Agia Roumeli is a small secluded village, located 56km south of Chania city, on a wide bay shaped at the exit of the Samaria Gorge. Thousands of visitors, descending the gorge, reach this place every day. Agia Roumeli is a calm place in the wild and mountainous landscape of Sfakia province. The only way to reach the village is either through the gorge or by getting the ferry from Chora Sfakia, Loutro, Paleochora and Sougia. The more adventurous (and lucky) visitors could walk the path from Chora Sfakia to St. Roumeli (7 hours). The picturesque village of Agia Roumeli provides all basic amenities, such as taverns with traditional food, rooms for accommodation, cafes, mini market, internet access and telephone.
Daily, between 13:00 to 16:00, the village and its beaches are swamped by visitors of the gorge. However, after the departure of the ferries, the village gets very calm! If you choose not to follow the crowd with the ferry, but to stay in the village for at least one night, then you will have the opportunity to admire this beautiful place with its unique people, good food and stunning natural beauty.
The Samaria Gorge is the longest gorge in Europe, having a length of 18km. During the summer, it is visited by thousands of tourists who trek 18km in about 6 hours. Many of them have visited Crete just to cross the majestic gorge of Samaria. If you do not have the time to walk all the distance in the gorge, you can walk backward, starting from Agia Roumeli.
Agia Roumeli is built on the ruins of ancient Tara. Tara was built by the Romans. To the west of the village, there are still ruins of the Temple of Apollo (or Artemis). Today, at this point you can visit the old church of Panagia (Virgin Mary) built in 1500.
On the hill above the village, there is a ruined Turkish castle (Kule), from where the view to the village, the vast Libyan Sea, Gavdos and Gavdopoula islands is fantastic. Walking the easy path to the castle takes 30’-60’. From the castle, if you continue walking on the steeper slopes of the mountain for 90’ more minutes, you will reach the ruins of a second castle.
On the eastern edge of the gorge, near its exit, you can visit the beautiful church of St. Anthony. The chapel is built in a cavity, shaped in rocky walls.
Approximately 2km north of the village, inside the gorge, there is the old village of Agia Roumeli, in a lush green landscape. There you will see ruins of old houses and some homes restored by their owners. The village was abandoned in 1954, when it was completely destroyed by floods. Then, the village was moved to its present position, in Agia Roumeli.
Even people and food in Agia Roumeli constitute attractions! The people are genuine Cretans, with pure heart and real smile. The meat you will eat in their restaurants is bred by them. They also are the producers of cheese, vegetables and honey they provide in tavernas. Fortunately, despite the development of tourism, Agia Roumeli has remained authentic and picturesque, where you can meet friendly people, enjoy high-quality traditional recipes and the tranquility of nature.
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.
Between Kalogeros beach and the harbor of Maschalis (the west port of Agia Roumeli) some beaches are formed in caves that the locals call them Caves in Marble. These caves are formed in the whitish hard rock of the area and constitute a unique hideout for nature lovers. They can be accessed easily either by a canoe from Agia Roumeli or even by swimming.
Agios Pavlos (Saint Paul) is one incredible beach at Opiso Egiali area, 3km east of Agia Roumeli and 6km west of Loutro, in the exit of the wild Eligia Gorge. The beach is totally secluded from civilization, since the only possible to come here is by boat or by long trekking. The closest harbors are Agia Roumeli and Loutro. Walking from Agia Roumeli takes 50'-60', on an easy path that runs beside the sea.
One of the best beaches in Agia Roumeli is located on the east side of the settlement, beyond the river of Samaria gorge and below the ruins of ancient Tarra. Here beautiful rocky formations and cavities are formed at position Zeromouri, which have beautiful pebbly beaches in front of them.
The coastal trail connecting Sougia to Agia Roumeli is one of the most mountainous, tiring, but also beautiful parts of E4 European trail in Crete. The trail starts from ancient Syia (Sougia), runs through Tripiti and Domata beaches, ascends to 550m altitude and descends to Agia Roumeli.
Thousands of visitors, descending the Samaria gorge, reach Agia Roumeli every day and enjoy their bath in the main beach, Gialos, stretching in front of the taverns. However, there are some very nice and quiet beaches around, one could explore. One of these beaches is Mashali and is actually the west part of the bay of Agia Roumeli.
Agia Roumeli is a small secluded village, located 56km south of Chania, on a wide bay shaped at the exit of the Samaria Gorge. Thousands of visitors, descending the gorge, reach this place every day.
From Agia Roumeli, at the exit of Samaria Gorge, starts the easy and very beautiful coastal part of the European E4 trail that leads to Chora Sfakion. Originally it passes from the church of Saint Paul, surrounded by pines, and continues along the rocky coast to the exit of the gorge of Aradena (Marmara beach). From there it continues to the settlements Likos and Phoenix, reaching the scenic village Loutro. From Loutro starts another path that comes to the beach Glyka Nera. After meeting the main asphalt road to Anopolis, we come by the beach Iligas and finally Chora Sfakion.