From Kolimbari to Afrata is a challenging 4 Kilometers of some really superb scenery varying from the 20 feet or so above the edge of the sea for the first km or so, to the magnificent winding climb up to about 600ft before you reach the first plateau and head inland to Afrata. Gateway to Rodopos. But plan it right, the peninsula is a Cretan mountain, more often than not very hot, which becomes more isolated the further one ventures. Roads and tracks become more difficult and hostelries more distant!

How to go.......
Mountain bikers and expert walkers, properly organised, can probably do Kolimbari - Agia Ioannis or the site of Diktina in a day. The fit but less expert would be better riding up to Afrata or Rodopos village by car or taxi and starting from there. The casual walker would be better advised that Afrata is your demanding limit. Sunstroke and exhaustion are good ways to hospital, not Rodopos.

By car - the roads beyond both mentioned villages are best by four-wheel drive vehicles and go-anywhere Fiat Pandas! For the rest of us - make sure you have insured the wheels and underside or drive very, very, carefully. En-route.... Start early. Have a look around the Monastery/Ecclesiastical Academy - walkers used to have the option here of leaving the road and following the start of walk X in Landscapes in Western Crete towards the villages of Astratigos for Rodopos. Be warned - the gate at the Monastery is closed because the gate at the end of the first stage is wired closed.

Either start from the track at Kolimbari or continue up the mountain road. Following the latter enables a diversion to the WWII Freedom monument - excellent views over the sea and a good place to photograph Kolimbari.