Samaria Gorge and beach at Agia Roumeli in South-West Crete

Samaria Gorge and beach at Agia Roumeli provide a perfect combo of adventure and secluded relaxation. Samaria is the longest gorge in Europe, 12.4km, so be prepared to walk for several hours. The good news is that you don’t need to carry water with you (maybe just keep half a liter with you), as there are springs at regular distances. It is a very popular national reserve with regular buses departing from Hania and other towns of Crete. It is better to ask in advance if the gorge is open on the day you want to go there, because it may be closed under some weather conditions.

First, you will descend by very well organized hiking trail with magnificent views over the gorge and mountains around.

view 0000 Samaria gorge, Crete, Greece

The second part of the route lies in the river bed (during summer Samaria River comes to the surface only in some parts) between vertical rock walls up to 300m high.
view 0002 Samaria gorge, Crete, Greece
That is especially impressive in several points where the cliffs from both sides get really close to each other, just few meters apart! It can be dangerous as the signs say, and we heard once quite a terrifying noise of falling rocks somewhere aside.

view 0001 Samaria gorge, Crete, Greece

During the first half of our walk, the trail was often overcrowded with tens, if not hundreds, of people literally rushing one by one. Later we realized why they were in such a hurry: the ferries from Agia Roumeli, a village in the end of the gorge, leave to Hora Sfakion and Paleochora at about 16:30. This is why almost all hikers try to walk the whole way in about 6 hours. Luckily we were going to camp in the end, so we spent almost 10 hours in the gorge and could enjoy all astonishing views.

So, during last 3 hours of our walk, after these settlements, our only encounters were feral goats and kri-kri, Cretan subspecies of wild goats, endemic to the island.

view 0003 Samaria gorge, Crete, GreeceAfter eating in a tavern in Agia Roumeli, we went to look for a camping place. A small pinery just left of the isthmus of the Samaria River was already occupied by half a dozen campers, so we continued looking for a place for our tent further on the beach in the dark… and we found it! An entire cave had been waiting for us exclusively 🙂 What was especially pleasing was that the floor in the cave was of fine dry soft sand, whereas the beach itself was mainly covered by pebbles, many of tennis ball size, very inconvenient to walk on. The cave had accumulated the warmth of the day, so not only did we not need to go inside our tent, we even did not need to cover! Watching the starry sky from the cave felt like in a cinema. The only problem was that the noise of waves echoed in the cave and thus doubled, so don’t expect quiet, but the sound of sea is your thing, you’ll be happy.

 

naturist 0000 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece

In the late morning next day, a few people came to the beach, but the cave remained pretty much our own.

naturist 0007 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece
With quite strong waves, the water there gets full of air bubbles, and it gives it incredibly intensive light-blue color… somewhat resembling the Greek flag =)

naturist 0004 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece
Further to the east lies another beach Agios Pavlos with an old church from Byzantine times, but unfortunately we did not have time to go there – it’s good to keep something for the next time, we thought.

Right next to the cave, there were some interesting rock formations.naturist 0002 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece

While swimming around, we found some rocks offshore with sort of bathtubs on them.

naturist 0006 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece

How cool, after a bathtub, you can dive into the sea!

naturist 0003 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece
And getting back to our cave I couldn’t resist imagining myself as a caveman.

naturist 0000 Agia Roumeli, Crete, Greece

Though it was also nice to just lie down and relax there…

naturist 0001 Agia Roumeli beach, Crete, Greece

Hopefully this place will remain as beautiful and unspoiled as we found it!

One thought on “Samaria Gorge and beach at Agia Roumeli in South-West Crete

  1. Samaria Gorge, locally known as the Faranges, initiates at Xyloskalo on the Omalos Plateau. From the core of white mountains to pure seashore of Libyan sea, one of spectacular views is Mount Gingilos with valley beneath. It finally leads to the bliss of natures in form of dense greenery, flows of water, soaring winds.

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