14. The aqueducts
14. The aqueducts Walk and Cycle in Crete
Nine to fifteen kilometres of level track with many good view points. Water flows into the aqueducts from springs between Assomatos and the Kourtaliotis Gorge. From there the main channel carries the water south-west to a tunnel under the main road. One branch heads west until it ends below Mirthios. Another branch carries the water to Lefkogia and the coast to the south. A third branch carries the water past Gianiou to Old Preveli.
This route is excellent for both walking and cycling.
Take the direct route from Plakias to Mirthios until you come to the concrete channel of the aqueduct and the level track beside it.
At this point it is about one metre wide and deep. You can turn left to walk to the very end of this branch but then return to head east.
The track follows closely beside the concrete channel and takes you round the side of a steep hill of sandstone and pebbles covered with red tree lupins in late spring.
15 min. When you reach the road head uphill on the road until you see the aqueduct continue north-east on the other side. Follow its winding route north-east and then east.
45 min. Two small churches mark the track up to the village of Mariou. Lizards often bask on the concrete of the channel walls.
2 hours The water flows out of a 100 metre long tunnel under a hill. If you continue over the hill you can trace the aqueduct back for another two kilometres to its source close to the Kourtaliotis gorge or follow the southern branch for four kilometres until it passes the old Preveli Monastery.
Returning to where the water flows out of the tunnel under the hill, follow the track south with another branch of the aqueduct beside you.
The water is now running in the same direction as you towards Lefkogia.
2 hr 20 min. Follow the aqueduct as it passes under the main road just east of this village and sweeps round to the south of Lefkogia, passing the new church with a section of aqueduct raised well above the track.
2 hr 40 min. Timeos Stavros is steeply above you here. If you continue to the end of the aqueduct you can drop down
3 hours to the beach at Skineria and then follow the coast path back to Plakias. See routes 11 and 14.