Maleas to Astros
The Most Beautiful Bike Route
APRIL 17TH, 2022 | PELOPONNESE | 16 MIN
In my private ranking of the most beautiful coastal cycling routes in Greece, the following route has taken the first place. Along the eastern "finger" of the Peloponnese which means the Maleas Peninsula, mostly on its eastern side. About 200 km in length and 4,100 meters of elevation. Of course, the competition is strong, especially the route around the Mani peninsula (also in the Peloponnese), which has extraordinary magic, but is definitely shorter and much less varied.
the magic of the
end of the continent
After three kilometers of such a path, I reach the place where I had previously left my bike. This is where the road begins, although it is still dirt route for the next three kilometers. From the Archaeological Park of Agios Nikolaos there is asphalt to the very end of the section described.
It seems to me that different “ends” of our continent have some unusual atmosphere. This is the case on the (almost) southernmost Cape Matapan (Tenaro), which I last visited more than a year ago (see my text Peloponnese by Bike), it is – judging from the photos – on the western tip, Cape Roca in Portugal (planned for next year) and probably the same in the north on Nordcap (I’m not going there – too cold).
wide, empty roads
Monemvasia - a town on a rock
The section from Cape Maleas to Monemvasia is only 50 km long, it is mountainous but not in absolute numbers, since the highest point on the route is only 250 m high. I took my time, it took me all day to cross this section. I spent the night among the ruins, because the evening and the morning are always the best way to tame any place.
land of gentleness
crazy downhill to Kyparissi
non-existent road to Fokiano
Relative normality returns in Fokiano - a village much smaller than Kyparissi and wonderfully situated on two bays. There is only one tavern here, but it is (apparently) only open on weekends. The houses are almost invisible because they are hidden among mostly wild olive groves.
Leonidio - oranges
and climbing walls
bends, bays and peninsulas
The road returns to the “coastal terraces” and, like between Kyparissi and Fokiano, it is cut in the steep slopes of the coastal mountains; similarly, it is also wide and even. In this section, however, it existence seems more justified. Car traffic is greater here (although still very comfortable for a cyclist), there are various settlements and side routes. The road winds with countless bends, descents and climbs, bays and peninsulas. Of course, you can see the sea on the right at all times, in countless shades of blue. For those who, like Christopher Columbus, believe that the sea brings new hope, a sight gives relief and peace. The more so because in this section neither the ascents nor descents are particularly steep or long, allowing you to enjoy the views. At kilometer 185, I say goodbye to the sea, the road turns left up the last 150-meter climb. The end is already flat, we reach the town of Astros, where I have set the conventional end of the 200-kilometer section of the “most beautiful bicycle route in Greece” described here. Of course, I went on, all the way to Nafplio, but the last 30-kilometer stretch in front of the former capital of Greece is not so attractive and beautiful anymore. Contrary to the city of Nafplio, which still makes a stunning impression on me, but that’s a topic for another text.
some practical remarks
Written at Boho City Hostel, Chania, Crete, during Catholic Easter time
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