Agia Roumeli, Crete

Agia Roumeli, Crete: A place in south Chania with a marvellous beach and plenty of one-day visitors, where time stands still.

Agia Roumeli, Crete
, is a small village in a really remarkable location: right at the southern exit of Samaria Gorge, the longest gorge in Europe, located in south Chania.

Agia Roumeli is not accessible by car. You can reach it only through the Samaria Gorge, or by ferry or boat from the nearby villages of Hora Sfakion, Loutro, Sougia and Paleochora.

Although isolated enough, Agia Roumeli, Crete has sufficient amenities for travellers, like taverns, cafes, mini markets, sun beds and parasols by the beach in front of the village and rooms for rent. The main reason is that some of the more than 300.000 yearly visitors that pass through Samaria Gorge stay for a night or two here. Also, Agia Roumeli, due to its wild, isolated charm, attracts many nature lovers who want to spend their vacation in total quietness.

The magnificent beach of Agia Roumeli, Crete

Agia Roumeli stands out, among other destinations in Chania, for its wonderful beach: long, crystal clear, with small pebbles and uncrowded most of the times, the beach of Agia Roumeli is a beach lover’s delight.

The part of the beach in front of the village is the most organized, with cafés very close to the beach and some sun beds and parasols. The west part of the large Agia Roumeli beach is fairly uncrowded and better if you want more isolation and quietness. Finally, to the east of Agia Roumeli is the well-known beach of Agios Pavlos, where you can get fast enough by boat from the village.

As Agia Roumeli lies at the mouth of Samaria Gorge on its southern end, visitors to the village and to the beach of Agia Roumeli largely vary from time to time. In the morning, the beaches are totally quiet. Then, in the midday, lots of visitors to Samaria Gorge arrive to the village to swim, eat and drink something after the long walk. And, finally, in the afternoon, when the large majority of the Samaria Gorge hikers leave by ferry or boat, the beach of Agia Roumeli is again as tranquil and quiet as it gets.

Agia Roumeli, Crete – a village of religion and history

The name “Agia Roumeli” means St. Roumeli and the location has been a place of worship from ancient times.

Very close to Agia Roumeli village was the ancient city of Tara or Tarra. Tara was an important religious centre of the Dorian Greeks and flourished mainly during the ancient Roman period. At that period, here in Tara used to be the famous temple of the Roman Goddess Rumina or Rumilia. Then, when Christianity came to Crete, in the place of the temple of Roumilia, a church was built, dedicated to St. Roumilia, or Agia Roumilia in Greek. Finally, through the centuries, the name of the church changed to Agia Roumeli, which also became the present name of the village.

Agia Roumeli, Crete, is a pretty remote village, but has hundreds of thousands of one-day visitors every year, due to its position at the southern exit of the great Samaria Gorge in south Chania. But the village is also very interesting for another, not so well known reason: the magnificent Agia Roumeli beach, which, with its impressive natural surroundings, is one of the finest beaches in South Crete.


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