Have you ever just wanted to get out and explore something on your own? Do you love motorcycles, or are you at least curious about riding them? In a new travel article on GoNOMAD, by Jamie Sue Winkelman, motorcycling across Crete is examined. Winkelman biked across the island for a week, and provides an account of the experience. Here’s a clip.
The north side Crete is relatively flat, with five major port cities — Chania, Rethymno, Iraklion, Agios Nokolaos, and Sitia — all connected by a straight, modern freeway (E75). As a result, the northern coast offers the most accessible beaches on Crete, making it a popular tourist destination, especially in the heat of summer.
In contrast, access to the southern portion of the island is more limited and challenging due to the rugged mountain terrain and consequent lack of roads. In fact, some villages on the southern coast are only accessible by boat or hiking trail.
The main roads in western Crete are paved and in good condition. However, with the exception of the major highway, roads have no street names, merely signs pointing in the direction of towns and villages. Once you venture off the beaten path, routes are rarely more than a single unmarked lane. They become extremely steep, narrow, windy, and not particularly well maintained. Traffic is minimal, but does exist in both directions—a fact worth remembering!
A tangled web of unsurfaced roads spans the forgotten portions of the island. In some cases, these roads connect more civilized routes together; on other occasions, they dead-end at mountain peaks or beaches. Every dirt road I traveled was passable on a dual-sport motorcycle. Some routes required more effort than others did, but all were as depicted on my map.
Without a doubt, the best map of Crete is the rip-proof waterproof one published by Rough Guides. Not only is this the most durable map available (important criterion on a motorcycle), I found it to be the most comprehensive and reliable.
The companion travel guide is also available and highly recommended. In an entire week of desperately trying to lose myself, only once did I find myself on a dirt trail that was off the map. The map depicted every other road or trail, no matter how remote.
You can read the rest of Winkelman’s article at GoNOMAD.com