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Leonidio Cycling Project

A new, superb cycling spotthat will blow your mind!
A fascinating, unexplored cycling destination in the Peloponnese. Elevation in abundance, stunning roads both in mountains and coast, excellent food options and rich cultural elements. Cycling vacations at its best!

Riding Style: Passion

Landscape: Mountain, Sea, Forest, Plain

Ιtinerary Gallery

Why cycling in Leonidio

What makes Leonidio special and why we, being cyclists, we recommend this particular region of the Peloponnese to the rest of the cycling community?

  • authenticity, away from mass tourism
  • routes in abundance
  • landscapes
  • quiet roads & no traffic
  • mild temperatures
  • good food with many & great options
  • rich cultural elements

Our cycling days in Leonidio

During our cycling trips in the Peloponnese, we had the chance to visit the greater region of Leonidio quite frequently. Our visits however, were brief, mainly a part of the multistages cycling trip (C2C in the Peloponnese), which only allowed us limited time to explore in detail this part of the Peloponnese.

Therefore, we took the initiative to allocate one month to try to find everything about this hidden cycling treasure. We stayed in Leonidio for almost a month (mid Nov – mid Dec 2018), something that made us discover every layer of cycling and culture in the area around it.

We have seen and experienced many remarkable things. We are excited to share all of them with you.

Find information from Athens Airport to LeonidioFrom Athens Int Airport 3 to 3.5 hours  directions

Leonidio is 225km away from Athens Int Airport . Half of the route is on a motorway, with the speed limit set at 120km/h making covering that part in something more than one hour. However, after taking the exit towards Nafplio the road becomes narrower, with the average speed dropping to less than 60km/h with the scenery becoming exceptional. We strongly suggest to travel to Leonidio during daytime to enjoy your driving time.

Authenticity

It is wonderful to discover that hidden cycling gems!

Perfect Cycling in the best unexplored region on the Peloponnese.

As you will read below, Leonidio was only recently connected to the road network with the rest of the Peloponnese. How GREAT that is! People who live in Leonidio, enjoy their quality of life, with the agricultural and cattle farming being their main activities.

They weren’t impressed with the short term benefits mass tourism brings, therefore in Leonidio there are no large hotel facilities, or bars aiming for the quick profit. The whole place has maintained its authenticity and its welcoming character, away from the mass tourism standards. It is exactly this particular element that made us adopt a charmfull point of view when we approached that place.

Cycling Routes in abundance

That’s the key point in every cycling vacation. The accessibility to nice roads, combined with the number of scenic routes found in close proximity to the accommodation facility, play the most important role when we ask ourselves about whether a place can be developed as a cycling destination. In the case of Leonidio we have the following findings

  • 5 to 6 great and long rides: We have to admit that we were taken by surprise when we realised those 5 – 6 rides were absolutely beautiful, which filled us with emotions and amazement. The most impressive part is that the overlapping parts among the routes we suggest are not long and in the majority of the cases, they are being cycled from the opposite direction, giving a different angle of the same landscape. We found the latter quite fascinating.
  • One Week Cycling holidays, or even more: For cyclists looking to have a week of cycling, Leonidio couldn’t be more ideal.
  • Circle Routes: All of the recommended routes start and finish from Leonidio. That means that with no use of a vehicle, cyclists can enjoy the convenience of clipping in on the bike directly from their hotel and returning to it once the ride is over. Note: using a vehicle can significantly increase the options or limit the total elevation for some rides.

Landscape

The scenery and the views the greater region of Leonidio offers, got us by surprise. We couldn’t believe that those beautiful roads could be so breathtaking and welcoming. Mountain passes, plateaus and some of the most beautiful coastal roads we have ever cycled in our lives. A constantly changing scenery is quite typical while cycling on the Peloponnese and Leonio region is not an exception to this wonderful rule. But in this case, the views we experienced and the thrill we felt, had no comparison with any of our trips before. We let our pictures to show you how great our riding was.

Road Conditions & Traffic

The average tarmac condition is excellent. The majority of the road network is on brand new tarmac, and according to official sources (Municipality of Leonidio), it is planned that in a few years time the network will be totally upgraded. In a few parts, where the altitude is higher, riders should stay vigilant as the frequent changes in the weather conditions, especially during the winter time (ice), might result degraded tarmac segments.

