White Mountains (Samaria)

Quick facts

  • European Diploma of Protected Areas (code GR940001)
  • Since 1979
  • Country: Greece
  • Administrative region: Not available
  • Surface area: 49 km2 (4850.00 ha)
  • Marine area: Not available

Source and more information: Council of Europe


Site contact authorities

Manager Direction des Forets de la Canée (Chania) Crète
Information H. Kargiolaki E. Papadakis
Official contact international  
Official contact national  
Official contact regional  
Official contact local  


General character of the site A gorge of considerable geomorphological interest in the White Mountains of western Crete. A foothpath starts at 1200m and ends at sea level. Steep rock faces, mountain streams and numerous fresh water springs, forests of Pinus brutia and Cypressus sempervirens and relicts of former cultures in the deserted village of Samaria, combine to create a unique impression. 
Vulnerability To bring drinking water to Agia Roumeli, pipelines have been laid on the river bed. The development of tourism in the neighbourhood of the park is in danger of getting out of control. 
Owner The park is state-owned. It is administered by the Chania Directorate of Forestry, Crete. 
Documentation Council of Europe - European Diploma Series (1980), Gorge of Samaria National Park Greece, Strasbourg, 19 p.. 
Habitat types  
Potential vegetation  
Geomorphology The National Park occupies the Western Part of the White Mountains. Its Northern part is a forested open large valley with steep walls. Seasonal streams have formed deep opening on the mother rock. The southern part is a typical gorge with very steep, almost vertical walls (max Height = 400 m and minimum distance between walls = 3-4 m). 
Educational interest The rich fauna and flora of the gorge and its interesting ecosystems are of unique educational interest. There is also an Information Centre that offers information about the Park. 
Cultural heritage The gorge has always been a refuge especially during the wars. Within the gorge are five chapels. The most ancient is "Osia Maria" that was built around 1200 a.C. Ancient ruins were also found, probably an ancient tomb at the site of "Ag. Nikolaos", while the Minoan town of Tarra is believed to be at the southern end of the gorge. Samaria was inhabited until 1962. 
Management plan  
URL official  
URL interesting http://www.west-crete.com/walks/mountains.htm 

European Environment Agency (EEA)
Kongens Nytorv 6
1050 Copenhagen K
Phone: +45 3336 7100