The village is located at the mouth of the Samaria Gorge, as it meets the Libyan Sea: it is built on the ancient city of Tara, but today is small and isolated, 56 km south of Chania.
Up to 1954, the village was situated some 2 km north of its present position within the gorge itself, but in the flooding of that year it was destroyed. Today, amidst lush scenery, the ruins of the old houses stand alongside those restored by their owners.
The beaches here stretch for 3 km, with black pebbles and deep blue waters. The closer you get to the settlement, the more infrastructure you will find: at the heart of the village frontage (to the west) all is on offer, even opportunities for water sports. In contrast, the outlying parts are quite empty: at the east caves have formed and the sandy expanses are most appropriate for being alone.
At this end too is a rocky section which is the preferred destination for nudists. Similarly at the very west at Maschali (the Armpit!) and on either side of the jetty are two more beaches where nudism is practiced. Care needs to be taken in this part of the shore as goats passing above on the mountainside frequently cause small landslips. Do not, then, walk close to the mountain, but keep rather to the south side of the road, closer to the sea.
To get to Aghia Roumeli, you can trek down the Samaria Gorge or use the E4 Walking Trail from Chora Sphakion: both are journeys of around 7 hours on foot. By sea, boats from several places put in daily during the summer: from Sougia, Palaiochora, Loutro and Chora Sphakion.
You can visit the Samaria Gorge from Aghia Roumeli too: this reverse, partial and shorter journey will take you along the path to the Iron Gates, the narrowest part of the gorge – thence you would normally return to the sea. A ruined Turkish castle above the village is worth visiting – the view alone out to sea is out of this world: it takes half an hour to climb up from the village. If you have energy enough and continue, the remains of yet another castle higher up still may be explored. The chapel of Aghios Antonios makes a pleasant jaunt: it is built into a rocky shelter by the mouth of the gorge.
Proceeding east, at a distance of an hour’s walk from Aghia Roumeli, is the beach of Aghios Pavlos.
- Tips, Suggestions, Iseful info
- History, Culture
- What to do (Activities)
- What to see (Culture, Nature)
- location Aghia Roumeli, Sfakia, Chania
- free camping Yes
- nudism Yes - in some areas
- beach type Thin Pebble, Pebble
- accommodation Yes - some choices
- dinning Yes - enough choices
- other facilities
Umbrellas, sun beds, showers and water sports
relevant routes & paths:
Distance: 56 km south of Chania.
By sea: During the summer period the daily boat-trips from the harbours of Sougia, Paleochora, Loutro or Chora Sfakion.
On foot: From Omalos through the gorge of Samaria (18 km / duration of around 6-7 hours) or from Chora Sfakion (duration approximately 7 hours).