DAY 1: AIRPORT – HOTEL
DAY 2 : Anogeia-Axos-Livada-Krioneri-Agridia-Apladiana-Mourtzana-Melidoni-Perama
DAY 3 : Charkia-Arkadi-Eleftherna-Margarites-Vergiana
DAY 4 : Apostoli-Gerakari-Spili-Mixorouma-Frati-Plakias-Souda Beach
DAY 5 : Minoan Cemetary of Armeni -Ag Fotinos-Ag Ioannis-Kotsifou-Selia-Korakas-Frangokastello
DAY 6 : Miriokefala-Lappa-Filaki-Dramia-Kournas-Georgioupolis-Episkopi-Gonia-Atsipopoulo
Day 7: HIKING Imbros – Gorge of Imbros – Komitades
Day 8: Departure
Day 1 Arrival day
Pick-Up of Guests from Airport and Transfer to first Hotel. Important for the Guide to be there and welcome the Clients and answer first important questions.
DAY 2 ANOGIA >> PERAMA
Distance: 55,54 km
Ascent: 778.8m; Descent: 2.045m
Physical Requirement: normal physical condition.
On your first day we explore the village of musicians and their Lyra players at Anogia, where Jorgos Skoulas will entertain us with some tunes. Short snack stop at the weaving center of Axos before we bike amongst vast olive groves to the so called Old Road that once was the only connection from Heraklion to Western Crete. Along charcoal production areas we will cycle our way through these enchanting sights with stops for lunch and refreshments to reach Melidoni and ist famous cave. We will finish our stage at Perama and continue by bus to the beach of Panormo.
Coming out of the Aristea Hotel and having prepared your tour outfit, you turn down right hand side following the road through the upper village part. Just before you reach the lower part of Anoghia there is a crossing. To the right downhill you see a shortcut to avoid the narrow village lanes. But you take of course the extension straight and leisurely pass through this picturesque scenery and keep to the right when other roads cross. The road is constantly leading downhill towards Axos. At a crossing you keep to the right further downhill. After a slight uphill part of 300m there is a rather flat part and then you see a bigger taverna on your right hand side. Possibility for a toilet stop and to enjoy a coffee with fantastic view. A few meters behind the taverna there is a sharp turn to the right downhill direction village of Livada. From that village you follow the road without any turns more or less downhill to Aimonas. Right inside the village of Aimonas do not miss the sharp turn to the left heading for the villages of Krioneri and Tsachiana. Stay on the main road until you reach Agridia and further down to the so called old road to Rethymno. The turn to the left will bring you via Kampos Doxarou / Kampos Apladianon to the village of Mourtzana. Ignore any crossings and stay on the main road until you nearly reached the village of Mourzana and there you follow the sharp turn to the right heading slightly uphill to Agia. (sign at the road!) No turning away from the main road until Melidoni. Easy and obvious is the sign for Perama in the middle of the village of Melidoni. A left turn and shortly after that a right turn will bring you to the connecting road heading for Perama. This road is a joyful downhill end of a quite challenging tour. At a crossing at the beginning of the village of Perama (sign for Panormo to the right!) you can relax…you did it…it’s the pickup point for the bikes.
• Kampos Doxarou
Pick up end of day and back to the hotel
Points of Interest (POI) on route
• Folk Art Museum of Alkibiades Skoulas at Anogia (30 minutes)
• Traditional Village square of Anogia with birthhouse of Nikos Xylouris (most famous Lyra player and singer on Crete, 30 minutes)
• Art of weaving and/or Wood Art Museum at Axos (45 minutes)
• Charcoal production sites near Melidoni (15 minutes)
• Cave of Melidoni (one hour)
DAY 3 CHARKIA >> MARGARITES
Distance: 38.5 km
Total Ascent: 857m; Descent: 1.285m
Physical Requirement: normal physical condition
The tiny mountain village of Charkia is our starting point o reach Arkadi, the most famous monastery on Crete. Only three monks are left, maybe one of them can guide us through the premises. Up and down the hills along the Northern slopes of Mount Ida to the pottery village of Margarites. Famous master of traditional pottery is Eleni Kavgalaki who will show us some of her art. A short relaxing break for lunch under a carob tree with brilliant view to the North coast will let us regain strength. The bike ride through rural villages and a stop at one of the oldest olive trees of Crete will bring us to the old road again.
