Located a few kilometers above the town is the southern entrance to the Samaria Gorge. For most walkers, this is the exit, as the usual route through the gorge is to descend from the north. The gorge is a popular tourist destination in Crete, the longest gorge in Greece, and one of the longest in Europe, measuring 18 km. The village has several hotels and a few rooms for rent and also some tavernas. Agia Roumeli has a large beach and a ferry slipway where the ferry to and from Hora Sfakion via Loutro, arrives, mainly used by walkers who have completed the Samaria walk. The village is not accessible by road.
According to one local (unconfirmed) source, the origin of the name Agia Roumeli comes from the Arabic words 'Maya' meaning water and 'Roumi' meaning Greek, meaning 'Greek Water'. Agia or Hagia also means Saint or Holy in Greek.