Hiking and Rock Climbing in Asterousia
Asterousia - Mt Kofinas - Rock Climbing at Kapetaniana - Agios Ioannis - Hiking
at Koudoumas Monastery
Asterousia Range consists of various low mountains
and hills, spreading from Cape Lithino to Viannos. The
higher mountain is Mt Kofinas (1280 m).
The existence of the Asterousia
mountains makes approach to the southern coast of Heraklion kind of an adventure;
driving is very tiring as roads are narrow, full of looping curves,
climbing up steep mountain flanks.
Many of these roads are just dirt
tracks. However this also has a positive effect; most of this coast
is still a virgin place without the results of over-development
that exists in the resorts of the northern coast.
The village of Kapetaniana
Kapetaniana is a village high in the mountains
(800 m). It is a paradise for rock-climbing as Zbynek Cepala has done an excellent job in equipping
the nearby climbing areas with 10mm bolts.
The rock is limestone with
slabs, holes and edges, technical passages, overhangs and athletic climbing.
It is necessary for you to bring an extensive set of nuts and slings.
Most of the belay stations are equipped with 2 bolts and chains for
The village of Kapetanianja itself is a rare chance to see how old Cretan
villages were. In order to go there you have to follow the road from
Agioi Deka to Vagionia and Loukia.
If you want to stay in Kapetaniana, then an affordable solution is the Pension Kofinas of Louise and Gunnar, who also offer hiking holidays in Crete, as well as rock climbing on Mt Kofinas.
Hiking in Mt Kofinas
Very close to Kapetaniana is the summit of
Mt Kofinas. It's a very short distance to the top but the path
is very steep and the ground loose. If you are afraid of heights then
be careful. The view from the top is breathtaking.
The Monastery of Koudoumas and the village of Agios Ioannis
Moni (monastery) Koudouma is a unique opportunity
to visit a secluded and virgin area of Crete. You can do that either
from Kapetaniana or from Sternes village.
From the village of Kapetaniana you
may walk (or drive if you have a genuine 4x4 car) down to Agios Ioannis (2 hrs). When you get to the village, ask them to show you the way to
Agios Ioannis church; it' s a church built inside a cave and
there are some spectacular wall-paintings.
From Agios Ioannis village you may follow the path to Koudoumas
Monastery (1hr 30 min). Thirty minutes before the monastery there is
the cave of Agios Antonios with a church built inside; a torch-light
will be useful.
From the Monastery of Koudoumas you may either return the same way or
walk up the road (it is the road coming from Sternes) to Mt Kofinas
and Kapetaniana (about 4 -5 hrs). It is a really scenic route as the road is steeply descending
from 1000 m to sea-level, through woods of pine trees.
Another approach to Moni Koudouma is driving from Kapetaniana
to Mt Kofinas and then turn the first turn right. If you go this way,
then you may reach Agios Ioannis by feet from Koudoumas Monastery.
More about Asterousia Mountains: