Homebase: Agia Roumeli

Posted by on October 10, 2013

Homebase: Agia Roumeli

If Crete is a hikers’ paradise, the little seafront village of Agia Roumeli is perhaps the 9th sphere of Heaven around which the rest is built.

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High above Agia Roumeli.

As I’ve mentioned before, Samaria Gorge is one of the main highlights of the island’s impressive natural landscapes. Guidebooks talk of Agia Roumeli as a pass-through stop at the end of the Gorge hike, but Kyle and I found the village to be quite a nice base as well.

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Top-Down view of Agia Roumeli town.

I’m a bit partial, of course, as the little copse of trees just outside of town maybe be one of the most luxurious campsites I’ve ever stayed in (excepting only that one palatial summer in the tent-with-a-ceiling-fan at Garland Scout Ranch). These campsites, just a few tent spots strewn about under the trees, front both a freshwater stream and the Libyan Sea. There are also, though, improvements that evidence the love campers have shown the area in the past. Boulder-built benches front firepits that look out over the water and pre-hung hammock lines invite full-day laziness. And of course, this far away from a major settlement the night sky is quite nice. Of course, even without the camping Crete would be beautiful.

Best Campsite in Europe

Best Little Campsite in Crete.

If you’re not in town just to relax, though, there are also all sorts of nice hikes starting from Agia Roumeli. The E4 winds west from here through a hilltop forest and eventually to Paleochora and Elafonisi.

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Hiking up to the Ottoman Fortress.

Just above town, up a pretty steep trail from the village on the seashore, yet another Ottoman Fortress just begs to be explored.

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Ottoman Fotress above Agia Roumeli.

In the other direction, on the E4 to Loutro and Hora Sfakia, the little chapel of Agios Pavlos sits on a quiet beach where freshwater literally pours from the bare ground and out into the sea.

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Little church, source of water.

Another trail branches off from here up the cliffs to the village of Agios Nikolaos.

Old Roads

Taking the High Road to Agios Nikolaos.

Climb the whole way up, panting and sweating for most of the journey, and you’ll have some idea of what it would be like to live here. In the summer boats run regularly to Agia Roumeli from Paleochora and Hora Sfakia, but in winter when tourists are few and seas are rough this four hour hike is often the nearest place to buy a loaf of bread or bar of chocolate.

Cretean Coastline

Crete’s Coastline: the View From Above.

For adventurers and walkers, though, this somewhat  remote feeling only adds to the glories of Agia Roumeli.

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4 Responses to Homebase: Agia Roumeli

  1. paul | walkflypinoy

    This is just gorgeous! A friend visiting Greece next year is searching for fantastic hiking areas in the country. I have just sent her your link. Beautiful!

    • Stephen

      I would definitely recommend it, especially for anybody looking for a base to do dayhikes from. The long-distance trekking was hit or miss through different parts of Crete. MOre of that soon in Wildjunket, it looks like, so keep an eye out for that.

      Tell your friend to feel free to contact me if she has any questions, though!

  2. Monica Layton

    Hi, Stephen. I love Greece! I took a comedy course on the island of Kea with Prof. Andy Horton, formerly from Loyola U. We had a great time and we went on a long hike to see the Smiling Lion of Kea. We also went to the islands of Hydra and Poros, to Delphi and of course Athens. I learned a lot and I’ve been passing it on to my students. A couple of weeks ago one of my fifth grade Talented Theatre students asked me how long it had taken me to save for that trip. I hope I inspired him to be a traveler. Dr. Horton knows a lot about Greece and he speaks the language. He also knows almost everybody in Greece. I’m struggling a little bit with MatadorU’s travel writing course, but I want to finish it. I’m on chapter 9 and there’s a total of 12. I’m working on an exercise about blogs & websites, so I’m going to write a little bit about yours. I noticed you have a high Alexa ranking! Keep up the good work. Happy travels! Monica

    • Stephen

      Hey Monica! It really is a lovely country, no? I was lucky in that a friend from back in High School happened to move to Crete for a year, so I had a great excuse to make a visit. I only really explored Crete and Athens, so I’d be really stoked to go back at some point and get to some of the smaller islands. Taking a course sounds like a cool idea, though, and of course sounds like it was useful to you. Once you finish up that exercise, send a link towards me to I can give it a read!

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