Related to the traffic, we experienced conditions of low to almost no traffic. The majority of the road network is built to connect villages, which have only a couple of dozens residents each. That perfectly explains the minimum traffic load we encountered. The traffic conditions might be a bit more dense during the summer months, but still, it is limited mainly to the coastal road between Leonidio and Paralio Astros / Nafplio

Mild Temperatures

Climate conditions are extremely satisfying, ensuring a nice time on the saddle regardless of the period of the year.
During the summer months, we recommend starting the rides with the first light. Leonidio is located at the eastern part of the Peloponnese, which is immediately exposed to the first, gentle sun rays. However, the high altitude always offers a great cooling breeze coming from the mt Parnonas.

Spring & Autumn: From beginning of March to mid of June and from mid September to late December, the weather is very stable with the temperature (while cycling) to range from 16C – 25C. The cycling activity can take place throughout the whole daylight’s duration.

Approaching the winter time, the temperature ranges from 8C – 15C (while cycling during the daylight)  and gets quite chilly during the mountainous passes (down to 2C – 10c).

Great food and many options

Even though Leonidio is a small town, it is quite modern and visitors can profoundly find any type of food. From fresh fish to stunning meat plates, and great traditional salads. All options can leave everyone satisfied. Vegan and vegetarian meals can also be offered by local restaurants, without such option being extensively developed.

Something that all visitors immediately feel when tasting the food in Leonidio, is the quality of the ingredients. And how this cannot be true, when the vegetables and the meat are all locally produced by small, family farms in a traditional way and the fish are fished out every day by the local fishermen.

The Tsakonian Eggplant or Melitzana: Did you know that in Leonidio’s farmzone, there is a unique variety of Eggplant. It tastes significantly sweeter and it has a better, more filling taste. Imagine that the Tsakonian Eggplant can be eaten raw, without this meaning any kind of compromise. It is quite tasteful!

Rich cultural elements

Leodio is part of a greater region called Tsakonia. Evidence on the first cultural elements are found during the early medieval times with counteles stories about remote villages and their unique lifestyle to amazes us till this day. Tsakones, habitants of the greater Tsakonian region, were isolated from the other part of Greece. The only way someone could get to Leonidio was by ferry, something that changed just in the 1950s (!), where road connect the town to the rest of the Peloponnese.

Tsakonian Dialect: The area’s isolation resulted the habitants to develop a special dialect that resembles nothing of modern Greek. Linguistics studies show that they are more related to ancient Greek and currently there is a meticulously and systematic effort from the Leonidio’s Municipality for this tradition to be preserved. Nowadays, it is an established norm that kids coming from this region, learn how to speak the dialect and appreciate this special cultural heritage.

Routes overview

6 options ideal for a week of cycling

                Distance    Elevation
Purple      116 km        2100m
Green       111 km        1800m
Yellow     104 km        2100m
Pink           88 km        1800m
Orange     60 km        1490m
Cyan          52 km          600m

“… Leonidio is not flat …”

Cyclists profile

What you need to know in order to enjoy your cycling days in Leonidio

To describe it in a direct and straightforward way, Leonidio region is NOT flat 🙂 Cycling out of the valley, where the town of Leonidio is located, would require from the riders to put at least of a 30 – 40 mins effort to climb a 500m uphill road. The elevation found here is in abundance and cyclists should have the needed fitness level to enjoy those wonderful sceneries.

The landscape will demand an extremely good fitness level and experience in using road bikes. Due to the altitude difference the weather conditions are subjected to great differences, and the cyclists should be capable of dealing with them.

Routes & Information

Municipality of Leonidio

We thank all of the staff that helped us to discover all the history, the culture and make us feel welcomed. On a personal level they are all people of excellent quality, who love their town and they are focusing in  contact growth, while staying true their values.

Specialized logo

Specialized Bikes

Yes! We liked their machines! They have proven to be reliable, pleasure to ride and beautiful. Also their local distributor in Greece, Kassimatis Cycling, has been the most helpful person and highly contributed in making all logistics smooth for us to map the region. Special regards to Nikos 🙂

Favero Electronics LogoFavero Electronics – Assioma Duo Power Meters

We thank Favero Electronics for those great products. We were fascinated with their durability of the Assioma Duo Power Meters. Their precision and reliability were amazing. We found the pedals built to be of an excellent quality. They worked seamlessly during our time there. We have no hesitation to admit that we abused the equipment, by exposing that to excessive heat, rain and cold, sometimes all these combined in the same day, and we faced no issues at all. It is an excellent product, which resulted in both in benefiting our training sessions in Leonidio and us have a great time.

Hire your bike from 150€ / week

Our Bike Hire options begin from 150 euros / week with a carbon frame equipped with Ultegra groupset to be our bare minimum. Visit our rental options page and take advantage of the free delivery service to Leonidio

Bike Rentals Webpage

 

 

GrCycling Van Airport Shuttle ServiceAirport Shuttle

Our aim is to solve all of the logistics issues so that you will enjoy your cycling vacations. Our shuttles buses depart directly from the airport and take you to the town of Leonidio.

Note: Only if combined with a bike rental

One way Airport Shuttle:  25 euro / person (min 6 per)
Two ways Airport Shuttle: 50 euro / person (min 6 per)

If your are bringing your own bike (we transfer your bike boxes as well)

One way Airport Shuttle:  40 euro / person (min 6 per)
Two ways Airport Shuttle: 70 euro / person (min 6 per)

Contact us at leonidio@grcycling.com to seek more information on how to get to Leonidio

 

10 % off  for all cycling guests

from any online booking platform (booking.com, AirBnB or other)

The offer is valid only
– for the lodgings listed below
– if combined with a bike rental
– if the booking is made by our agency

Accommodation Overview: In Leonidio there are a lot of options you can choose from for your accommodation arrangements. All of them ensure an excellent level of service with great hospitality. We have visited many of the lodgings in the greater area of Leonidio to inspect and check to what extent the cycling culture is welcomed (e.g. a safe place to store the bikes). Overall, we were extremely satisfied since many of the business owners were open to adopt new practices to embrace the special needs the cycling guests require. Below you may find our recommendations, which will make your stay comfortable and worry free for you, your bike and your family.

Archontico Hatzipanayoti
Type: Luxurious Guesthouse
Web: www.hatzipanayiotis.gr
Email: hotel@hatzipanayiotis.gr
Phone: +30 2757022476 – 2757029037
A traditional stone house, built on 1809, has been completely renovated and transformed into a modern, luxurious guesthouse. The pale colors of wood and stone combined with the old, stylish, furniture, create an idyllic and respectful atmosphere.

During our cycling vacations in Leonidio Peloponnese

Agroktima
Type: Quality Guesthouse – Farming Estate
Web: https://www.agroktima.com
Email: info@agroktima.com
Phone: +30 6972774878, +30 6979400140
A small number of stone built residences are located in the a farming estate, with orange and olive trees. The breakfast, comprised locally made marmalades and  bread, is delivered everyday in a basket, at your door, which make maintaining your privacy an easy case. Guests selecting to stay will definitely enjoy the tranquility and the quality of the surroundings.

Anna’s House
Type: Affordable Home
Web: https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/27617684
Phone: +30 6936833735
A spacious house, which can host up to 8 persons. It is fully equipped with everything you and your group require to prepare your own meals. The garden, full with orange and lemon trees, is the right place to your evening barbeque events (equipment is included)

Accommodation during our cycling days in Leonidio PeloponneseKamaria Hotel
Type: Affordable Hotel – Great Location
Webhttps://www.kamaria-apartments.gr/en/
Phone: +30 2757022757, +30 6937301891
Located in the farmzone, only a few meters from the beach, Kamaria Hotel offers a great escape and isolation. Their rooms are very basic and some of them are very spacious, capable to sleep 4 or more people. Guests staying here, will not only appreciate the sound of the sea waves, but also the strong taste of Greek hospitality. George, the owner of the hotel, his cordial friend Giannis along and their families, often spend their evenings by gathering together to walk on the beach, cook, and, undeliberately, drink some home made “tsipouro”. They share stories and great laughter, while all guests are welcomed to participate.

Off the bike?
What else to do in Leonidio

Apart from the great cycling, Leonidi offers a few great experiences you can enjoy during your off-the-saddle time or on your rest days. Below you may find the things that we loved in Leonidio.

