Bike Guide

Page 60

SITHONIA

Tour 11

From Toroni into the untamed hinterland of the Sithonia Peninsula Distance: 24.6 km (A) 510m 509m Road surface: 40% asphalt 60% trail Difficulty level: difficult (version A), moderately difficult (version B) Suitable for: Mountain bike (version A), trekking bike & mountain bike (version B) Brief description: Short but partly very demanding tour with wonderful views. The small fishing village of PORTO KOUFO is the start point for this tour. When the fishermen return with their catch early in the morning, it is worth spending some time watching the lively hustle and bustle on the pier. Leaving the village, warm up on the flat coastal road before riding on sand and gravel high into the interior of the peninsula. The long ascent over the next 5 km is somewhat relieved by a few flatter stretches. If you use these as short recovery stops, you'll have time to let your gaze wander out to sea or over the barren hinterland. The east coast and the village of SIKIA are visible from the small chapel above. From there it's downhill towards SIKIA, outside which there is a choice of two routes to continue the tour. Version B is easier though longer in terms of distance. It leads through the village to the coastal road and back to PORTO KOUFO. Fitter and more experienced riders will certainly see the challenge in opting for version A, which is the more difficult inland route. This is a true riders' paradise; once up on the ridges, the route offers unique panoramas over a large part of the south Sithonia Peninsula to the Athos Peninsula beyond, with the Holy Mountain itself rising steeply and imposingly from the sea to its summit 2033m above. A solidly constructed sand trail leads from here over the ridges of the southern Sithonia Peninsula back to the coastal road. The route passes right by a number of large goat sheds; take care not to ride past too fast, otherwise the goats will scatter in all directions, angering the goatherds and their dogs. The shed architecture and herdsmen's simple dwellings are interesting to look at. The wonderful long descent on the solidly constructed coastal road back to PORTO KOUFO will reward you for all the steep uphill trails inland. Shortly before reaching the port, the pinnacles clearly marking the harbour entry to PORTO KOUFO heave into view.

Tips: Always wear a helmet and cycling glasses when riding. Take sufficient food and water for the trip with you. The good fish tavernas in PORTO KOUFO are well worth visiting in October, when fresh tuna fish is available. 59