66.53. Ancient Fortress Walk and Cycle in Crete

53. Ancient Fortress Walk and Cycle in Crete

Seven kilometres of track and path. The short path section would be difficult but not impossible for cyclists.

This un-named fortress is unknown to most visitors to the area. The castle is protected on its north side by a wall with the remains of four towers.

These may be of Venetian origin. Its other sides are protected by the drop into the gorge below. Traces of walls inside are mostly buried in terracing but two large buildings remain in the middle of the fortified area. These walls show a Roman concrete and brick type construction but there are no other clues to their age. The terracing is littered with fragments of brick, tile and potsherds.

Leave Kastelos on the tarmac road heading to Ano Valsamonero.

15 min. One kilometre west of Kastelos the road turns north. Follow the track that continues west up the south side of a small hill.

30 min. The track climbs gently, turning south, to a concrete water tank on top of a hill.

There is a concrete survey point on another hill top, 200 metres to the south, with views in all directions. The fortress remains hidden.

35 min. The track, now surfaced with rough old concrete, drops south.

38 min. Take a right fork to head south. The track then curves to the west and drops gently down to enter the village of

46 min. Monopari beside house no. 8.

48 min. Pass a little church and turn south. 50 metres south of the church on the first hairpin bend, head east on a track.

50 min. The track turns south past a water cistern, through small fields and mixed woodland.

55 min. Follow it as it curves south-west into a shallow valley with a concrete block building ahead. Don't go as far as this building but head up east on the south side of a little valley through small olive trees.

60 min. The track turns to climb south-east above these olives and then changes to a path over the crest of a ridge.

1 hr 5 min. The path rises and falls gently with high wire fences to the side. A tunnel has been made under the path here for goats!

1 hr 8 min. The castle walls are now visible ahead on the far side of a rocky valley.

1 hr 10 min. The path drops slightly past a water tank. Follow the path east from here to the col at the head of the valley in front of the castle walls. The path was obstructed by a pile of spiny branches to stop the goats from straying.

1 hr 20 min. The path runs from the col up south and then west to climb steeply to the base of the largest tower

and then into the castle.

1 hr 30min. Continue from the col in front of the castle walls north-east up a path. This changes into a track again.

1 hr 45 min. Pass by a concrete block sheep shed and head east, dropping gently until you reach a track running from south to north.

1 hr 55 min. Head north and then follow the track as it turns sharply right and heads east to a church.

2 hr 10 min. A grove of trees to the south of the church hides numerous old walls. Follow the track north.

2 hr 40 min. The track climbs back for the main road just west of Kastelos.

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