Cycling is probably one of the best ways to explore a place and immerse yourself in its landscapes and culture. The area of Hersonissos is a cyclist’s paradise: ideal weather conditions and a diverse landscape that offers cycling routes for everyone, from easy trips to moderate and challenging rides.
What to expect? Asphalt and dirt roads, easy seaside routes, challenging mountain trails, ancient paths, routes that cross beautiful olive groves and picturesque villages, rugged terrains, wide-open vistas, a great number of old churches and monuments that you’d never discover otherwise. Whether you’re a keen cyclist or an amateur bike rider, there are several routes to follow at your own pace, and add a sense of adventure to your vacation in Hersonissos.
Episkopi – Stamnoi – Chochlakies – Sgourokefali – Episkopi
This circular mountain route is of moderate difficulty and covers a distance of 22 km. Parts of it are on asphalt road, and the rest is on a dirt trail. Starting from the village of Episkopi, follow the country road to Aitania village, then head southeast and cycle parallel to the gorge of Karteros. Continue to the north for a while and then start descending towards Stamnoi village. Take a break there, and have a soda at the “kafeneio” on the village’s central square under the shade of the trees. From Stamnoi you continue to Chochlakies village, but first stop to visit two amazing Byzantine churches, the church of Panagia Kera Limniotissa that lies hidden among the olive groves, and the church of Agios Georgios at Toupaki where you can admire the 15th-century frescoes. After passing Chochlakies, you can either return to Episkopi or visit Sgourokefali village.
Mochos is one of the most touristic villages of Hersonissos, however, it has preserved its traditional character. This circular route starts from the centre of Mochos and explores the plateau. It runs partly on asphalt roads and partly on dirt trails, crossing olive groves and revealing breathtaking vistas of the coastline of Hersonissos and Mallia and the Aposelemis dam. It’s not too demanding, therefore it’s ideal for families or amateur cyclists.
Start cycling on the country road to the east of the village and continue in a south-east direction. As soon as you cross the asphalt road go on for a while, then head north and finish your circular exploration reaching Mochos from its western edge. You made it! A traditional Cretan meal at the central square of Mochos is your reward!
Avdou – Kera – Gonies
This mountain route is 16 km long, and it is recommended for experienced cyclists. The stunning views and the verdant scenery will reward your efforts, especially as the route passes parallel to the gorge of Rosa. Take a break to visit the historic Monastery of Kera Kardiotissa to see the beautiful stone-built church with the 14th century frescoes. Descending to Avdou, just before reaching Gonies you may pass through the gorge of Embasa or Apotiposi where according to the legend the figure of Virgin Mary is depicted on a rock. The gorge has lush vegetation (oak trees, plane trees etc) and several waterfalls are formed during winter and spring. The last part of the trail is rocky and crumbling, so you might prefer to return to the country road that leads to Gonies.
Malia – Krasi –Mochos – Stalida
Starting from Malia, this route that climbs the foot of mount Selena is on asphalt road, therefore although it’s ascending, it’s not too challenging. The panoramic views of the coastline while cycling on the uphill winding road are extraordinary. Your first stop will be the picturesque village of Krasi, where you can admire the ancient plane trees and refresh yourself at the water fountains that flow clear and cool water all year round. The route continues to Mochos, a beautiful village with traditional cafes and taverns and then descends to Stalida.
Gouves – Voritsi – Charaso
The route is only 18 km long and it is of medium difficulty. The starting point is in the village of Gouves. Follow the country road to Koxari, and then continue towards Charaso. This scenic village is built amphitheatrically on a hill and offers unobstructed views to the Cretan Sea. You can visit the temple of Agios Eftathios with the old frescoes at the entrance of the village and then cycle your way to the south of Charaso to see the relics of the old stone-built windmills. After passing Voritsi, a stop at the monastery of Kera Eleousa, as well as at the cave of Skoteino, located 1km northwest of Skoteino village, is a must. Leave your bicycle outside the enormous opening of the cave, and enter its magnificent halls, where impressive clusters of stalagmites and stalactites compose an awe-inspiring spectacle.
Malia Minoan Palace – Malia coastline
An easy, almost flat route, ideal for beginner cyclists as well as for families with young children who want to explore the beauty of the area from another point of view.
Start from the archaeological site of Malia where you can see the remains of a Minoan palace and then cycle towards the Potamos beach. Right from the parking area at the west end of the beach, follow the dirt path that goes parallel to the coastline, until you reach the Agia Varvara beach. Continue in south / south-east direction, and let yourself explore the numerous country roads, in a serene landscape full of olive-trees. Your final destination should be Potamos beach, for swimming, sunbathing and relaxing!