- Region: Crete
- Prefecture : Chania
- Municipality: Sfakia
- Population: 60
Agia Roumeli is peacefull, small and feels like a village somewhere ... nowhere.
As at the most places in Crete, rich history of Crete has left many traces in this region as well. There are several theories concerning the name of our village. Most probably it is traceable to the Arabic words aia = water and rumeli = Greek. So Agia Roumeli would mean Greek water.
It is located between the ravish blue Libyan Sea and the steeply rising mountains at the exit of Samaria Gorge and is built on the ruins of ancient Tara, who was famous for its oracle and was destroyed by an earthquake in 66 AD.
The Tarra was a small but independent city and cut it and own coins on one side depicting a wild goat's head and an arrow on the other hand, a bee. It was a great religious center with many temples of Apollo and flourished in the Roman period. The Romans when they found the temple of Vritomartidas, protector of flocks, the corresponding dedicated to their goddess, the Roumilia. So when Christianity prevailed St. Roumilia be named later and Agia Roumeli.
A great destination in order to relax on the pretty beach of fine pebble right by the village, enjoying the clear sea and the dramatic mountain backdrop. One can have this lovely beach more or less to oneself both before noon and in the late afternoon. In the midday hours it is shared with the "Samaria gorge walkers" but the beach is long and with just a few minutes walking distance there is peace and quiet.
For those who want to dive or snorkel, there are cliffs and rocks at the western end of the beach. Gorgeous pristine beaches are hidden away by the mountains West of Agia Roumeli. Due to the cliffs, these beaches can only be reached by boat or strenuous hiking and are rarely visited by anyone.
The village is remote and near enough isolated; you can only reach it on foot or by boat, as there is no road.
Artemis Studios, our suggestion for staying here, can assist you to approach them with a boat trip, if the circumstances allow it.
Towards the East, one can walk along the shore, following a coastal path to the ancient Byzantine chapel of Agios Pavlos. This is the spot where St. Paul is said to have landed on Crete on his voyage to Greece. Further on, the path reaches the beach of Marmara, the village of Loutro and Hora Sfakion. This is approximately a 7 hour walk from Agia Roumeli. From Loutro and Hora Sfakion one can use the boat line in order to get back to Agia Roumeli.
Or maybe walk the hill above Agia Roumeli to the ruined Turkish fortress and enjoy the stunning "mouth"of Samaria Gorge, the village of Agia Roumeli, the beaches to east and west and, of course, the vast blue Libyan Sea, interrupted only by the islands of Gavdos and Gavdopoula, the southernmost frontier of Europe. The walk takes half an hour to an hour and the path does not pose any particular difficulties, don't forget to get some water and a hat.
In case that you feel still fit and strong enough, walk further to find the ruins of a second fortress. The path is all uphill and the fortress is in a poor state of preservation.
At Agia Roumelli ends up the Samaria Gorge. If you wish you can see the last part ( till the famous narrow point " portes") of the gorge.
Please have a look and book the 4 days programme to discover Samaria and Agia Roumeli, its nature and customs.