 16 hours walking time. Other potential routes are more difficult and certainly nothing that you’d want to attempt with a group.

  20. stefano says:

    I have some, but not detailed. I hope in Chania is possible to buy something better

  21. Lucas says:

    We are wondering if its possible to enter the Samaria Gorge from Agia Roumeli the 27th or 28th of April. We dont want to walk up all the way, just enter and walk maybe 1or 2 hours up and turn down again.
    Thanks for your help!

  22. Stuart martindalr says:

    People ask when’s the earliest does the gorge open..when’s the latest ? Is there a date by which the gorge will definitely be open, middle of May for example or has it been later than that in the last? I only ask as I’m looking to book purely to walk the gorge the beginning of May and would hate for it not to be open 😕

    • Jean says:

      The park authorities will try their best to open on the 1st of May but it is not always possible. The latest I remember is around 15 or 18 years ago, after a very cold winter with lots of snow the gorge opened around the 8th or 10th of May. Bear in mind that it could open on time but close again for a few days because of rain or rock falls. With nature you are never certain of anything.

  23. Ralph Schurink says:

    Dear Jean,

    Is there already a date known the gorge will be open since we
    are getting close to 1th May? Or any news? I have planned to walk the gorge
    7th May.

  24. Bida says:

    Hello, thank you so much for this chat. Is it possible to walk from Agia Roumeli only a short distance into the gorge before 1th May? Or is there too much water or a fence or something? We are going to crete the first time and are so excited to see the Samaria gorge but have to go home again on the 1th May 🙁

    • Jean says:

      It might be possible to walk in but bear in mind that the bottom part of the gorge has the most water. There is a gate and a warden post at the entrance of the park so you can’t just walk in and have a look, at least not beyond the entrance of the national park unless it is open.

  25. Ethne says:

    We have just returned from SWCrete, and can report that the Samaria Gorge opened last Friday, 10 May 2019. Sadly we were not in a position to walk it – another time perhaps?

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