Pyrgos Trikalioti (1808): Mr. Tsikaliotis managed to set up a successful business in Trieste, but he didn’t forget his origins. When he returned back to Leonidio, while being part of a secret society, which helped the Greek revolution against the Ottoman Empire, he had reasons to believe that his life was at stake, or that there were people who were planning to steal from his great fortune. That made him build a phenomenally traditional house, however, it was severely fortified with a number of intelligent tweaks that could keep looters of that time away.
Mrs. Eygenia, the guide of the building, will make sure to provide you with all the information you will need to appreciate the stories behind that special fortified design. There is no cost for this tour and you can book it simply by contacting your hotel’s reception.

Farmer Women’s Association: Someone can easily spot their kiosk with some for the tastiest traditional and most premium homemade products, by the banks of the river at the main bridge (map). Everything here is made by true passion and loyalty to the traditional ways of cooking and preparing those delicacies. The initiative was taken up by 60 women 20 years ago. Since then, the total number of the Association’s members has significantly decreased to 7, which puts a tremendous pressure on the projects prospects. During our time in Leonidio, we had the chance to try pretty much everything those women make. There are also some seriously good cycling snacks there. 🙂 Always feels nice while supporting them.

Weaving: Did you know that there is special weaving technique, which is the same for the last 300 – 400 years? In those times, when shopping malls and cheap fashion still were concepts that seemed impossible, women used to hold bags for moving around their village with their vegetables, their bread or any other kind of personal belongings when attending a social occasion. It was part of the tradition that each woman should weave her own bag. Therefore, and following this special technique, those bags where not only extremely durable, but they were following a colorful pattern, making each bag look differently. Being practical doesn’t mean sacrificing being unique and colorful 🙂 A young lady’s engagement would signal the beginning of an enormous weaving project. She, with the help of other, frequently older women, had to prepare a whole carpet. The longer the carpet and the more complex the drawing pattern was, the more the lady was appreciated by the villagers and the more the blessings were for the couple’s prosperity. Those artworks could reach being more that 5m long (50kg). Today, even by looking at them, it is hard to believe how they managed to make them without any mistakes. Ask your hotel to tell when a local volunteer can show you around those masterpieces.

Monastery of St Nicholas Sintzas (map): An easy, uphill hiking path (also accessible by car) on the southern part of Leonidio, will take you out of the town, to a fabulous olive tree farm. Later on, the path gets a bit steeper, with the first panoramic, wonderful views of Leonidio getting all the attention. The end of the road is where the monastery is located. There is only one female monk, who is taking care of the whole monastery, therefore do not forget to bring her some food or provisions on your way there. She is very kind and her honest, welcoming smile made our hearts warm and loving. Note: She is at the monastery from Greek Easter until the end of October.

Greek Coffee Roasting: While walking in the main road of Leonidio, jump in the mini market of Mr. Ilias, called Cava and found on the main steep (map), and ask him when he plans to roast coffee beans and prepare the famous Greek coffee. The roasting process must be slow and gradual so that the coffee beans realise their unique scent in the air around the mt. Ilias grocery store.

 

 

 

Handmade Cookies: The famous pizzaria of Leonidio (In Leonidio) occasionally hosts mrs. Maria who, using the traditional oven heated by pieces of wood, makes some extremely delicious cookies. The way she prepares the dough is gentle and soft. She takes care that the baking is not too much, so that the cookies are burned, or too short which makes the cookies soft. That might sound like an easy task, however, doing so in a wood oven has some serious challenges. With her smile and years of experience, she makes sure all cookies are perfect every time.

 

 

Olive Oil Production: Just 15 minutes on foot, heading from the centre of Leonidio to the beach side, you can visit a small, but quite modern, olive oil production facility. If it happens you to be there from November to January, paying a visit to the facility is something you shouldn’t miss. You will witness families coming for from the villages close by, to patiently wait for the moment to taste the oil olive oil produced by their own olives. They usually bring a few tomatoes, fresh bread, homemade cheese and “tsipouro” (oh yes! you are going to love that) to celebrate the year’s production. Everyone is welcome, as long as all drink the tsipouro! You may also purchase bottles of fresh olive oil. Ask the owner.

The farming zone: Leonidio has a very particular morphology. Even though it is located very close to the sea, the soil is extremely fertile, resulting in an a extremely active agricultural production. Here, the Tsakonian Eggplant, a unique variety of Eggplant, tastes significantly sweeter and it has a better, more filling taste. Due to mild temperatures all year long, there is significant production of tomatoes and lettuce. Hiking through the farm zones of Leonidio, you cannot miss the endless fields of orange and lemon trees. Shall you spot any farmers, do not hesitate to greet them and ask questions on their farming ways. You may also purchase some on their products at very attractive prices, while being ULTIMATELY fresh!

 

Beach Time: There are 4 spectacular beaches in close proximity to Leonidio. You may click on the url below to see where they are located

Tigani, Thiopafto, Plaka, Fokianos

Lunch Meals in Leonidio – Please read

The majority of the restaurants do not offer lunch. We understand that this can be frustrating, however, we like it that way. The business owners, normally actively engaged in serving or cooking the food, they do appreciate their time with their families, resulting them to start all the preparations for the day, during late afternoon hours. There are a few businesses that offer lunch options and you can find all about them below.

Leonidio Metropolis Food OptionMitropolimap
Tel: +30 2757 029115
Overview: Traditional food made out of the best ingredients. Everything is handmade and this is the place where the locals go to taste some authentic recipes. The owner, known as Dimitris, is the guy that serves the food and he is there to welcome everyone. If the place is busy he might not be as talkative, but this doesn’t mean that you are going to be neglected. Try the green pie, the veal in red sauce and the salads.

Leonidio Food MouriaMouriamap
Tel: +30 2757 023292
Overview: One of the oldest tavernas in the area. The owner and cook, is in the business for the last 25 or so years. He doesn’t trust anyone else with the cooking and he i am very particular about the ingredients he uses in his recipes. Try the “Papoutsakia” a traditional plate with eggplant and meat. Yummy!

 

En Leonidio Pizza n Pastamap
Tel: +30 2757 022068
Overview: Did that place just come out of a fairytale or what? The restaurant’s old wooden shelves are embellished with items used by the locals at least three generations ago. It resembles a warm and welcoming museum, but that wouldn’t be enough to claim a place in our article 🙂 The food here is simply amazing. The pizzas Kostas prepares are placed on a traditional ceramic owen, heated up with wooden. It is not a simply thing to make a pizza perfect but Kostas succeeds every time. Try also the pasta; huge portions, great taste and quality – do not afraid to order yours al dente.

Leonidio Mytroon Food OptionsMyrtoonmap
Tel: +30 2757 051339
Overview: Probably the best dining option in the region. Even though it is located a bit far away from the centre of Leonidio it worths you getting there and enjoy the sea view. We have personally interviewed the owner, mrs Manesis, and we found his standards very high. Those are completely in line with the exceptional food served here and with the reputation the business has among the locals. Do not miss trying the Greek Pasta with fish (Kritharoto). Lunch is also served here.

Leonidio PrytaneioPrynateiomap
Tel: +30 2757 023150
Overview: Traditional flavours with modern touches and great atmosphere. We liked the salads and the great variety in appetizers. We strongly recommend to fill your table with small plates and share all the tastes. You will be greatly rewarded 🙂

 

 

Leonidio AigliTraditional Cafe Aiglimap
Tel: no phone, but who needs that
Overview: This is a lovely cafe in the centre of Leonidio. Here, you can get a very good idea on how the locals socialise, by drinking their coffee or tsipouro while sharing the news. It is a great option to have a light meal, try their Ntakos Salad, and relax. We normally visit this place right after the ride, to enjoy a few small dishes and drink a beer… or two.

Tsitalia – Fokianios Beach – Kiparissi – Pistamata – Poulithra
116km – 2200m

Leaving Leonidio and moving towards the beachside, the rider looks for a sing to Tsitalia. This one is written in Greek and the letters should look like “ΤΣΙΤΑΛΙΑ”. After a few meters the climb to Tsitalia begins and the rider should expect a 10km long effort, which will make him gain 620m. The climb’s scenery is stunning, with the road to be full of lovely switchbacks. The rugged views with the valley of Leonidio visible in the distant background, creates a unique atmosphere. Tsitalia is a very small village, with the number of its residents not to exceed the 60 persons, therefore expect that there is no rest point.

After the reaching the climb’s highest point, the rider cycles on a wonderful plateau until a road split, where he should go left. At some point, the road gets very narrow and goes by a couple of small villages. We remember that despite the fact of them being profoundly isolated, almost all gardens in house’s porches were very well maintained, with colorful flowers and plants of all kinds, being a perfect embellishment. Such a picturesque scenery that was, created within its own simplicity.
Right after cycling through those small villages, a marvelous descent gets the rider to the other side of the mountain, which faces East, towards the horizon of the Aegean sea. As the altitude decreases, the spectacular view of Fokianos beach with its turquoise waters captivates. Arriving at the beach, signals the end of the descent. It is quite funny to realise that despite the number of times we have covered that particular part, we cannot recall an instance where someone skipped having a coffee break at the cafe found there. We recommend all riders to do the same. A short swim might also be a tempting idea. We leave that to you.

Leaving Fokiano Beach and heading towards Kipparissi, requires the rider to cycle along the coastal road, on tarmac of excellent quality with absolutely no traffic. According to the feedback we get, this part is probably one of the best routes in Greece and, for many cyclists, the best in their life. We cannot find any solid arguments why this cannot be true.

We suggest that once the rider arrives in Kiparissi not to make an long stop there, ideally not stopping at all. On the contrary, we recommend to take advantage of the warmed up legs and cover the extremely steep part (spots with 16% incline) while getting out of the village. Later on, the climb gets smoother offering some stunning views of the rugged terrain; there are parts where the road literally passes under the mountain’s rock formations. The hilly part ends at the small village of Charakas, where you can find a small cafe to refill your bottles. In the case that is not open (maybe the owner has gone to collect his kids from the school 🙂 ) you can find water at the church, which is located a few meters further from the cafe; at the porch – look for a tap, the water is drinkable. Make sure that you have a lot of supplies, food and water, as on your way to Peleta, there is nothing that can offer any of those.

From the crossroad at Pistamata, a gentle hilly road, on excellent tarmac begins. The incline of around 2% – 4% profoundly allows plenty of room for casual talks, or even in depth, philosophical discussions to occur, without pauses for catching up with the breathing. We recall our memories about the laughter and the information we exchanged during our ride there. We were a small group of people and we learned a lot about sports, cooking and oil industry (!). But enough with our blurb now 🙂
Next stop is the Village of Peleta. Right next to the village’s main church there is a small cafe, owned by kind and nice people, where riders can refill their bottles or enjoy a short break. From Peleta Village is only downhill towards the seaside, where you find the village of Poulithra.

111 km / 1800 m

That’s the last ride. 100+ km for you to enjoy those great mountains around the Leonidio region and a stunning village built around a small waterfall. A great complete ride.

 

Dinner Meal: organized by GrCycling

Poulithra – Kounoupia – Mari – Geraki – Kosmas – Moni Elonis
104 km / 2100m

The route begins with a calming segment, on the coastal road until the village of Poulithra. This is where the first climbing part begins. It is 4.8km long with a total elevation gain of 480m with is first part (500m) being quite steep. The climb offers some seriously stunning sea views intermingled with the ones of the mountain mass around.

At the end of the climb, and after cycling on a plateau, riders pass by the village of Peleta. Right next to the village’s main church there is a small cafe, owned by kind and nice people, where riders can refill their bottles or enjoy a short break.

The ride along the plateau continues for appox. 8 km more. The scenery now is completely changed and the air has become a bit thinner. Later on, a 4 km climb will get the riders 220m higher. The climbing part ends further higher from Kounoupia village without the rider necessarily getting in the village. From there, a joyful descent begins, with the landscape changing once more. Just before descending to the village of Geraki, the rider needs to gain 200m of additional elevation. We suggest to keep the excitement at relatively low levels, since the biggest climbing load of the route has yet to come.

In Geraki, we recommend a stop at the cafe located at the central square. From there, someone can have a great overview of the valley. Soon after the riders leave from Geraki, a 13.5 km long coupled with 900 m or evelavation, will demand a serious effort. One more time and while the altitude increases, the short bushes give their place to spruce trees and once the chilly mountain breeze becomes noticeable, it signals the end of the climb and the arrival at the village of Kosmas.
From there, it is mainly downhill. For the ones who feel that there is still power at their legs, this descent welcomes a faster than just the gravity’s pace, all the way to Leonidio.

