25.8. Souda Bay to Rodakino Walk and Cycle in Crete

8. Souda Bay to Rodakino Walk and Cycle in Crete

Two kilometres of difficult path follow the shore round the headland followed by four kilometres of good tracks. This path includes some most unexpectedly wild and dramatic scenery with huge jumbles of boulders and ancient rock shelters. This route is not suitable for cyclists.

The path starts where a stream enters the sea at the far west end of Souda Bay. This can be reached by scrambling up a steep ledge in the limestone that slopes up from the mouth of the stream but an easier path is hidden by the vegetation just inland of this rocky outcrop, and zigzags up to the top. The path is quite distinct here as it contours round above the sea before climbing slightly to a fence with a wire gate.

20 min. Continue over the crest of the ridge and then cross the hillside above the sea keeping level with a group of palm trees. The path is clear for short distances and then fades out to reappear further on.

30 min. At the far end of this first bay the path splits. The upper branch zigzags very clearly up to a large rock shelter and then continues west climbing slightly to a second rock shelter. You cannot continue at this level as will become obvious when you round the next shoulder but must drop down to the lower path which has taken a more level course above the sea.

45 min. The path now crosses a shoulder on much flatter ground. It is important that you follow the marked path now. There are some small splashes of orange or green paint and small cairns on top of boulders to mark the route. The path through huge boulders is quite easy to follow as it must have been a cobbled track at some time in the past.

55 min. At one point it drops right down to the edge of the sea before moving inland between more high boulders and then climbing gently.

1 hr 10 min. This takes you up onto a broad shelf 100 metres wide of flat land falling sharply to the sea on one side and with a fine scree supporting scattered pine trees on the other.

1 hr 20 min. A clump of carob trees on the seaward edge of this flatter ground marks the entrance to another group of rock shelters with thick smoke and tar deposits on the roof and a soft deep bed of dung beneath. This one seems to be still in use as a goat milking parlour.

1 hr 30 min. A bulldozed track has recently reached this area, follow it westward until it meets another track. Below you is a small church and another building in ruins.

1 hr 40 min. Follow the track as it continues westward. The sea is far below and not accessible for some time until a side track drops down to a small, rather exposed harbour.

2 hours Continue westward until a concreted length of track drops steeply down to sea level beside a couple of tavernas.A road runs up to Rodakino from here. You can continue westward on this road, now surfaced in part, which follows the sea closely round a number of sandy bays until the next headland is reached one kilometre further on.

Return to the road inland, heading north to Rodakino.

2 hr 15 min. This climbs gently inland, passing the entrance to a spectacularly narrow gorge. This might be worth exploring but the quantities of rubbish and sewage produce an overpowering smell.

2 hr 30 min. Rodakino is split into two villages by this gorge which can be seen continuing above as it climbs into the mountains.

The village is alive with sheep, goats, hens and dogs and the vegetable patches are well cultivated. It has several small tavernas that serve the locals. Refreshments here are much cheaper than at Plakias.

The road enters Rodakino at the east end of the village.

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