Agia Roumeli beach, Sfakia, Chania


Author: Giannis Foudoulakis
Agia Roumeli Beach near Sfakia, Chania, South Crete

Agia Roumeli is located at the exit of Samaria Gorge and accepts the thousands of tourists that hike through it every year. The village is built at the site of ancient Tarra, a small yet powerful city that flourished during the Roman era. It is believed that the Romans had built here a temple dedicated to goddess Roumilia, protector of sheep flocks. With the establishment of Christianity the temple was renamed to Agia Roumilia (Santa Roumilia) and over the time it was paraphrased to the current name of the village, Agia Roumeli. Until the middle of last century the village was deeper in the canyon but it was destroyed by an overflow of the river and moved to its current seaside location.

Agia Roumeli is not accessible by road and the only ways to get here are either on foot or by taking one of the boats that operate daily from Paleochora, Sougia and Sfakia. Apart from the trekking path through the gorge of Samaria, there are two sections of the European trekking path E4 that cross the village, one coming from the port of Loutro to the east and a much harder one from Sougia to the west.

Though Agia Roumeli is small, there are many places where you can swim. The beach which is right in front of the village has dark sand and deep waters. There you can find a couple of sun beds and get served under an umbrella. Walking west will get you to more isolated spots, as well as to a part of the beach that is preferred by naturists. Right by the port at the east of the village is another beach with umbrellas and large pebbles. The coast of Agia Roumeli extends for a couple more kilometers east and walking towards that direction will definitely lead you to a totally isolated spot. If you stay long enough, then we strongly recommend you to rent a canoe or hire a boatman to take you to some of the secluded beaches around, such as Kalogeros, Fournoti and Domata.

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