Leave Afrata by the left turn at the `T` junction for the short winding drive gently upwards to Astratigos, 900metres above sea level. With your first glimpse of the village look over to your left. The views of the sea and the eastern side of Lefka Ori, snow capped until late May, on the other side of which lies the Samaria Gorge, are magic.
Astratigos is a working village. No shops. No tavernas. No kafenion. No GNT0 rooms; two churches and about 40 houses. The school bus passes downwards from Rodopos village at 7.30am and upwards at about 1.30pm. In term time. Sheep; olives; and almonds are the mainstays. Most visitors pass through, perhaps stopping to photograph the flowers or look briefly at the churches, thinking that there is nothing here.
There is something here though...... The village has a magic all of it's own. It has vista second to none. It has countryside which is a walkers paradise. It has wildlife untamed. It has abundant rare flora. And it has a Cretan lifestyle that has not yet become culturally modernised; a variety of life which eludes the tourist hotspots while being within reach of almost everything. To experience Astratigos you must stay. However, even for purists, a stay in Astratigos is all but impossible.
|If you are passing through, don't miss the modern frescoes in the small church at the entrance to the village. If it is locked then ask at the house to the right of the house opposite (that's Greek!) to see the high quality modern church art.||
|If you are really lucky on the road up in the day, or actually at the village, you may see hawks at work over the small valley, or golden eagles soaring quite low over the mountainside. At night owls, commonly Scops and Barn owls rule, together with the ubiquitous bat. Against a night sky uncluttered by light pollution, an astronomers dream in the southern hemisphere! Badgers are not unknown; polecats and assorted small animals common. If you are a walker then there are several quality walks to suit everyone in the immediate vicinity. Unless you are lucky enough to know someone in the village the nearest rooms are in Afrata, only 15 min on foot, at Minore's. Passing through Astratigos, straight on takes you to Ravdoucha, with tavernas accommodation and swimming. A right turn takes you to the village of Rodopos.|