The Samariá Gorge is a National Park of Greece since 1962 on the island of Crete -a major tourist attraction of the island – and a World's Biosphere Reserve. The gorge is in southwest Crete in the regional unit of Chania. It was created by a small river running between the White Mountains and Mt. Volakias.
The gorge became a national park in 1962, particularly as a refuge for the rare kri-kri (Cretan goat), which is largely restricted to the park and an island just off the shore of Agia Marina. There are several other endemic species in the gorge and surrounding area, as well as many other species of flowers and birds.
The village of Samaria lies just inside the gorge. It was finally abandoned by the last remaining inhabitants in 1962 to make way for the park. The village and the gorge take their names from the village's ancient church, Ossia Maria.
A must for visitors to Crete is to complete the walk down the gorge from the Omalos plateau to Agia Roumeli on the Libyan Sea, at which point tourists sail to the nearby village of Sougia or Hora Sfakion, where they could spend a night there, or they could catch a coach back to Chania. The walk takes five to seven hours and can be strenuous, especially at the peak of summer.
Samaria Gorge is a National Park and stretches 15km, as well as a host of other impressive gorges like that of Imvros, Aradena, Kallikratis, and not to mention, a number of caves. The mountain shelter of Tavris is also well-worth a visit, as its ideal location at an altitude of 1,200m offers an excellent view of the plateaus of Tavris and Niatos.