71. Exploring Oros
71. Exploring Oros Walk and Cycle in Crete
4 kilometres of track and path.
Starting from the road junction between Goulediana and Seli a road heads west, mostly level for one-and-a-half kilometres to Oros. At the east end of the village there are several water troughs below the road and an old path runs back east from here to the little church built into a small cave. A path from these water troughs also drops steeply down a narrow valley to the bridge on the main road.
At the eastern end there are some very imposing old buildings with carved stone crests on the doorways and vaulted storerooms.
There are also stone troughs and cisterns cut into the rock.
100 metres to the west of the village an old path drops down to the valley floor by a reservoir. You can head back east from there, following a sandy track beside the stream through olive groves with patches of mature oak to rejoin the tarmac road at the bridge.
To the west of the village another track leads up into a very rough landscape covered in small trees and shrubs. This can be followed for several kilometres but you should return by the same track.
72. A loop from Goulediana to Ornithos and its Greek temple
Four kilometres of track and path. Some of the paths are rough and not suitable for cyclists. The Greek temple sat high on the edge of a cliff looking out to the south. The landscape to the north of this is littered with ancient remains.
Head south in the valley bottom in Goulediana and follow the concrete track as it forks right. The doorway half obscured in the fork of the track is the entrance to a cistern.
5 min. Keep on the track as an old path heads uphill.
10 min. Take the left branch of the track which drops gently before climbing again. There are now rocky outcrops above the valley on both sides.
18 min. The track ends but a path continues south beside a stream under large bay trees. There are several tufa dams on the stream.
22 min. Make your way up through the old terracing and olive trees, keeping close to the stream until the walls of an old mill block the way.
25 min. From here a path climbs west. If you look back you will see a tiny church in the cliff behind you.
35 min. The path comes out at the top of the slope onto a track on the edge of a patch of oak woodland. Turn left and continue south.
40 min. Pass several small vineyards which are used to produce excellent wine.
45 min. The track turns east round the head of the valley to a T junction. Turn right and continue south from the T junction until the track reaches the crest of the ridge with open views to the south.
55 min. Make your way east just behind the cliff edge over ancient walled fields to the highest point on the cliff.
1 hr 15 min. At the highest point where the cliff juts south massive blocks of square dressed stone form the base of a Greek temple platform.
Make your way north over the limestone pavement to the ruins of the village of Ornithos. Head for the T junction you passed earlier to rejoin the track.
1 hr 35 min. There are water filled cisterns cut into the limestone and one of many threshing floors is carved out of solid limestone. Ornithos must have been a large and prosperous village in the ancient past. At one point several limestone troughs sit in a field below the track.
1 hr 45 min. Continue north on a track that enters the east side of the valley.
1 hr 55 min. Just above the red roofed church an old path enters a group of ruins. One doorway has elaborate interlocking dressed stone facings with the characters EXM carved on them.
Continue north down the track back to Goulediana.
2 hr 5 min. Re-enter the village behind the red roofed church to the east of the village centre.