We had heard the road to Menies beach, an extremely remote and beautiful cove, had been recently redone.
With Marco, we needed to check it out for ourselves. We knew it would be a challenge.
This road goes along the peninsula of Rodopo, between Kolymbari and Kissamos in West Crete, for about 20Km, almost completely off-road. The road goes up from the village of Rodopo, tops at over 500m a.s.l., then goes all the way down to the sea.
Starting from the big village square surrounded by very sleepy kafeneions, the very first part is good tarmac. Then, as we had been told, the road becomes gravelly, but it is always wide and most importantly quite smooth. An accessible ride.
After about 10Km we reached the highest point on the road, and from there on the views are impressive. To placate temporarily our insatiable hunger for adventure, we took the detour that leads to the cape. Coming off the ‘main’ road, the terrain becomes instantly really bad. We slowly made our way, partly riding on hard rocks and partly walking. The reward at the end is worth it though. There are remains of fortifications built by the Germans during WWII here, and dramatic views from Cape Spatha spanning from Kissamos, Gramvousa and Antikythira to the West all the way to Chania and Agioi Theodori to the East. This is the Northernmost point on Crete. We spent a good half-hour exploring the area around the fortifications here. We also watched big vultures and small falcons flying around the cliffs.
Then we retraced our tracks and continued on to Menies beach. The cove is really postcard like, the shape, the colours, the surrounding cliffs, everything. I went in for a swim, plenty of fish in the very clear water. Just the bay and the coastal rocks enclosing it are worth a longer exploration.
After the swim and a snack, we climbed back up the road. It’s a gradual, beautiful ascent, followed at the end by an exhilarating section downhill to finish the excursion in good terms.
In total we covered about 50Km, mostly riding with some walking. A break at the cape, a swim at Menies beach make this a full-day super adventure!