23. A loop around Frati Walk and Cycle in Crete
Map of routes 23 - 26
Five kilometres of side road and track. Frati is a small village on a ridge between two gorges. This route has several excellent viewpoints. Cyclists should continue east at the 45 minute point and then take the next track west.
This is a circular route starting at the top of the Kourtaliotis gorge.
The bus from Plakias will stop at the bridge over the river if you ask for Frati. Cross the bridge and head up the side road to Frati.
15 min. This is a very small village perched on a col with magnificent views to east and west. Continue through the village taking the right fork at the centre of the village until the track ends. Here you have an eagle's eye view of another great gorge. There are two well-preserved circular threshing floors to the west of the track.
30 min. Return to the village centre and this time take the left fork signposted to Spili. There is another threshing floor on your left. Continue on the road as it runs north with open views to the east and a hillside on your left.
45 min. When the road goes over the crest of this ridge take a level track on your left, heading west. From here you have good views of the valley running east west from Koxare to Spili with the main Rethimnon - Spili road on its northern side.
50 min. Follow the track west past a couple of small vineyards and then drop straight down the hillside to where two small churches sit close together. There is a T junction of tracks here.
1 hour Take the track that continues north and downhill from the churches, passing some ruined walls. This then turns left and levels out, twisting and turning before dropping down to the valley floor.
1 hr 10 min. Turn left at a T junction on the valley floor which brings you to a ford across the river and an incline back to the main road.
1 hr 20 min. The river is dirty but shallow for most of the year. In flood it is a raging torrent. I didn't feel like paddling across the stream here and found rocks a couple of hundred yards downstream where I could jump. You cannot make your way down the bank of the stream, keep higher up on the hillside above. If you continue traversing the hillside you will come back to the bridge on the road to Frati but there are no paths for most of that distance.
1 hr 30 min. Turn right on the main road for the two kilometre to Koxare or left to return to your starting point in one kilometre.