From Charkia uphill you just stay on the asphalted road until at Kavousi you turn downhill to the right. At the next crossing go straight ahead to see the monastery of Arkadi and have a relaxing stop there and visit the historical museum. From Arkadi you continue on the road that passes alongside the cafeteria just opposite the monastery heading for the village of Eleftherna. There is one crossing just next to a small cafenio at your left that you should not miss! Stay on the road uphill! And reach without any other crossings the village of Eleftherna. Inside the village keep to the right to see a nice lookout point after 100m with a bench. From there you recognize the taverna “Eleftherna” at the other side of the little valley. Continue on the road and ignore any crossings until inside of “Archaea Eleftherna” you keep to the right at the tiny village square. Go straight more or less downhill until after a small bridge you climb a few meters up to follow the sign “Margarites” at a crossing! You will pass through the hamlet of Kinigiana and leasurely reach the upper part of Margarites (only few houses!) . The Barbeque will be held in the shade of a carob tree, relaxation and tasty food. You roll down now to enter the pottery village and see a demonstration of the pottery art at Eleni Kavgalaki place. Staying on the main road you pass downhill from Margarites to the so called old road crossing. There turn left just for about 300m and follow the sign Laga, again to the left.. it’s the first asphalted road that leads slightly uphill. After another 500m you turn to the right! following the sign Skordilo. Via the tiny villages of Kallergos and Laga you head on slightly uphill until you reach the most critical turn point of the tour! About 2km after you passed Laga there is a crossing… you turn to the LEFT!!! downhill to reach the villages of Vergiana and Plevriana. The rest is easy… just follow the main downhill road until you reach the village of Chani Alexandrou again…here is the pickup point.
• Arkadi monastery
• Archea Eleftherna
• Chani Alexandrou
Points of Interest (POI) on route
• Historic Monastery of Arkadi + museum (45 minutes)
• Archaeological excavation site of Archaea Eleftherna, gigantic Roman cisterns built in sandstone rocks. (one hour)
• Presentation of the art of Cretan pottery at Margarites (30 minutes)
• Monastery of Agios Gedeon at Margarites (30 minutes)
• Olive Tree approx. 1.000 years old at Vergiana
• Lunch break at traditional taverna at Margarites (one hour)
DAY 4 APOSTOLI >> SOUDA BEACH
Distance: 42,2 km
Ascent: 1.506m; Descent: 1.451m
Physical Requirement: good physical condition.
During the transfer to the bike start, we try to get a glimpse of the crocodile that was given freedom by a private person at the Phragma dam, the water reservoir for Rethymno. We pass a newly built social center at Anasouvari amidst the hills and its very old chappells before reaching our starting point at Apostoli. Slightly ascending the hills our eyes get cought by a brilliant lookout point. Lovely Amari valley is worth while some pictures. Via Gerakari, the cherry center of Crete, the next stopover are the orchids of Ious Kampos, spread over a wide flat meadow. From the waterspitting lionheads of Spili to the waterfalls of the Kourtaliotiko gorge. A must to walk down to the five springs at the bottom. The wide swung beach of Plakias and the hidden resort of Souda ist an invitation to test the cristal clear waters of the Libyan Sea.
From the village of Apostoli you head on to Agia Fotini and there turn sharp right to reach slightly uphill the village of Meronas…no turning away from the main road! At any crossings head on straight! until you enter the village of Gerakari. Just opposite of a World War II monument at your left hand side there is the turn to the right upwards according to the sign Spili and after another 20m again turn to the right! Keep on this road and ignore any crossings now until you reach the higher fields and meadows. From there you have a nearly endless downhill part on very good road conditions. At a sharp bend the barbeque site is reached where we eat and relax. The road continues downhill until Spili and the 23 waterspitting lion heads are reached. Refreshing cold water is very welcome! From Spili you head westward on the main road until at Mixorouma, nearly at the end of the village where the road turns downwards to the right..exactly there you turn to the LEFT, entering a smaller but still asphalted road slightly uphill. After a few hundred meters there is a crossing… you keep UPHILL to the LEFT still asphalted… stay on that road ignoring downhill crossings and reach the village of Frati. There you follow the road to the right downhill until touching another broader main road…here to turn LEFT! entering the gorge of Kourtaliotiko, passing right through it until the view opens up to the Libyan sea. At the end of the gorge the road turns to the right and you reach the village of Asomatos. Shortly behind the village is a crossing and you turn to the left downhill following the sign Lefkoghia. Do not follow the sign Preveli at a crossing…go on straight ahead and pass Lefkoghia and do not follow any smaller roads leading away from the main road that you are on. Thus you will easily reach the bay of Plakias and staying on the road the village itself. Pass right through Plakias keeping to the beach side.. so you will be always parallel and close to the coast line until finally you see the fine bay of Souda with its wonderful sandy beach.. jump off the bikes and take a refreshing swim.
