Hello all! This is an absolutely great route and if you are staying in Xiropigado you definitely not miss riding it. A combination of low to none traffic conditions, great landscapes and authentic villages made this route one of the favorite our teams has ridden on. It is indeed a very special one and reading below you may find why.
The route begins with a 9 km segment of rolling hills on the coastal road towards the small town of Astros.
Once the riding group reaches Astros, the road becomes uphill and a joyful, long climb begins. The grade is very gentle and doesn't impose any major hurdles on the way up. We were fascinated by the views, since after a few kilometrers the town of Astros and the seaside were starting to look like a painting. The experience is getting when the riders enter the part of the route where they have to climb up a series of scenic switchbacks.
Once the riders reach the village of Agios Ioannis, basically the first one after the initial climbing part, it would be wise to refill their bottles with water and grab a snack; from that point until the top, there are few to no changes to find water or food.
Leaving Agios Ioannis, the route follows a totally different character. Consecutive segments of mild up and downhill parts will get the riders along the mountain plateau, offering stunning mountain views.
Approximately on the 48-50th kilometre of the ride, the final, steeper climbing part of the route begins and it for only 6km. It is a narrow, with absolutely no traffic, forest road. There is plenty of shadow, making it ideal to cycle through this part even during summer months.
Reaching top finds the cycling group at an idyllic location where all can rest for a little bit before the descending to the village of Kastanitsa.
The road to there is very steep and the way downwards normally comes with quick acceleration and high velocity. Just leaving the brakes free for a couple of seconds might result hit a speed over 60km/h. We recommend riders to stay vigilant for bad tarmac quality or vehicles that happen to cross the road.
Reaching Kastanitsa village is first place where the riders can have access to some food and water. The Kafeneio at the central square offers only coffee and beverages, while at the taverna, located at the parking lot, offers some great meal options. If all are closed, do not hesitate to ask any villager to call the owners and help you getting some food / water; people here are very friendly.
Getting back to Xiropigado is a long downhill roads, rewarding for all the efforts so far. Great tarmac conditions, empty roads and the smell of time and wild oregano to honour the Greek nature.