Kosmas – Platanaki – Gorge Argiogitiko – Moni Elonis
88km / 1800 m

The ride begins with a 30km long climb towards the village of Kosmas. The elevation gain is approximately 1150m, but due to the long distance, the total incline is on average very pleasant and doable, without pushing the riders to their limits. It will only require from the riders to adopt a steady, comfortable pace, that will also allow all to watch the wonderful surrounding unfolding right in front of their eyes. The climb follows the main river of Leonidio. A constantly winding road gets the riders to the other side of the mountain, where the vegetation and landscape is totally different; from the “typical” reddish, steep rock formations along the river’s banks to a wonderful plateau of spruce trees and thinner air. A coffee break at the Kosmas village’s square is something that comes naturally, no cyclist should resist.

From Kosmas the scenery get completely wild. The road gets significantly narrower and changes character. A series of short, hilly parts gets the riders through the forest and running waters, plateaus and cliff edges. The way and the pace the surrounding landscape changes, had us fascinated and excited. All riders should consider making a stop to the remote village of Agios Vasilios. There is only one traditional cafe, where you can enjoy a coffee break – we believe that talking with the owner in english will not be effective, In that case you stick to hand gestures and say “greek coffee sketo” 🙂 . We also recommend having a short walk in the village and refill the water bottles from its springs of mineral water.

Descending back, and riding along the Agiorgitiko Gorge, is a thrilling experience. Perfect switchbacks, gentle incline, which allows riders to push for more, and amazing views are some of the highlights of this descent.

Note: Looking at the map it is quite obvious that Kosmas and Platanaki is connected with another part of the road network, which unfortunately does not offer the best road conditions. It is a stunningly beautiful road, however riders should remain cautious while covering this part of the forest. We had covered the same with our Roubaix’s using 28mm tyres. It was great!

The Beauty and the Beast
60 km – 1490 m

What a beautiful ride! When first rode on those roads, we have never expected such beauty to be revealed in front of us. The route starts straight from the centre of Leonidio and the riders gain 900m of elevation in 14km. It is demanding, yes! After reaching the peak and once the descent begins, the riders can pay a short visit to the village of Vaskina. In the village’s centre (as the gpx trace indicates), riders can refill their bottles, or even enjoy a short meal, at a small traditional taverna. Important: the taverna is open only from late spring until mid autumn and we cannot guarantee that the owners keep that open every day.

Later on the tarmac ends and the riders have to cover 3-4 km of nicely preserve gravel road. This section of the route raises no safety issues, since the gravel road is very solid, although, in parts, a bit bumpy. Once the gravel part ends, the route continues on a cement road, which will get the riders at an altitude of 950m. That is the highest point, which signals that the rest of the way to Tyros Village, is only a superb downhill. Riders should remain extremely vigilant until the end of this particular descent, since the road has a significant amount of potholes and it is very steep (-22% during some curves). Riders should make sure that their braking system works seamlessly (especially disc brakes) since they will be under extreme load.

At Tyros village riders can enjoy a coffee break at the village’s beach side – Cafe Petra – stays open throughout all year). For the ones who want to enjoy a superb meal, look no further and trust the menu, containing normally fresh fish and traditional “meze” at Akrogiali taverna .

The beauty and the beast: Why the route is named like this? This stunning circle route can be also ridden the other way around. The beginning of the route will be the ideal warm up, whereas after Tyros the climbing is steep…. very! Riding up will require a tremendous effort and focus, as getting off the pedals is not always a options mainly due to the high inclines. That is the BEAST. All the rest is just the beauty. 🙂

Leonidio – Paralio Astros – Leonidio
2 x 52 km / 2 x 600 m

We ride along the coastal road, towards the scenic little town of Paralio Astros. The road requires from the riders to cover multiple segment of power hills. It is a fast route with great views and occasionally a short sprid would be the only thing needed to get to the end of hill.  At Paralio Astros, there are plenty of cafes by the promenade. If the weather is good, get into the water without thinking it twice.

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