Agios Myronas – Rizinia – Vathia

Agios Myronas Rizinia Vathia bike tour the path to Agios Panteleimonas church - feature img

Rizinia the city of Eteocretans


Landscape
Start point
Agios Mironas
Distance
28 km
Altitude
670m ↑ / 670m ↓
Max / Min points
718m / 321m
Duration
3hours
Finish point
Agios Mironas
This mountain bike route starts from Agios Mironas village (just 18km from Heraklion), one of the most historic villages of Crete. Its characteristic feature is the old school clock, which is distinguished from the entire province of Malevizi.
From Agios Miron we will follow the dirt road east of Pirgou village, on the top of a hill with spectacular views, until we reach Ano Asites village. It is worth making a stop at the Byzantine chapel of Saint Anthonios, which is hidden in the rock at the entrance of the homonymous canyon. At the beautiful stone church there are springs of drinking water to refill our bottles before we ride again our bicycles.

Our next stop is the ancient Rizinia on the hill of Patella hill near Prinias village. To reach the hill we have to carry the bikes to go up a few stone steps and then ride carefully through the narrow path to the church. Admiring the view from the edge of the rock from the place where the church of Saint Panteleimon is today, we realize why the ancient Minoans chose this location to build their settlement. From this point they could control the important Passage from Knossos to Gortina. It is believed that the settlement was a refuge for the Eteocretes, the first inhabitants of Crete when the Dorik tribes came from Greece, as also was Karfi peak.
On the way we will pass next to "Siderospiliia" two ancient tombs carved on the hard rock. Nowadays they have turned into a toilet for sheep and goats.
Then we head to Prinias village. Like and other villages in Crete, the village’s name derives from Prinos the evergreen oak of Crete, which is here in abundance. After the first houses of the village we will ascend to the top of the saddle and move west to the valley of vathia. At the top the view is stunning, the landscape completely different. Vathia is a big pasture at the north foothill of Koudouni mountain. The creek flowing through the valley forms a small gorge at the entrance of which, next to a cave, is located the church of Saint Charalampos that has given its name to both the gorge and the cave.
After Vathia we return to Asites and back to Agios Miron through the fertile valley of Nisi. Nisi, a small settlement that belongs to Kato Asites village was previously abandoned but today it has been completely restored. Near Nisi, beside a stream full of plane trees we can visit the inactive Monastery Chrissopigi.

Those who wish to add more difficulty to the route, from Prinias can do an extra climb to the wind turbines. From Perdikorifi peak you can gaze the whole Prefecture of Heraklion from North to South, the Mountains of Dikti as well as Gavdos island.

After finishing your bike tour and returning to Agios Mironas village, it is worth visiting the traditional tavern Ethimiko at the entrance of the village.

...and explore Crete on your own!

Maps

Asphalt road

Dirt road

Single track

Carrying / pushing

Alternative route

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