• Agia Fotini
• Souda Beach
Points of Interest (POI) on route
• The Dam – Waterreservoir of Rethymno (5 minutes)
• Social Center of Anasouvari (15 minutes)
• Lookout Point Amari-Valley (10 minutes)
• 21 waterspitting Lionheads of Spili (30 minutes)
• Maravelle botanical garden near Spili (30 minutes)
• Kourtaliotiko Gorge with 5 Big Springs (45 minutes)
• Pottery workshop at Asomatos (20 minutes)
• Museum of Papa Michalis (30 minutes)
• Sandy Bay of Souda (one hour)
DAY 5 ARMENI >> FRANGOKASTELLO
Minoan Cemetary of Armeni -Ag Fotinos-Ag Ioannis-Kotsifou-Selia-Korakas-Frangokastello
Ascent: 1.179.9m; Descent: 1.536m
Physical Requirement: good physical condition
The late Minoan cemetary of Armeni with its 120 tombs built into the soft sandstone is our starting point with the bikes. Leaving the main road after a few hundret meters we pass hilly areas and delightful country side. The affiliation of Greece with the EU reflects in broad newly constructed roads that are rarely used by traffic. Down to the narrow gorge of Kotsifou widens the view to the Libyan Sea, we might even spot the southernmost inhabited point of Europe the island of Gavdos. Moderate hills to reach the southern shores at the remote village of Korakas. We leasurely pass up and down along the coastline. With a sigh of relief, throwing off our sweaty outfit we plunge into the floods just beneath the fortress of Frangokastello, a former fortification against the pirates coming from Africa during the 16th century.
Starting point is located next to the Late Minoan Cemetary of Armeni because we can leasurely unload the bikes there. We then head straight on to the village of Armeni to recognize nearly at the end a crossing with the sign Fotinos and follow it to the right! After another approx. 500m you see a crossing with three roads.. take the one that leads slightly uphill to the LEFT and follow it until you enter the small village of Fotinos. Keep on the main road, no turning to the right inside the village and no turning to lumpy secondary roads to the left… the asphalted road ascends slightly up and you see a tiny white chapel on a hill to the left at a distance of 1km. Just follow this quiet and scenic road until it touches the main road again at a lower level. Here you turn to the right and continue until it gets flat and you see another newly constructed road to the right.. follow this road to Agios Vasilios and Palaeo Loutra. No other turns until you see the village of Agios Ioannis and shortly after the village of Kanevos. Right next to the road at Kanevos there is a nice little taverna where you can sit outside, relax and drink a refreshing orange juice! Then heading on the same direction you pass downhill into the gorge of Kotsifou and enjoy the ride until you come to the next crossing…keep to the right uphill for some exercise and be happy with the breathtaking view down to the Libyan Sea and the Bay of Plakias. Make a short fotostop just before you pass through the village of Selia and then just keep continuing on the main street through Selia (no turns to the left!) and on to the next village of Kato Rodakino. Before you reach Kato Rodakino there is a nice possibility for a greek coffee at a lookout taverna left hand side…you can’t miss it.. the view over the Libyan Sea is enormous. At Kato Rodakino you pass through the first houses and then watch out carefully for the turn to the LEFT..downhill to the hamlet of Korakas. There is a sign at the road, don’t miss it!!! At Korakas turn right along the beachside until the asphalted road turns away from the beach slightly uphill.. after approx. 200m there is a turn to the left down to an unasphalted trail..keep on that trail until it reaches the beachside and see the little snack bar to your left.. stop and take pictures from the scenic beach and later continue westwards!!! on that lumpy trail…don’t turn anywhere uphill until you have passed a tiny little creek that surpasses the trail…from here on you better push your bikes uphill.. you will encounter a sharp turn of the trail to the left… next sharp one to the right..do not! turn downhill or enter a even smaller trail to the left… you keep going or biking uphill!!! until it gets flat again and after a few more meters a sigh of relief…you made it back to asphalt and then continue in a relaxing style enjoying flat riding…no turns anywhere! encounter the bigger asphalt road after approx 1.8km and there you turn LEFT rolling endlessly slightly downhill to the fortress of Frangokastello.. You did it and you can be proud…the shallow beach with crystal clear refreshing water is the reward for a challenging biketour. A small beach bar with refreshments awaits you!
• Agios Georgios
• Agios Vasilios
• Agios Ioannis
Points of Interest (POI) on route
• Late Minoan Cemetary of Armeni (30 minutes)
• Kotsifou Gorge (10 minutes)
• Church of the Rock “Agios Nikolaos” (15 minutes)
• Look-Out Point “Selia” (10 minutes)
• Korakas Beach (maybe swim stop, 30 minutes)
• Fortress of Frangokastello (20 minutes)
• Lagoon of Frangokastello (swimming, one hour)
DAY 6 ARGYROUPOLIS >> ATSIPOPOULO
Distance: 52,77 km
Ascent: 778.8m; Descent: 2.045m
Physical Requirement: good physical condition.
Argyroupolis (ancient name “Lappa”) was a city state some 2.000 years ago and its worth while making a stroll around the so called Akropolis before descending to the idyllic waterfalls just below the village. Biking along a romantic little valley with a small creek we are heading north to the village of Kournas that gave its name to the freshwater lake. It takes us up in the hills again. 800m wide and approx. 30-40m deep is the only natural lake on Crete, we stop and enjoy the view and shoot some pics before continuing finally to the north coast at Georgioupolis. If someone wants a refreshing swim..why not! Relaxation and refreshments before we ride back eastwards via Episkopi through hilly and remote landscape towards Atsipopoulo which is near Rethymno.
Starting point is the village upper square of Argyroupolis/Lappa. We simply follow the main road downhill. Ignore the first! crossing of an asphalted road to the left… the next turn is just a few meters further on…this one you take and ride downhill to the springs of Argyroupolis and take a few pictures and browse around. Then keep on downhill straight and cross a small bridge.. after the bridge turn sharp to the right and ignore the road leading uphill after 40m…you stay on the lower road that slightly goes downhill. A very scenic ride along a little creek awaits you. Do not turn anywhere to the right, just stay on the main road. When you come closer to the little village of Filaki stay on the main road until…you get to another main road crossing…slowly slowly…it is critical there to take the turn to the LEFT!!! to the other main road. After approx. 7-800m this road branches…stay on the right branch!!! After one more km… abig crossing…you turn sharply to the LEFT!!! slightly uphill…and when this road gets flat and downhilly again do NOT turn away from the straight line down… no left turns!!! Ride leasurely downhill and follow the sharp left bend and then uphill again to reach the village of Kournas. If you stay on that road and you don’t turn anywhere either to the left or right to minor secondary roads..you pass through Kournas and have a joyful downhill ride to the only freshwater lake of Crete…lake Kournas, named after the village you just happily passed. With a deep sigh of relief you will enjoy the wonderful view over that lake and take pictures. Do not turn away from the main road…you might even get down to the lake and relax a little bit. Than back to business…get to the main road again and follow it heading to the seaside…NO turns at all until…after approx. 2.8km a road crossing…short stop there and turn to the LEFT..and stay to the left when another crossing appears…you are now nearly parallel to the National Road that you cross over a bridge after 200m.. you made it perfectly to the scenic village of Georgioupolis…leasurely enter the village and pass down to the beach…refreshing swim and a cold coffee (called Frappe) will refill your empty batteries.. you are not finished yet… after the relaxation of approx. 1 hour its time for a new ride… lets hop on and get back to the same road where you entered the village… you remember.. the part parallel to the National Road and.. the part where you turned to the LEFT coming from the freshwater lake…critical…there you keep on riding STRAIGHT…no turning back to the freshwater lake, you are now on a nearly parallel road to the coast line heading eastwards!!! Do NOT leave that road anywhere…no turns at any crossings..you pass the hamlet of Asproulianos and after a while slightly uphill the tiny village of Dramia..always stay straight ahead, no slight turn to left or right, because some other roads try to attract you… be straight! From Dramia the road leads downhill for a while and then a joyful flat part.. no turn at a crossing near a bridge…straight on.. another crossing might distract you…keep on straight slightly uphill until you reach Episkopi…puhhh. The road leads you right into the middle of that picturesque village…pass through it and keep going until next to a sports stadion there is a slight turn to the left…take it! next crossing keep to the right and follow the road slightly uphill…at two minor crossings stay on the right side, just keep on the road you are moving..no uphill turns. When after quite a while you come to the crossing of Agios Konstantinos..take the road straight downhill, so the one on the lefthand down…if you stay on that road straight ahead you will finally reach the village of Agios Andreas and further on the village of Gonias..the rest is a piece of cake, even my little brother could handle this part…via the village of Prines you reach the sports stadion of Atsipopoulo just before the village of Atsipopoulo… stop there please and wait for the pickup party to save you from any breakdowns ;-)
• Argyroupolis (Lappa)
• Agios Andreas
Points of Interest (POI) on route
• Cheese factory at Miriokefala (20 minutes)
• Folk Art Museum at Lappa (30 minutes)
• Akropolis of Lappa (round walk, 30 minutes)
• Avocado production site (20 minutes)
• Springs of Argyroupolis (20 minutes)
• Freshwater Lake of Kournas (one hour)
• Olive oil production factory at Vrisses (30 minutes)
• Wine tasting at the Droulakis winery near Alikambos (one hour)
Day 7: HIKING Imbros – Gorge of Imbros - Komitades
Tour character: easy hike in parched riverbed. This hike is one of the most beautiful in the vicinity of the Sfakia/South Crete.
Equipment: sturdy shoes or hiking boots (sports shoes) , sun hat, water bottle, food, , banana, fruits, long pants required, normal physical health condition!
Tour Length: approx. 8km
Tour Duration: pure walking time 3,5 hours
Altitude: Descent 760m
Picnic lunch along the way, short break with fruit/water.
Tour Description: After a delicious second breakfast with a speciality of the Sfakian Women, a Cheese Pie with Thyme Honey (Sfakiani Pitta me Meli) and maybe a cup of Mountain Tea we start right down into the dried out creek of the Imbros Gorge. Gently downhill we have a closer look at the plantlife and maybe identify the King of the Cretan Mountain Herbs, Origanum dictamnus or Dittany, which makes a very healthy and tasty Tea. All kinds of herbs along the path, the air is filled with their aromatic scent. Half way down we arrive at the shepherds refuge of Manolis and Leonidas. They are the wardens and care-takers of the gorge and check the tickets we collected at the entrance. A picturous motive for the photographers is their sophisticated little “bungalow”. Further down, passing towering limestone cliffs, we stop at the narrow spot of the gorge, 2,5m wide for a Group-Selfie and another one at the so called “Stone-Gate” . Shortly after that point the gorge opens up and we can see the crystal clear waters of the Libyan Sea and the tiny village of Komitades where we rest at a traditional taverna and have a late lunch while enjoying the view along the South Coast of Crete.
Transportation back to Hotel.
Day 8: Departure
Short URL for the Tour Anoghia-Perama >> https://goo.gl/maps/B6NgBSaGXr32
GoogleMaps Short URL for Charkia-Margarites-Chani Alexandrou >> https://goo.gl/maps/FTtVwC4z5iG2
GoogleMaps Short URL for Tour: Apostoli-Spili-Souda Bay >> https://goo.gl/maps/hXcpBvrSFRn
GoogleMaps Short URL for Tour: Armeni-Frangokastello >> https://goo.gl/maps/LRtVzP6xdUy
GoogleMaps Short URL for Tour (1. Part) : Miriokefale-Georgioupolis >> https://goo.gl/maps/V83qP1YJKx82
GoogleMaps Short URL for Tour (2. Part) : Georgioupolis-Episkopi-Atsipopoulo >> https://goo.gl/maps/Besmkh1Ntyx