Τhe village of Agia Roumeli is located at the mouth of Samaria Gorge, 56 km south of Chania, where the land meets the Libyan Sea. This was the location of the ancient city of Tara, but today is small and fairly isolated. Up until 1954, the village was situated some 2 km north of its present position within the gorge itself, but after serious flooding was destroyed. Today, amidst lush scenery, the ruins of the old houses stand alongside those restored by their owners.
The beach stretches for 3 km, with black pebbles and deep blue waters. Closest to the settlement is where you will find the most amenities. At the heart of the village, restaurants, cafes and water sports are available. In contrast, the outlying parts of the beach are quite empty. at the east side, caves have formed and the sandy expanses are most appropriate for quiet solitude. At this end too, we find a rocky section which is a preferred destination for nudists. Similarly, at the very west, an area called “Maschali” (armpit) and on either side of the jetty, there are two more nudist-friendly beaches. This part of the coast is tricky; goats passing through on the cliffs frequently cause small landslides. Do not walk close to the cliffs and try to stay closer to the sea.
To get to Agia Roumeli the village and beach, you can trek down the Samaria Gorge or use the E4 Walking Trail from Chora Sfakion: both journeys take about 7 hours on foot. You can also access Agia Roumeli by boat, daily during the summer from Sougia, Palaiochora, Loutro and Chora Sfakion. There is no road access to Agia Roumeli.
You can visit Samaria Gorge from Agia Roumeli as well, in a reverse, a partial and shorter journey that will take you along the path to the Iron Gates, the narrowest part of the gorge – then you will return to the village. There is a ruined Turkish castle above the village that is worth visiting – the view alone out to sea is out of this world. The short hike takes less than half an hour. If you have energy enough and wish to continue, you can explore the remains of yet another castle higher up the hill. Here we also find the chapel of Agios Antonios, built into a rocky shelter by the mouth of the gorge. Proceeding east, at a distance of an hour’s walk from Agia Roumeli, is the beach of Agios Pavlos.