Agia Roumeli

A few kilometers above the town, you’ll find the southern entrance to the Samaria Gorge. For most hikers, this serves as the exit, as the typical route through the gorge involves descending from the north. This gorge, measuring 18 km, is a popular tourist destination in Crete, being the longest gorge in Greece and one of the longest in Europe. In the village of Agia Roumeli, there are several hotels, a few rooms available for rent, and some taverna. The village boasts a large beach and a ferry slipway where walkers, who have completed the Samaria walk, arrive and depart via the ferry to and from Hora Sfakion through Loutro. Notably, Agia Roumeli cannot be accessed by road.

According to a local source, the village’s name may stem from a corruption of the Arabic words Maya meaning water and Roumi meaning Byzantine Greeks. This suggests a place of “Greek/Roman water,” potentially referring to the Samaria Gorge or a nearby spring. This origin story, if accurate, might date back to the time when the island was under the control of the Emirate of Crete or later during the Ottoman Empire. Alternatively, the name could be connected to Saint Romula (or Romylia), a minor saint of Late Antiquity in the Eastern Orthodox Church, possibly evolving from or referring to her.

Things to Do in Crete

Crete Tours and Activities

Samaria Gorge Tour
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Samaria Gorge Tour

Samaria Gorge-Agia Roumeli-Chora Sfakion
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39.00
16 hours75