The National Reserve of Lefka Ori (Samaria) constitutes one of the oldest National Reserves in Greece and was declared a Park in 1962. Its core is the gorge of Samaria, although it also includes the Mount Desert of Lefka Ori and Sfakia shoreline. The main purpose of its protection was to keep the local environment intact, as it hosts many endemic species of fauna and flora. Since 1981m it has been listed in the Global Reserve Network of Biosphere.
Mountain Desert is probably the most beautiful and the most mysterious landscape that one can encounter in Greece, a unique phenomenon in the Northern Hemisphere. The Mountain Desert is the area above 2000m altitude in the heart of the White Mountains, where dozens of cone-like peaks called Soros (Piles) are found. The highest peak is Pachnes (2453m).
The Samaria Gorge is the longest trekking gorge in Europe and also the most famous of all. Thousands of tourists flock here daily in the summer season to walk from the top to the bottom. For many visitors, it is the sole purpose of their visit to Crete. The length of the gorge reaches 18km and takes almost 4-7 hours to hike from Omalos to Agia Roumeli, depending on trekking speed.