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It is difficult to come by a location with such distinctive features, such as the one surrounding Agia Roumeli Hotel: Agia Roumeli Hotel overlooks the beach of the village, right at the exit point of the Samaria gorge, the largest gorge in Europe!

Apart from its strategic location at the exit of the Samaria gorge, the picturesque village of Agia Roumeli also offers a unique seashore, where one can find the quaint, well-known church of Agios Pavlos.

Agia Roumeli has been built in the region of the ancient city Tarra, renowned for its oracle, and destroyed in an earthquake during the early post-Christian years. The Romans named the area Roumilia, after their goddess Roumilia, while during the predominance of Christianity, the settlement which gradually thrived was named Agia Roumilia, and afterwards, Agia Roumeli.

In 1867 the settlement was destroyed by the Turks after the battle of Aradena. It was then that the women and children sought refuge in the Samaria gorge and survived. Another date of great significance for Agia Roumeli was the month of May in 1941, when the Greek government, governed by Emmanuel Tsouderos and King George, abandoned Greece from here, when Crete was occupied by the Germans after the fierce Battle of Crete.

The Samaria Gorge is the most significant attraction in the area. It is a very impressive natural phenomenon, and is the longest gorge in Europe, stretching over a length of 18 kilometres, 14 of which are accessible on foot. In the gorge there is a population of rare protected Cretan wild goats, the Kri-Kri.

By 1962 the gorge was already classified as a national park. Crossing it takes about 6-8 hours, depending on your pace. Wearing good, hard shoes (preferably hiking boots) is a must, while a light snack is also required. Carrying water on your hike through the gorge is not necessary as you will come across many flowing streams of crystal clear mountain water along the way.

The entrance of the gorge is situated at the location of Xyloskalo, at an altitude of over 1.200 metres, from which the visitors descend a well-carved and protected pedestrian path walk with wood railings. Approximately the first half of the gorge is a gradual descent towards its deepest point, which spans for nearly 2.000 metres.

The gorge was named after the abandoned village of Samaria, which lies near the middle of the gorge. The name Samaria comes from the church of Santa Maria located in the village.

As you progress further into the gorge, the passage becomes more and more narrow, surrounded by towering mountains, until you reach the location Portes, also known as the Iron Gates, the narrowest point of the gorge, which reaches a width of only 3.5 metres. After this point, the gorge widens and you can now catch a glimpse of the sea. After proceeding along a dried-up torrent, you finally arrive at the village of Agia Roumeli.

Other significant attractions in the prefecture of Sfakia are Chora Sfakion, the capital of the prefecture, where regular transport is available by boat, Loutro, a quaint seaside village, and Fraggokastello, where a 14th century Venetian castle has been preserved in excellent condition, and at the beginning of the summer the mythical warrior-ghosts Drosoulites appear.

The nearby beaches of Southern Crete are also exceptional. Domata, Fournoti, Agios Pavlos and Tripiti are all accessible directly from Agia Roumeli hotel with our hotel's taxi-boat, at a low cost.