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near Pentarianá, Crete (Greece)
A beautiful hike with spectacular views
I started the hike after a night on the omalos plateau. The owner of Hotel Gigilos gave me a ride in his pick-up truck to the beginning of the road up the mountain. It's approximately 4 km from the village of Omalos and I was lucky to avoid this rather dull part on asphalt street at the beginning.
At first you follow an asphalt road uphill, pass the electricity thing to your right and have beautiful views over the valley.
At the end of the road lies the momentarily closed mountain hut "Greleska". Leave the street approximately 2 km before Greleska on a little path marked with red dots to the left of the street in southern direction and continue on the path through a beautiful landscape with trees, rocks and skulls of dead sheep. Enjoy the spectacular views over the valley and towards the mountain village of Kostougerako.
On my GPS track I explored the hills around those ruined mitatos (shepherd huts). They are all ruined and there's not much to see, even though it was quite adventurous to search for them and finally find them destroyed.
Here the Achlada Valley coming from western direction south of the summits of Strifomadhi and Psilafi joins the path which I continued further south. If you keep following the dried out riverbed, the path narrows into a gorge. I went into the gorge to explore it a little but after 5 minutes I reached a descend of approximately 10 m. One could have climbed down, but I wasn't sure to make it back up so I skipped further exploring plans and continued on the normal path a little uphill towards the little church of Agia Ekaterini. Legend has it that the church was constructed after WW2 when some Cretan Partisans swore to themselves to build a church if they survive a heaten up confrontation with german soldiers in the Achlada valley.
The church was open and features some beautiful frescos.
Onwards the path continues on a dirt road, there are shortcuts for some of the serpentines first in southern direction, then west towards Kostougerako. If you follow my GPS track you reach a source with absolutely clean drinking water. From there it's less than ten minutes into Kostogerakou.
Have a cold drink at the Kafenion (opened in March 2017).
Then I followed the path that is signposted from Kostougerakos main square towards the village of Livadas.
From here keep following the road, at times asphalt, then dirt. Close to Sougia there are some Kri-Kri in captivity. The seem to be breeded there. After a few more serpentines you reach Sougia.