psiloritis geopark

Pites tis Grias - Charakas

Length:  4,8 km. (+4,4 km. Until Rizinia)
Starting point altitude:  520 meters
Finishing point altitude:  520 meters
Lowest altitude:  460 meters
Highest altitude:  560 meters (normal trail), 660 meters (trail to Rizinia)
Maximum altitudinal difference:  100 meters, (200 meters for the trial to Rizinia)ail
Needed time:   2,5 - 3  hours (+ 2 hours for Rizinia)
Level of difficulty :   Small (suitable for families and students), possibility to extend the track towards Rizinia (slightly higher)
Available water: None
Flora:   Partly shrublands, orchards, clusters of Quercus pubescens

Starting point
The starting point of the track is the parking space at the viewpoint that can be found fifty meters before the relative sign about “Pites” on the paved road towards Agia Varvara. With the expanding of the road there will be no problems once the space will be modified into a parking space.

Finishing point
The same as the starting point

Access
The trail can be accessed through the highway Heraklion – Mesara. Visitors can use either the local coach service or their own vehicle.

Summary
The track towards “Pites tis Grias” (grandma’s pies), these special rocky formations and the dramatic rocky pick of “Charakas” which dominates the smooth valley, is a rejuvenating escape in a beautiful landscape shaped by man and nature. In advance to the geomorphological elements of the area, typical of the south parts of Psilotitis Mountain, one will meet the beautiful combination of mild cultivations with the small islands of wild nature. Along the numerous earthroad tracks the excursionist passes different cultivations (the olive tree is the dominant), deserted fields and olive tree groves, areas with scrubs, as well as vestigial clusters of kermes oaks. During the different seasons of the year a lot of wild plants and flowers appear. The rocks of this area are mainly Neogene sediments, which are dominated by sandstones and marly limestones where fossil bivalves and sea urchins (clypeaster) appear in numerous localities with an age of 6-7 million years. Similarly, in the sandstones concretions of compacted sandstone, of spherical shape, are formed which the local people name “breads or Jupiter’s pies”. The ascent until the end of the track towards the post-minoan settlement of Rizinia, despite the extra tiredness it offers a fabulous view of the entire Heraklion basin from the chapel of St Panteleimon, which dominates the sharp peak of the hill of Patela. The completion of track’s route and the returning to the parking space pass by the sharp and vertical rock that dominates the middle of the valley and which the local people name “charakas” or “butter”, after it looks like the rock has been cut in half like butter. The ascent to the top is not particularly difficult or demanding and offers a beautiful view in the area all around. 


Difficulties - Dangers
The trail «Pites tis Grias – Charakas» is an easy track to walk along earthroads and do no present any difficult parts or dangers. The most part of the trail runs along earthroads and only the part that leads to ancient Rizinia and Patela hill needs to move along the paved road. However, even this part is of light transportation and short enough, that just a reasonable attention can prevent any danger. Visitors may have to pay more attention when climbing on Charakas, as well as when theyu may walk outside the tracks in Patela hill because of steep cliffs.
For organized or school trips the end point of the trail can be thr parking place in Rizinia.
Weather conditions might appear extreme in some cases. Strong winds might be faced on top of Patela during winter time as well as during heavy rain. Furthermore, during summer high temperatures (around 35 oC) might bother visitors from northern Europe which should take care the hot sun and lack of water. In any case, as along the track there is no offer of drinkable water, it is suggested that the needed quantities of water should be ensured in advance.

Information
Municipality of Agia Varvara, Agia Varvara: +28940 23741-2
Police Station in Agia Varvara: +28940 22209
Psiloritis Natural Park, AKOMM, Anogia: +2834031402

Φυσικό Πάρκο Ψηλορείτη - Παγκόσμιο Γεωπάρκο UNESCO
UNESCO