Height gain: 1300m
Duration: 3.5 hours
Difficulty: For experienced road riders
Challenge yourself with 1300m of climbing on this stunning, un-spoilt route through the national park and into the large site of Ancient Messini. Here you’ll be able to walk the remains of the walls and soak up the views from the original main gate where ancient Sparta cart tracks can still be made out in the ground. A high fitness level is recommended for this ride; however, you will reap the rewards of your hard work on the incredible, newly tarmacked, yet virtually traffic free descent on the way home.
The route begins in the sleepy village of Analipsi. From here you cut out across the main road then continue onto the quiet, newly tarmacked back roads towards Likotrafos, Pilialistra, Spilali, and several other small rural villages. For the first half of the ride you will be steadily climbing higher and higher into the surrounding area for about 40km, until you reach the highest point and the ruins of Ancient Messini. There’s a taverna overlooking the ruins where you’ll be able to enjoy a well-deserved rest stop before setting out on the second, and indisputably easier half of the ride. The return is just as scenic, passing through olive groves and vine yards as you descend through the villages of Lampena and Aristodimio before popping up in Triosod just to the west side of the airport at Kalamata.