Without a road connection, visitors discovering Agia Roumeli tend to come again and again. Agia Roumeli is built at the end of the Samaria National Park. A very beautiful village, on the edge of the Libyan Sea and at the roots of the White Mountains. It is located in one of the areas of Crete with the wildest nature, with rare flora, fauna, and geology. Two kilometers from Agia Roumeli and just before the official entrance of the protected park is the old village of Agia Roumeli. The inhabitants of the old village began to leave after 1954 when the river overflowed and many houses were destroyed. After that, the new village was slowly built near the beach. The village has a Regional Medical Clinic, hotels, taverns, cafes and Mini Markets from where you can buy whatever you need.

AGIA ROUMELI -
National Park Of Samaria

A few words

Without a road connection, visitors discovering Agia Roumeli tend to come again and again.

Agia Roumeli is built at the end of the Samaria National Park. A very beautiful village, on the edge of the Libyan Sea and at the roots of the White Mountains. It is located in one of the areas of Crete with the wildest nature, with rare flora, fauna, and geology.

Two kilometers from Agia Roumeli and just before the official entrance of the protected park is the old village of Agia Roumeli. The inhabitants of the old village began to leave after 1954 when the river overflowed and many houses were destroyed. After that, the new village was slowly built near the beach.

The village has a Regional Medical Clinic, hotels, taverns, cafes and Mini Markets from where you can buy whatever you need.

History

Agia Roumeli was an important area for the export of timber 4000 years ago. There was also a strongly built shipyard in antiquity and during the Venetian and Turkish occupation.

It is built on the ruins of ancient Tarra, which was known for its oracle and was destroyed by an earthquake in 66 AD. Tarra was a small independent city with its own currency.

The coins were used during the 3rd and 2nd century BC and depicted on one side the head of a chamois and an arrow and on the other side a bee.

At that time, Tarra was part of the Cretan State and had established colonies in southern Italy and the Caucasus.

It was a large religious center with many temples, including the one dedicated to Apollo Tarraeus and Vritomartis-Artemis, and flourished during the Roman period. It is said that the Byzantine church of Panagia was built on the ruins of this ancient temple.

An archeological site called Tarra is still located on the east side of the river.

In the past, the location of Agia Roumeli was favorable as it was connected to the northern part of the island through the Gorge of Samaria.

In addition, the mountains served as a natural fortress during times of occupation and unrest. This is evidenced by the perimeter-built kouledes.

Nowadays, people still make a living from herds of goats and lambs but also from beehives. The involvement with tourism started gradually and is now the main source of income for the locals.

There are several theories about the name of the village. One of them is related to the Arabic word aia = water and rumeli = Greek and ends as Agia Roumeli with the meaning Greek water, while another states that when the Romans found the temple of Vritomartida, protector of the herds, they dedicated it to their respective goddess, Roumilia. As a result, when Christianity prevailed, the area was named Agia Roumilia and later Agia Roumeli.

Samaria National Park

Samaria National Park is the most famous hiking Gorge in Europe, which was declared a National Park in 1962 in order to protect its unique biodiversity. It is part of the European trail E4 and for many tourists, the main purpose of their visit to Crete. In 2010 it joined the UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve Network.

If you want to cross the Gorge of Samaria, then you will need to go either to Omalos, which is its northern entrance, or to Agia Roumeli, which is the entrance from the south. The length of the route is about 15 kilometers from Omalos to the outpost in Agia Roumeli.

At the imposing Doors (or Iron Doors), you will find the narrowest and most impressive point of the route. Its walls are 3 meters wide and more than 500m high. and the visitor is left breathless.
Inside the Gorge you will pass the village of Samaria that was abandoned in 1962. The village has an information desk and a park where you can see the unique Kri Kri.

Things to do

Apart from visiting the unique Samaria National Park, the natural geographical location of Agia Roumeli, makes it a destination that combines both the wildness of the mountain and the calm of the sea.

On the one hand, it is ideal for amazing walks and hikes in the untouched and protected natural environment. On the other hand, the bright sun in combination with the wonderful beach with its clear blue waters, offers special moments of peace to those who choose Agia Roumeli for their holidays.

Stunning unspoiled beaches, which you can explore by hiking, canoeing, or simply renting a boat, are hidden among the mountains west of Agia Roumeli.
To the east one can walk along the beach, following the path to the old Byzantine chapel of Agios Pavlos. From this point, it is said that the Apostle Paul began his journey in Greece.

The ascent to Koule of Agia Roumeli will give you an impressive view to the south of the endless blue of the Libyan Sea with Gavdos and Gavdopoula stretching in front of you and to the north in the National Park and the White Mountains.

How to Get There

Agia Roumeli does not have a road network. It is connected only by ferry to Hora Sfakion, Loutro, Sougia, and Palaiochora. Of course, nature lovers can reach Agia Roumeli either by crossing the Samaria Gorge, the second-longest in Europe (https://www.samaria.gr/el/praktikes-simboules) or via the E4 trail.

Useful Information

Health Center of Agia Roumeli:
(+30) 28250-91151

Health Center of Sfakion:
+30 28250-91214

Agency Agia Roumeli:
+30 28250-91251