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near Igoumenítsa, Epirus (Greece)
Bike trip from Igoumenitsa to Patra by west coast of Greece.
The major difficulty at this time of the year (July) is temperature and possible wind. With over 35C in shadow (above 50C in the sun), You need to take care of water supplies at every occasion. Fortunately for us, the wind was west, north-west and not very strong, but in other conditions, it could make the trip twice as hard.
ferry from Patra to Igoumenitsa departuring from new south port of Patra at 22:30, arriving in Igoumenitsa the next day, Friday, at 7:00.
08:00 - 10:00 Stage1: Igoumenitsa to Syvota. Start with fairly small climb (upto 120m), then downhill to Plataria. Later, a bigger ascent to about 200m and down to Syvota.
10:00 - 12:00 Stage2: Syvota to Parga. Probably the most difficult part of the whole route with many minor ascents (upto 100m) and one big upto 350m to Perdika. After that only downhill to Parga's castle and water front.
12:00 - 17:00 Stage3: Parga to Kanali (camping). This part goes through the national road for most of the distance, with traffic and some bigger climbs. We have tried to avoid the national road as much as possible by going through minor roads just by the sea. Noght at "Monolithi" camping in Kanali - very clean with access to its own beach.
10:00 - 12:00 Stage1: Kanali to Preveza + visiting the city. Totally flat section to Preveza and some lazy riding around the city's water front and the center.
12:00 - 14:00 Stage2: Preveza to Vonitsa. Also flat section with only one very minor climb 5km before Vonitsa. The difficulty is crossing the tunnel where bicycles are forbidden! We got lucky and tunnel's stuff took us through the tunnel with pickup truck, free of charge.
14:00 - 16:00 Stage3: Vonitsa to Mytikas. One of the best views on the route, with Ionian islands: Lefkada, Cephalonia, Meganissi, Ithaki. First part completely flat, second half with some minor ups and downs.
16:00 - 18:00 Stage4: Mytikas to Astakos. The route starts similar to previous stage, only with some minor up and downs, still with nice views to Ionian sea. The last part is a huge ascent, a killer before the end of the day! Camping on the beach, next to monastery just before Astakos (1.5km).
08:00 - 12:00 Stage1: Astakos to Messolongi. The day started with fairly demanding climb upto 200m. Later flat and easy until Messolongi, through Aitoliko village.
12:00 - 14:30 Stage2: Messolongi to Antirio. Probably the worst and the most dangerous part of the whole route! No way to avoid national road with huge traffic, lots of big trucks and very bad road surface. Two bigger climbs around the mountain of Paliovouna make it even more exhausting! But as the finish is close, the ride goes smooth.
14:30 - 15:30 Stage3: ferry to Rio and back to Ag Vassilios. It is much better to take the ferry rather than ride by the bridge, as on the Rio side You need to carry the bike through the stairs (it weighted 30kg so not a nice thing to do), so we did take the ferry. The last 4km from docks to Ag Vassilios are like heaven :-P