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Agia Roumeli is a small, modern seaside village on the south coast of Chania in Crete.
Surrounded by the Lefka Ori The White Mountains, the village sits at the seaside entrance to the Gorge of Samaria.
This is a long and deep gorge which is a national park due to its unique ecology and beauty.
There are no roads to Αγιά Ρουμέλη, access is by boat or by foot. There are many walking paths on this remote south coast of Crete, with experienced walkers enjoy the small foot paths next to the sea, with breath-taking views of the steep mountains plunging into the crystal blue waters of the Libyan Sea.
Many visitors take the time to slow down and visit the south of Crete by ferry. The ferryboat service runs between the villages of Chora Sfakion, Loutro, Sougia and Paleohora, as well as to the island of Gavdos.
The 16 km Samaria Gorge walk is very popular with tourists and hikers alike. The walk begins in the centre of the island on the Plateau of Omalo and ends at the sea, here at Agia Roumeli. As this walk is one of the most popular attractions on Crete island in summer, this little village is busy with walkers arriving tired and thirsty after their walk.
The tired trekkers start arriving in the middle of the day, relax at the beaches and tavernas and take the afternoon ferry back to their town. Many tour companies organise day tours from the towns of Chania, Rethymnon and even Heraklion.
Some stay awhile and enjoy the tranquility after the last ferry has gone, and allow the mountains and the sea to speak to them in quiet whispers, away from the crowds and the rush.
The village was relocated from 2 km inland after serious flooding over fourty years ago. Descendants from Samaria village, which is no longer inhabited, also now live here.
Nearby are the wonderful unpopulated beaches of Domata, Fournoti, Agios Pavlos, and Tripiti within easy reach by taxi boat.
Ferries run once a day to Loutro and Paleochora, and in summer season as many as 4-5 times per day to Chora Sfakion.
Agia Roumeli has no deep water harbour so when weather is bad, the boats cannot dock. Be aware that in times of bad weather the ferry service may not run.
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See other travellers' tall tales about the strenuous Samaria stepping stones...
Giannis and Andreas Tzatzimakis run the Gigilos Hotel and restaurant (above) in the village. They wrote to us to give us their local knowledge and suggestions:
"It really is interesting hiking Samaria Gorge and exploring the real Crete! We suggest to our visitors - do it in the right way. The 16 km trek down the Samarian Gorge begins at Xyloskalo on the Omalos plateau, which is 1200m high, and ends in Agia Roumeli, which is a seaside village.
Usually the visitors are in a hurry in order to catch the ferry from this village to Chora Sfakion and the return trip to the big cities of Crete. In that way they miss all the majesty of the gorge. Our suggestion is to walk the path down to the bottom of the gorge and stay overnight in Agia Roumeli.
You must remember that the village is transformed when the last boat leaves. Suddenly everything is peaceful and you discover the real beauty of the place. Enjoy the sunset on the beach, a good meal, a chat with the local people and the stars filling the night sky. The next day take the path for Loutro. Its a beautiful 13 km coastal walk on the E4 trail through isolated beaches. Stay overnight in Loutro is a magic seaside village. There is no road in Loutro, no cars and no motorbikes.
Our suggestion is an alternative proposal to live southwest Crete in the proper way. If you like to organise a trip like this we can provide you any necessary information and help.
In our hotel, the Gigilos Hotel in Agia Roumeli, we offer €35 per double per night including breakfast from 15 April to 15 June and from 1 September to 28 October.
Book here and ask for Giannis or Andreas Tzatzimakis for personalised service and real Cretan hospitality."
Pachnes B&B is a little away from the village, with a peaceful location, rooms with partial sea views and delicious food. Relax here before or after your big walk.
Some beautiful images below:
Below is a video of this village and Loutro and Samaria Gorge:
A map with the beaches of Crete marked, including Agiá Rouméli, is below:
We Love Crete so take your rubbish with you when you walk and do not build any of those silly piles of rocks. Just leave it as you found it and leave only footprints!