It’s not the best line of poetry ever written, but ….. “Spring has sprung, the grass is ris …”,
and so, with apologies to Alfred Lord Tennyson  –  “ In the spring, this month’s ‘Explore’, lightly turns to thoughts of a walk from Mahia over to Sarakina.”

Mahia

 

Allow four hours for this walk from one valley to another, Vlithias to Sarakina, reaching a high pass at 588m and possibly a higher summit at 654m, with en route some of the best views in the area.  Catch the 12.00pm bus from Paleochora to Vlithias, 7km north, and take the road marked ‘Mahia 4’, passing through the village and descending gently above the Kakodikianos river and gorge (see ‘Explore’ – Searching for a Waterfall – August 2013.)  After the bridge, the road climbs to the settlement of Xeniana, then more easily to reach the (permanently closed it seems) cafenion at Mahia.  (By car, you could park here, and make the walk circular, see footnote.)

 

Almond tree in blossom

 

Just before the cafe, and opposite the track leading down to the beautiful old stone bridge, take the concrete path leading up and out of the village, soon becoming unsurfaced.  Ignore two left forks – roads less travelled – and always keep north until at a sharp bend, the track swings to the west, with the pass you’re heading for now high above.

Road not taken

 

Wild flowers line the way, notably varieties of lupin, daisy and cistus, and the scent of almond blossom is heady.  In around an hour, and two hours from leaving the ‘bus, pass through a gate to reach the watershed, and a view down to a different valley, that of the Chondriano, which reaches the sea at Karavopetra beach.

Wild lupins

 

Follow the track easily downhill, but for the adventurous and sure-footed, there’s a recommended diversion, although it’s on rough rocky ground with no path.

Pear blossom

 

Leave the track left, and, keeping close to a wire fence, walk along then scramble over rocks to the first of two summits ; the second, higher at 654m (2145 ft) is easier to reach, and gives the best views, especially down the lower Kakodikianos valley to Paleochora, far below.  To the west is the distinctive peak of Kastri, 819m, best climbed from Stavros (see ‘Explore’ – Sept  2015).

 

Summit, 654m

 

Continue down the ridge, then re-join the track at a prominent bend.  If you’ve omitted the summits, it’s worth making the 5-minute climb from here to the ridge, the view is spectacular.

Easy walking now, soon with Kefali hamlet below, and Sarakina beyond.

 

Kefali

 

Keep right below the second of two stock gates, the track wending into and out of a small valley, through another gate, then reaching little Kefali.  After another kilometre, passing the local olive press, join the “main” road, and turn left into Sarakina, and up the steps into the cafenion.

Sarakina cafe

 

With forethought, you’ll have arranged for a taxi from Paleochora (14 km away) to meet you here (book at Psarakis – 28230-41128 or Sergentanis – 28230-41368) but allow time to relax with a drink after what (in my opinion at least) is one of our finest local walks.

Footnote :
To make this walk circular, take the road north out of Sarakina, through Hondros, and after 4km fork right, then rise a further 2km into Grigoriana.  A track out of the village, always uphill, crosses the ridge at 628m, then winds down to meet the road just 500m from your car at Mahia.

This walk is covered by the revised Anavasi 1:30 000 map Crete 11.13, available locally, though incongruously Grigoriana is not marked on an otherwise accurate sheet.

Share This:

 Paleochora in My View – Christmas Competition 2016

Photo 1

It’s often said, and with good reason, that all visitors who come and discover what a special place Paleochora is, will inevitably return.  Some, and there are many, have been coming annually for decades.  A fortunate few have bought land and built a home in hills overlooking the town ; Lynne and I did just that, living happily for twelve years in her “paradise” until she left us in 2011, so badly missed.

Everyone has their favourite view of Paleochora ; for some, travelling over from Chania by car, taxi or ‘bus, it’s the avenue of eucalyptus trees as they enter the village, and think “I’m back.”

Photo 2

Others arrive by ferry, maybe from Loutro or Sougia, and watch excitedly from the deck as the “Samaria” approaches the Skala.

Photo 3

Photo 4

Everyone should climb to the Venetian “kastelo” for perhaps the best view over the town.

Photo 5

Many visitors come in spring and autumn to walk, maybe along the E4 path between Elafonisi and Sougia, or enjoy the numerous other local walks described in the “Explore” series, or in my two guides “Ten Walks” & “More Walks” from Paleohora.

Photo 6

Everyone has their favourite cafe for breakfast, morning coffee or lunch by the sea ….

Photo 7

…. and a special taverna or restaurant for a leisurely, and maybe romantic dinner under the stars.

Photo 8

Many are content to relax and do little except enjoy sea views to our “crocodile” at Cape Flomes,

Photo 9

Especially in winter, with a backdrop of the snow-covered White Mountains.

Photo 10

Not everyone will be up early enough to witness the sunrise from Chalikia or “stony” beach ….

Photo 11

….  but the magnificent sunsets from Pachia Ammos, our “sandy beach” are memorable.

Photo 12

For this year’s competition, all you have to do is choose which of the twelve photographs is “Paleochora in My View”, and then  – using no more than 140 characters  –  say why.

All entries will be judged, and a winner chosen, by Markella Perrakis, our town councillor with a special interest in tourism.   And of course the usual prize, of a Ten-Euro gift voucher to exchange at “To Delfini” bookshop.

Happy Christmas  – “Kala Xristougienna” – and much more to “Explore” in 2017

The competition has closed

 

Share This: