Understand that this tour is a hiking tour. Now, I'm a fit person, I go to the gym 3-4 times a week, and I'm in relatively good shape. However, I'm not an experienced hiker, and on previous treks I've been given the nickname of twinkletoes due to the amount of times I have fallen over.
The terrain on this hike is rocky and slippery, I wish I had worn better shoes walking boots even. I was not too proud to hire a walking pole from the guide for 2.50 which I felt really helped in some of the areas. Honestly, after looking at your feet for so long it felt like playing an ankle destroying game of Tetris. I did roll my ankles a couple of times, and I saw others do this also. Ouch.
The guide was quite repetitive stating to always be looking at your feet and that this is a long and challenging walk - but in fairness, I think this advice was spot on. Although it was a walk in the park, figuratively it was not in my opinion!. The weather on the day we went was hot, so dress appropriately and sunscreen/hat etc.
The entrance to the park and the boat ticket cost 15 euros which was taken from each passenger in the morning on the coach trip to the park.
For those who prefer premium toilet roll I would recommend trying to backup - your nice toilet stops will be in the cafe/shop stop before you get to the park, and then toilets at the village/town where you take the ferry at the end of the 5 hour walk. Otherwise you'll be stuck with the toilets on the walk, which are squat style, and you'll have to put up with whatever mess the lines of tourists have left for you.
At the bottom of the park you will be advertised/offered a 2 euro bus to the village/town of Agia Roumeli. At this point the walking is easy, downhill, less rocky, and really only another 15-20 mins to the town. So you can save yourself 2 euros but after a long hike I can understand why people take it.
One thing to be aware of. The guide gives times of being at / leaving checkpoints. These are:
1st checkpoint : Aga Nikalous : 9:30
Samaria 2nd checkpoint: 11:00
3rd checkpoint: 13:15 which is the bottom of the national park
20 mins walk to town...
16:45 be at the restaurant to take the boat tickets
17:30 the ferry leaves Agia Roumeli
As you can see with those timings, you can actually take more time in the park. The guide setting those timings made it somewhat rushed. But on a hot day I can understand why you'd want to be out of the park when the sun is at its hottest.
Overall, really good - just wish I took better shoes.
This was an amazing day. I would highly recommend this trip if you are good shape and prepared for a very long day. I was picked up at 6:15 AM, the hike began at 8:00 AM and lasted approximately 4.5 hours, I then walked to the village of Samaria and spent the afternoon in tavernas and on a beautiful beach. The only ferries out of the village come at 5:30 PM and take you one village over. The ferry is approximately 45 minutes long. Upon exiting the ferry you get back onto the bus for a hour and a half bus ride. Returning to Chania around 8:30 PM. The day was a lot longer than I anticipated. If you are considering this hike, know there is no where to purchase food along the hike. In order to be prepared I would suggest packing snacks, bring a water bottle there is fountains to fill up, packing a bathing suit for the beach, and bringing along a camera to take pictures of the scenery.
You can find the exact same trip locally at less than half of the Viator price. Same bus, same guides, ... However, the Gorge is absolutely worth the visit. The walk is tough, but feasible, even for the not very well trained. Put on good shoes, however. There is a small local bus that runs from the exit of the park to the seaside, which is a good option if you feel you have walked enough as you probably will.
The pick up was right on time. Thomas was very informative on the way to the gorge and after the entire hike. He got us to the gorge earlier than a lot of buses get there so you beat the crowds w this tour. The hike was absolutely gorgeous. A mix of Grand Canyon and Zion national park. Recommend it!