near Aegina, Attica (Greece)
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The tour avoids the main roads and goes for a maximum of off-road fun (unpaved roads, steep climbs, rocky tracks, single tracks, and even some enduro fun). Proper driving skills and a full-suspension CC or Enduro MTB are mandatory!
Technical difficulty: 4/5 (offroad skills, driving on loose rocks etc.)
Power: 3/5 (some steep climbs but not an endurance contest)
Beauty of landscape: 5/5
Bring at least 2 water bottles, and wear a helmet!
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START at the old town of Aegina and find the crossroads with the small church (see track point). Follow the side roads through olive groves and green gardens. A first steep climb will lead you to another chapel and later on, to an abandoned ruin at the edge of the forest. The paved road ends at some point, just move on and follow the single track through the forest.
You will soon reach the village of Kondos (Κοντός) with its huge orthodox church, Agios Nektarios. After a couple hundred meters on the main road, follow the sign left to Paleochora and have a quick rest at the hill to the right, which is full of ancient chapels.
After only a few more meters on the paved road, leave for the next forest track to the right. Enjoy some uphill and downhill fun until you arrive at Mesagros (Μεσαγρός). Follow the GPS track which will lead you to unpaved, somewhat rocky tracks that run parallel to the main road. You will meet the main road just a few hundred meters before the Temple of Aphaea. The temple is worth a visit and offers a stunning view across the island, to other islands and to the mainland and Athens. There's also a shop where you can buy more water.
Right after the temple area, leave the paved road by taking a sharp right turn, and enjoy more offroad fun including a nice downhill ride. Once you arrived in the valley, the GPS track will lead you to another forest track that ends up in some enduro-motocycle racetrack. When I did the tour, I had it all for myself :)
At the end of the enduro track, you will meet a paved road. Turn left. After only a couple of hundred meters, leave to the right and climb up the rocky forest road next to a stunning wilderness gorge. Almost on top of the mountain, you can decide for an optional detour to a nearby beach (for details, check the map - I didn't take the option because it started to drizzle). Keep climbing to the highest point of the tour (appr. 305 meters above sea level).
Again there are a few hundred meters of paved road. You may take a quick detour and visit the nearby ruins of a Zeus temple (but to be honest, there's not much left except some foundations next to a tiny chapel, which are hard to make out on the rocky ground).
On the paved road, take the first left turn for the picturesque mountain village of Pachia Rachi (Παχειά Ράχι). At the end of the village, an unpaved and rocky downhill will take you all the way down to the coast. Leave the busy coastal road as soon as possible, and take one of the smaller roads next to it. If you happen to pass an abandoned Volkswagen Bus, say hello from me :)
The tour ends at the old town of Aegina.
Street crossing with a small Church
Abandoned building / ruin
Temple of Aphaea
Go right (the small trail into the forest is a dead end)
The small trail into the forest looked promising, but turned out to be a dead end. Go right immediately.
You may refill your water bottles here, though I haven't tried the water and I'm not 100% sure it's drinkable.
Optional: Detour to beach
Optional: short detour to Zeus temple ruins
If you go left and then right again, there are ruins of an ancient Zeus temple nearby, next to a small chapel on the mountainside. Don't expect too much; there's not much left of the temple except for the foundation.