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Walking is very popular in Crete, particularly outside of the tourist season, when the weather is more conducive and the wild flowers and birds are more abundant. The summer though is a good time for walking in the mountains when the higher altitude makes for cooler temperatures than at sea level.
The wild and rugged terrain that makes walking here so popular, can also makes it dangerous. Every year people get injured and/or have to be rescued, and fatalities are not uncommon. So please be careful and take sensible precautions.
Obviously where and when you walk will have a considerable bearing on clothing, equipment and preparations. There can be a substantial temperature difference between sea level and the tops of mountains at any time of year, and fog can suddenly descend outside of the summer months. In summer, and to some degree in winter too there is virtually no cover and you will be exposed to the sun for most of the time you are walking.
I would urge you not to consider any walk without a good guide book and complying with the safety instructions in it. Most good walking books will give a description of the difficulty of a walk and any precautions you may need to take. From the comfort of your hotel balcony, in the benign surroundings of your resort it is very easy to consider some of this information to be erring unnecessarily on the side of caution, particularly if you come from a country with a gentler landscape. This can be a wild country, and the safety advice in these books is not just a disclaimer for an increasingly litigious world, it can save your life.
Always take sufficient water with you, tell someone where you are going and what your expected return time will be. Much of Crete's interior is very remote, don't rely on passing strangers for help in the event of difficulty, there's a good chance there won't be any, and you will doubtless be unsurprised to learn that in this remote interior and at the bottom of narrow gorges, mobile phone signals are not great, and often are simply not. That notwithstanding taking a fully charged mobile phone is not a bad idea, as is inputting the number of who you are going to call in the event of an emergency.
Comfortable walking shoes are the obvious choice of footwear, but trainers will suffice for most walks. Open toed sandals, even those designed with serious walking in mind are not a good idea here, due the rocky terrain providing endless toe stubbing opportunities. This applies to the Samaria gorge too, where you will encounter a lot of loose rocks along the path. Whilst in a gorge or when walking close to steep cliffs, always be aware of the possibility of falling rocks.
This may just be personal misfortune on my part, but whilst on the need for protection, every type of plant life I have encountered whilst walking in Crete has been blessed with an abundance of very sharp spines.