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Walking the Southern Crete Coast: Agia Roumeli to Agios Pavlos Chapel

A Walk from Agia Roumeli to Agios Pavlos

 

As many times as I’ve been to Agia Roumeli, I’ve never walked east along the coast.  I’ve always felt so content, so why bother?

 

But yesterday, I met a Swiss man who suggested I hike the trail to Agios Pavlos which according to him would take 40 minutes. Note to self: Never listen to Swiss men about the difficulty or length of a hike.  The Alps are their measuring stick.

 

Scenery on the Walk from Agia Roumeli to Agios Pavlos

Pines hang from vertical cliffs. The colors are spectacular!

 

In fact, the journey took me about an hour and twenty minutes and I was not properly prepared.  I wore closed sandals which was a critical error in the enjoyment factor.

 

The path is not difficult or strenuous but a large portion of the trail (which is said to be 3.5 kilometers but it felt like 20) is in sand.  By noon, this sand felt like liquid magma pouring into my closed-toe sandals.  Not nice.  Actually, very painful.  The hike, which follows the European Long Distance Trail (E4) would best be done in early morning or late afternoon.  Bring lots of water, as it gets extremely hot and there is little shade.  And wear closed shoes.

 

That said, the views were stupendous. The trail traverses rocky beaches, sand paths, and shady pine forest.  Towering orange cliffs above are the likely source of the ancient, craggy boulders scattered everywhere. An earthquake here would be no laughing matter.  I pray.  The trail is narrow, with sheer cliffs beside, requiring careful attention with each step.  Black goats spring onto the trail startling me.  The fresh smell of wild thyme wafts through the sea air.  The click-clack of rocks being tumbled in the surf is lovely.  And at the end, a tavern, where I rest my burning feet and enjoy the best fresh orange juice I’ve ever had.

 

Agios Pavlos Chapel

Agios Pavlos Chapel

 

Just past the tavern is the prize of the walk; the lonely 11th-century Byzantine chapel, Agios Pavlos (St.Paul). It was built by on the spot where St. Paul is said to have landed on Crete while on his way to Rome.  Inside, its paintings are fractured and dulled by the weather of 900 years. But pieces still remain, giving a peek into life 900 years ago.  And today, fresh flowers are on the altar.

 

Pictures from the walk to Agios Pavlos:

8 Comments

  1. Thanks for your recent posts. It’s nice to see you back in Crete which I know you love. 🙂 looking forward to more…..

    • You’re most welcome. Yes, it is a love that I hope is never cured!

  2. Wow, how beautiful! I laughed out loud at the part about not listening to Swiss men… In general I never believe anyone who looks particularly fit about how far a hike is. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous journey!

    • My pleasure. Thanks for reading!

  3. Wow! What a crazy, random trail yet beautiful at the same time. I love the picture of your footprints in the sand! The chapel is simply stunning against the beautiful blue sea. Hard to believe it’s over 900 years old. It amazes me that people still live in these old villages and aren’t bothered by the modern technologies of todays society. It’s nice to capture the moments, but I bet even nicer to unplug from everything and be one with yourself.

    • This part of Crete in particular is difficult to get to and still retains some “old Crete” from what I’m told by people that have been traveling to Crete for years. Tourism is such a mainstay here, that everyone demands wifi and electricity and all the modern conveniences so even here in this remote location, those things exist. But it’s as close to getting away from it all as I’ve found yet.

  4. Awesome! I am so jealous! It sounds and looks wonderful, I want to walk that route too!

    • I think you would love it Jayne.

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