My traditional Easter week ride – from Corinth to Nafpaktos

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It is a special week ahead, Μεγάλη Εβδομάδα, the Holy Week, reliving the passion of Christ with pinnacle the feast of resurrection on Easter Sunday. At the same time it is a week full of traditions and for me it starts with a ride from the train station of Corinth to the beautiful coastal town Nafpaktos where our family traditionally gathers for Easter.

The ride is mostly flat on the old national road towards Patras right along the Gulf of Corinth on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. However, I decided to take on the small climb to Acrocorinth, the Acropolis of Ancient Corinth at the very beginning of the ride.

Acrocorinth

It is a 3km climb with an average 9% gradient. The gradient gets steeper as the climb progresses and a piece of 15%-20% towards the end gets the heart pumping.

Approaching the car park of Acrocorinth

I am usually riding as light as possible, but today is different. I have mounted my brand-new handlebar roll and saddle bag from Ena Bags and can’t lie … the weight difference of the bike with the fully loaded luggage was very noticeable when attacking the steeper slopes of the small climb.

Donning the new bike bags from Ena Bags

On the way back down I am enjoying a last view onto the Isthmus area with the city of Loutraki and its imposing Geraneia mountain range in the background.

Descent from Acrocorinth

The way down to the National Road takes me through Ancient Corinth and I am enjoying a beautiful view of the excavation site with the beautiful temple of Apollon and Acrocorinth looming in the background.

Ancient Corinth

The first kilometres on the National Road until the city of Kiato are rather uninspiring and despite the headwind I am getting into a nice rhythm, turning the pedals quickly and looking forward to the ride ahead. A couple of kilometres behind Kiato the scenery changes, the road finally runs right next to the sea. On the one hand there isn’t any more shelter from the headwind but on the other hand the smell of iodium in my nostrils and the astonishingly good road surface makes riding a pleasure.

The scenery doesn’t change at all for the next 50 kilometres. I am riding through one seaside town after another. Even though rarely seeing people on the road, these towns seem calm but not deserted. I am reminded of the eery beauty of the Sicilian towns completely void of people in the Montalbano movies. Occasionally I can see people sitting at a beachside taverna enjoying their ouzo and meze.

Almost two hours into the ride I am riding along a large pine forest leading into the centre of Xylokastro. Time for the first coffee stop.

Coffee Stop at Xylokastro
Xylokastro Corniche

After Xylokastro the mountains edge closer to the sea, dissected by some river valleys. The road is now more undulated which is a welcome change.

Old National Road at Akrata
River flowing from the mountains into the Gulf of Corinth

After Paralia Platano with its oversized train station and passing the village of Diakopto the road crosses the new highway and after a small uphill segment descents into the port city of Aigio, the second largest city of Achaea. I am hungry by now and decide to eat a snack at one of Aigio’s beachside Cafe-restaurants. Just before leaving from Aigio a small shower is pouring down and after the skies open up again, a magical rainbow gives me the signal to hop on the bike to take on those last 30km before crossing over the Gulf of Corinth from the Peloponnese to Central Greece.

Rainbow at Aigio

Due to the constant headwind and my two stops at Xylokastro and Aigio the ride has taken much longer than anticipated. I am arriving at Rio to enjoy the view of the Rio-Antirio bridge just before sunset.

Sunset at the bridge

Unfortunately it is not allowed to cross the bridge by bicycle and I decide to be a law abiding citizen today and cross over by ferryboat – which to my surprise if free of charge for bicycles.

Crossing over by ferryboat

It is now pretty dark and despite having lights on my bike I decide to put the hammer down and “time trial” the last 10km to Nafpaktos, waiting for my family to arrive a bit later in the evening.

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2 thoughts on “My traditional Easter week ride – from Corinth to Nafpaktos

  1. I think I’ll skip Acrocorinth !
    Why am I not surprised there was a headwind all the way to Rio ? Murphy at work, as usual.
    Pity it’s not permitted to ride the bridge, that would have been epic!
    Great ride Frankin8R, keep on rollin’ …

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