The walk through the gorge of Samaria is the best known walk in Crete and admittedly it can get crowded. Very few people are aware that it is also possible to discover the gorge from its upper rim. At an altitude of around 1700-2000m the ridges to the East and the West of the gorge define the limits of the National Park of Samaria and it is possible to walk on to them - and sometimes along them - and look down into this stupendous gorge.
Generally speaking you'll need two days to have time to explore parts of the eastern ridge.
On the West side you can get some good views into the gorge of Samaria from Gingilos and even better from the neighbouring summit of Volakias and both can be done as day walks. Needless to say, the walking is quite a bit tougher than crossing the gorge of Samaria via the standard route.