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.
Kalogeros is a perfect beach with deep blue water and fine pebbles, located 57km south of Chania, 11km east of Sougia and 1km west of Agia Roumeli. The beach is located close to the west end of Agia Roumeli.
Fournoti is an amazing beautiful beach, located 57km south of Chania, 10km east of Sougia and 1.5km west of Agia Roumeli. It is very nice, with deep blue water, fine pebbles and surrounded by pine trees. The beach is secluded in one of the most beautiful Greek places, the rough Mountains of Sfakia.
The beautiful beach Domata is located 7km east of Sougia and 58km south of Chania, at position Tseses. The beach is the ending point of the wild and rugged gorge of Klados.
The mountainous and inhospitable province of Sfakia hosts several small and large koules, ie Ottoman towers, which was built by the Ottomans to control this revolutionary area. One of the most unknown forts lies in ruins in the mountains west of the gorge of Samaria and you can reach it via the trail of the known Koules of Agia Roumeli.
On the west side of the exit of Samaria Gorge, above the current village of Agia Roumeli, the Turks built the Koules of Agia Roumeli to suppress the rebels hiding in the gorge. This Koules is in quite good condition. There were three more towers in wider area of Agia Roumeli (in Skoteini, Aggelokambos and Sideris positions)
Near Agia Roumeli there are two arched stone bridges. Here we see a Venetian stone arched bridge that has been secluded in the stream, with both of its sides destroyed. We can still discern a auxiliary arch which has been filled by the debris of the river. There is another smaller bridge a few meters to the north.
Tarra was an ancient city of Crete and seaport of Elyros. Here there was a very famous temple of Apollo and ahealing center. The legend tells that once the god Apollo himself came to Samaria to purify himself by the great priest and healer Karmanor as after killing the Python at Delphi.
One of the most important Byzantine monuments is located in the gorge of Samaria, at the site of a former a temple of town Tarra (1st century AD). The initial church was a three-nave basilica and today what we see is the Byzantine church that was built in place of the initial.