It is a hamlet or very small village with 30 to 50 inhabitants on the Omalos Planeau, a plateau in the mountains Lefka Ori in the west of Crete. The settlement lies about 1,050 meters above sea level. There are several hotels and taverns in Omalos, tourism, especially hiking, is today the main source of income of the region.
The Omalos Plateau
This is the plateau where the village of Omalos is located. The plain has an almost round shape and a diameter of about 4 kilometres. Fruit and vegetables are grown on the plain, especially apples and potatoes. There are also sheep and goats. Beside the hamlet of Omalos there are a few other houses on the plateau.
Entrance Samaria Gorge
Not far from the southern end of the plateau is the entrance to the Samaria Gorge. Hiking through the gorge is one of the most important activities for tourists in Crete.
In the summer thousands of tourists cross the village of Omalos and the plain every day in buses and rental cars to reach the starting point of their hike.
Roads to Omalos
The main road to Omalos leads from the city of Chania on the tourist coast of Crete to Omalos. The great majority of tourists come on this road to Omalos. Another road leaves the plateau in western direction and connects the Omaloas plateau with the country road Chania - Sougia. Both roads are meanwhile well developed, mostly two-lane with central reservation. On the way is the great Botanic Garden Crete.
There are several guesthouses and small hotels in the village. The Neos Omalos Hotel is well known. The rooms have WLAN, TV, heating, bathroom, WC and balcony.
Further accommodations are the To Exari, the To Ellenikon and the Hotel Gigilos Omalos. All four hotels were rated above average by guests. Meanwhile, Omalos also offers luxury accommodation for more demanding hikers and other guests. In Omalos Village you can rent a whole house with 2 rooms. Here, one even has a kitchen including a dishwasher.
In the village there are several taverns, which also offer specialities from the region and local products (also breakfast). We ate well and cheap at the Neos Omalos Hotel.
Hiking Omalos Plateau and surroundings
Most tourists cross the Omalos plain by bus in the early morning to get to the entrance of Samaria Gorge. You hardly have time for the plateau, the mountains and other gorges. In our opinion, Omalos is an ideal starting point for hikes in the Lefka Ori mountains.
A simple walk on the plain is more than recommendable.
Hikes to the surrounding mountains are more difficult. A beautiful path leads along an old donkey path to the Agia Irini gorge and on to Sougia (longer tour). The Kallergi mountain hut can also be reached in about 2 hours from the village of Omalos.
In summer there are several buses from Chania to Omalos. Most of the buses leave early in the morning from and to Omalos, because the hikers start their journey through the gorge Samaria. In the Hich season there is usually another bus in the afternoon. Also from Paleochora and Sougia there are buses in the morning to the entrance of the Samaria Gorge, but not always on every weekday and only in one direction from the sea to the gorge entrance.
The nearest small supermarket is in the village of Lakki, more than 10 kilometres away. There is also no petrol station up here. As far as we know the next gas station is in Agia Irini, also more than 10 km from the village Omalos. At the entrance of the Samaria Gorge there is a snack bar. Here also drinks, chocolate, pastries and similar are sold. You should also bring cash, you won't find an ATM in Omalos.
Winter in the mountains Lefka Ori
All data on this page refer to the season, especially from May to October. In winter almost everyone is closed in Omalos, often the high plateau is even covered with snow. Tourists are practically invisible for months. The Samaria Gorge is usually still closed for hikers in April, as there is too much water in the gorge.
Search for more information on this website: