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"Go it alone" Hiking Routes

Hiking Routes by Portobelis in Sitia Geopark

Route 1

Short: Exo Mouliana-Richtis beach (5 km approx. 2.5 hours one way)

This truly magnificent gorge is to be found approx. 20 minutes from Sitia, on the road towards Agios Nikolaos. You start at an altitude of about 350m, just outside the village of Exo Mouliana and walk down the gorge, ending down on Richti beach. There is river running down the gorge, which you will have to cross several times during the walk (there is water throughout the year!). The gorge begins with an impressive 19th century stone arched bridge named Lachanas. You will be surprised how green the gorge is, with a vast array of plants, fragrant wild herbs and oleander bushes – it is easy to forget that you are in Crete!! You will be amazed to find the fantastic waterfall, which is over 15m high and flows all year round – you can take a dip in the pool there!
You will also come across old mills and stone houses on your way. The path ends at the beautiful pebble beach of Richti, with stone seats and tables and tamarisk trees for welcome shade in the summer months. There is also a stone water fountain, with clean drinking water.
To get back to Exo Mouliana, you can either go back up the gorge, or follow a windy, cement road back up (suitable for cars but definitely not on foot!). Another option for a shorter walk would be to drive to the bottom of the gorge, walk up as far as the waterfall, then back down again to your car. This road starts from in the village (look for a sign on your right about halfway down the village)

Route 2

Long: Palekastro-Agathias-Skinias Beach-Karoumes Beach-Karoumes Gorge-Choklakies Village.
(12kms, approx. 4-5hrs).

Starting from Palekastro village after a 15 minute walk, you will reach the small village of Agathias. Walking through the village, you will come to a dirt track, passing through olive trees.At the end of this path, there are several rural roads, which is rather confusing! Your best option is to ask a local to show you the way towards Skinias beach. After approx. 10 minutes, you start to walk uphill, arriving at the small plateau of “Plativola” (30 minute walk) at a height of 150m above sea level, where you will see the small church of Agios Spyridon. To get to Agios Spyridon, you need to get past several barbed wire fences – there are gates which you should open and then close, as there are many sheep and goats in the area! Continue downhill and in approx. 30 minutes, you arrive at the beautiful, totally secluded beaches at Skinias. From the southern pebble beach, there is a signed path which leads down to the second beach.Continuing on for approx. one hour, following a very picturesque route, you will arrive at the impressive beach of Karoumes. Unlike the the beaches at Skinias, Karoumes beach has trees, offering welcome shade. If you look across to the west, you can see Karoumes gorge, a walk of approx. 1hr 30 minutes. At the exit of the gorge, is the small settlement of Choklakies, where you can enjoy a welcome drink in the local ‘kafeneion’ (summer months only). To get back to Palekastro, you can take the local bus which departs from Zakros, stopping at all villages on the way (there is one bus in the afternoon – please check for days and times before setting off on this walk!)

Route 3

Short: Azokeramos-Traostalos-Azokeramos ( 10 kms, approx. 2 hrs)

Long: Azokeramos-Traostalos-Kato Zakros (12 kms, approx. 4-5 hrs)

Starting from Azokeramos, there is a new dirt road which leads to the top of Traostalos Mountain (520m above sea level). You can actually drive a car down this road! The route offers magnificent views of Zakros and Xerokambos area to the south and to the small villages of Choklakies, Kelaria and Adravasti.
Heading towards the top of the mountain, you will see the entrance to Karoumes Gorge and then the beautiful deep blue Cretan sea to the east and Skinias bay to the north. It will take approx. 1hr to walk the up the last 5km. The route starts at Azokeramos (260m) and ends at Traostalos (520m). The return walk is much easier! Looking towards the east side of the mountain and at a height of 150m is the well-known cave Pelekita (Zakros area). You can also see the tops of the Sitian mountains.
Then if don’t want to come back you can take the path to the south going to kato zakros village it is approximately 6-7 km and you need 2-3 hours.You are sure to be captivated by the outstanding natural beauty of the area!!

Route 4

Short: Xamezi-Liopetro-Xamezi (6kms, approx. 3hr 30 mins).

Long: Xamezi-Liopetro-Papadiokampos-Panagia Faneromeni-Sitia (14kms, approx. 4-5hrs).

The fortress of Liopetra belongs to the Xamezi area. As far back as 579, there was a proposal from the Venetians that such a fort be built, to offer protection to the Sitia area from a possible Turkish invasion. It was not until the beginning of the 17th century that the fort was actually built – it was large enough to offer shelter for as many as 6000 people!  At 430m above sea level, the views from Liopetra are truly breathtaking. It is possible to go by car almost to the top (approx. 20 minutes from Xamezi Village), the first part of the road being cement, then a dirt track road. When you arive at Liopetro you have two choices, either take the the same road back to Xamaizi or  continue down to the sea and follow the impressive long, winding route back to Sitia.

Hiking Routes in Sitia Geopark

Georoute 5

Karidi - Agios Ioannis - Chonos - Mitato - Karydi

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 5,605
Time: 2 h, 00 min
Initial elevation (m): 590
Final elevation (m): 600
Maximum elevation (m): 709
Minimum elevation (m): 590

Georoute 5 is a trekking route along its entire length. It begins from Karidi and heads west, following an old stone-tiled path. At the small chapel of Agios Ioannis (St. John), it turns north and continues to the hamlet of
Chonos.  Along the georoute, there are many caves which are only accessible to experienced speleologists.Alternatively, visitors can travel south, along the dirt road, to return to Karidi.
At Chonos the geotrail passes by Chonos cave, crosses the hamlet and ends at the small village of Mitato. From there, it follows georoute 1 to return to Karidi.

Georoute 6

Karydi - Mangasa - Mitato - Karydi

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 4,703
Time: 1 h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 582
Final elevation (m): 591
Maximum elevation (m): 591
Minimum elevation (m): 476

Georoute 6 begins from Karidi and heads northeast, following an old track that leads to the hamlet of Mangasa (or Vrissidi). Apart from enjoying the picturesque landscape, visitors can also become acquainted with many features of the geological history of the region, such as the unique rocks of Mangasa Unit, as well as many elements of cultural heritage, such as the stone houses with the impressive arcs, the dry-stone hedges and the old … main road of the area (stone-paved path)! From Mangasa, the geotrail continues up to Mitato, passing by significant geosites. From Mitato, the trail follows georoute 1 to return to Karidi.

Georoute 7

Karydi - Maza gorge - Adravastoi

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 6,372
Time: 2h, 10 min
Initial elevation (m): 587
Final elevation (m): 263
Maximum elevation (m): 587
Minimum elevation (m): 260

Georoute 7 begins from Karidi and crosses the entire Maza gorge, ending at the village of Adravastoi, located just beyond the gorge exit. This georoute follows old tracks and the gorge basin and is a particularly difficult route suitable only for experienced trekkers with the proper equipment!

Georoute 8

Epano Zakros - Mavros Kambos - Skalia

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 3,979
Time: 1h, 20 min
Initial elevation (m): 293
Final elevation (m): 655
Maximum elevation (m): 655
Minimum elevation (m): 290

Georoute 8 follows the European Trail E4 along its entire length. Apart from trekking, the georoute offers many exciting sights, such as the unique view of the eastern coastal areas, the beautiful landscape and numerous geosites. Ιt begins from the settlement of Epano Zakros, climbs the steep slopes of the mountainous regions, crosses the breathtaking Mavros Kambos plateau and ends at the Skalia area, featuring a small spring and the ruins of the old stone settlement.
At Skalia, georoutes 3 and 9 intersect. Visitors can return to Epano Zakros either by taking the same route back or by following one of the other two connected georoutes.

Georoute 9

Ziros - Skalia

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 4,82
Time: 1h, 40 min
Initial elevation (m): 617
Final elevation (m): 655
Maximum elevation (m): 740
Minimum elevation (m): 617

This Georoute also follows European Trail E4. It begins from the hamlet of Ziros and ends at Skalia; essentially, it is an extension of Georoute 8, all the way to Epano Zakros for those with great stamina!

Georoute 10

Epano Zakros - Gorge of the Dead - Kato Zakros

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 4,11
Time: 1h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 7
Final elevation (m): 160
Maximum elevation (m): 160
Minimum elevation (m): 7

Georoute 10 begins from Epano Zakros, passes through the renowned Zakros Gorge, also known as ‘the Gorge of the Dead’, and reaches the village of Kato Zakros. It constitutes the southern and eastern part of European Trail E4 in Greece, which officially ends at Kato Zakros.This exceptional trekking route is particularly important because it combines beautiful landscape with numerous components of geological and cultural heritage of the area. It is worth noting that it passes through the Minoan cemetery and the archaeological site of Kato Zakros palace.

Georoute 11

Kato Zakros - Fangromouro - Katsounaki beach

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 7,164
Time: 2h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 7
Final elevation (m): 12
Maximum elevation (m): 52
Minimum elevation (m): 0

Georoute 11 begins from Kato Zakros and follows the old coastal trail towards the south, passes through Fangromouro area and ends at Katsounaki beach.
The Georoute crosses many interesting geosites and is exceptionally pleasant, as it follows the coastline along its entire length. At Katsounaki beach, there are numerous geosites, including Katsounaki gorge, as well as endemic species of sand lilies or Sea Daffodils (Pancratium maritimum). Visitors can return to Kato Zakros either by the same path or from the road via Xerokambos.

Georoute 12

Kato Zakros - Pelekita cave - Karoumes beach

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 7,069
Time: 2h, 30 min
Initial elevation (m): 7
Final elevation (m): 20
Maximum elevation (m): 107
Minimum elevation (m): 6

Georoute 12 begins from Kato Zakros, heads north along an old but clear trail and ends at the wonderful and totally isolated Karoumes Beach.
This magnificent georoute includes a large number of geosites, including the renowned Zakros marine terrains, Pelekita Cave, the ancient quarry and others.
At Karoumes, the georoute intersects with georoute 13, which passes through the Hohlakies gorge. Thus, visitors can return either by following the same path back to Kato Zakros or via georoute 13, through Hohlakies gorge, ending up at road route 1.

Georoute 13

Hohlakies - Hohlakies gorge - Karoumes beach

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 3,81
Time: 1h, 20 min
Initial elevation (m): 84
Final elevation (m): 20
Maximum elevation (m): 120
Minimum elevation (m): 20

This georoute begins outside the hamlet of Hohlakies, passes through the beautiful Hohlakies gorge and ends at the outstanding beach of Karoumes.Several important geosites can be found at Karoumes, such as the coral limestone and small caves. Most people can return through the gorge, but more adventurous visitors can head to Kato Zakros through georoute 12!

Georoute 14

Vai - Skopeli - Megali Kefala - Vai

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 5,131
Time: 1 h, 45 min
Initial elevation (m): 20
Final elevation (m): 20
Maximum elevation (m): 120
Minimum elevation (m): 20

Georoute 14 begins from the renowned beach of Vai with the unique Cretan Date Palm forest, continues southwards crossing sand dunes and small bays and ends at Skopeli summit. It offers a fantastic view and includes numerous significant geosites of the area: Dunes with Cedar groves (Juniperus phoenicea), forest stands of Carob tree (Ceratonia illigua), shrublands of Cretan Cistus (Cistus creticus) and many rare flora species. From there, it follows a parallel track back to Vai, where it connects with georoute 2.

Georoute 15

Toplou Monastery Gorge

Type: Trekking
Length (Km): 3,03
Time: 1 h, 10 min
Initial elevation (m): 0
Final elevation (m): 0
Maximum elevation (m): 0
Minimum elevation (m): 0

Georoute 15 is considered one of the most significant georoutes of the area due to the exceptional geosites that it includes. The georoute begins west of Toplou Monastery, crosses the gorge and returns from a ridge back to its starting point. The entire georoute features a fantastic landscape and visitors can encounter numerous endemic flora species, fossils, as well as the erosional landforms called ‘Tafoni’. In the small lakes formed in the canyon, one may encounter the Balkan Terrapin (Mauremys rivulata). At the end of the georoute, one should not neglect visiting Toplou monastery, which features a church museum and a winery.

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