86.87. Xiron Oros Walk and Cycle in Crete

87. Xiron Oros Walk and Cycle in Crete

Five kilometres of pathless mountain for experienced walkers. Route finding is not difficult and the views are excellent.

Xiron Oros is directly above the first telegraph pole in this picture, with the route also directly above with cliffs to either side.

This mountain walk starts from the little church of St George, on its rocky knoll, two kilometres west of Drimiskos.

Follow the track north from the whitewashed church and turn left where the track forks.

5 min. At the end of the track head north towards the mountain up a broad but shallow valley.

30 min. Keep to the west side of this valley on a goat path that climbs out onto the hillside above the cliffs to the west and about half-way up the valley. This path is not difficult. If you find cliffs ahead you are in the wrong place- go back.

40 min. Continue north up the rocky slope until you are above the valley you started to climb and then head north-east towards the highest ground above which is just short of the summit.

1 hr 30 min. The mountain has a rounded summit to the west and a flat summit to the east. Beyond to the west and north are steep cliffs. Head down from the flat summit on a bearing of 45 degrees for 100 metres.

1 hr 40 min. Follow the contours east over a region of smaller stones with limestone pavement above and more rocky outcrops below.

2 hours Head slightly down but across the northern slope of the mountain on a bearing of 120 degrees. You should see the hairpin bends of a track just beyond the col to the east.

2 hr 40 min. The col is particularly rich in flowers in spring.

Follow the stream down east of the col until it drops over the cliff.

3 hr 5 min. Leave the stream and head east over a small flat field for 20 metres. You should find a large blue arrow on a rock that marks the start of the cobbled track down through the cliffs to Drimiskos.

3 hr 15 min. Water pipes cross the path and water flows into a series of troughs beside the path as it hairpins down the side of the cliff.

3 hr 20 min. The path joins the track west of Drimiskos. Turn right to return to the church of Saint George.

If walking in the reverse direction this path heads up the west bank of the valley bottom for 20 metres before turning up and west through the cliff. You can see the retaining walls of the path on the slope above you.

3 hr 30 min. Leave the main track and turn right, uphill on a side track.

3 hr 40 min. Pass a new church and fork left.

3 hr 50 min. Return to the hairpin beside the little church of Saint George.

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