WALKING & HIKING IN CHIOS
(Click on the images to enlarge)
ROUTE 1 & 2
Mount PELINEO, the highest peak of the island at 1297m., offers breathtaking views. The following two routes will provide the hiker some exquisite experiences.
ROUTE 1 :
The first route begins just before the village VIKI on the KARDAMYLA side. By following an old footpath and mountain road we can reach a mountain shelter near a fresh water spiring with drinkable water. This part of the journey will take about 1 hour. Further along the route a dark coloured perpendicular rock dominates the area. Leaving this rock to the right climb up along a small stream to a plateau above it. Follow a big zig - zag course while continuously moving uphill to reach the top and a small church known as AGIA TRIADA. The high difference from the previous point is 900m. The trip takes about 2:30' hours.
ROUTE 2 :
The second route starts from the village of SPARTOUNDA, the highest village on the island of CHIOS at 500 m altitude. Follow the mountainous road which meanders on the west side of the mountain and the footpath which passes by the old chapel known as PANAGIA to arrive at the base of the central hemlock of the peak. From here follow the ditch which runs directly to AGIA TRIADA, at 750 m. altitude, a journey of three hours. In antiquity, a holy altar to the Greek God Dias stood on the site of AGIA TRIADA. These two routes offer a special interest during winter and especially after it has snowed. Winter climbing equipment is then needed because the mountain slopes and ditches freeze over easily due to the strong and icy North winds. To use the mountain shelter it is essential to contact the VIKI COMMUNITY at: +30-22720-41455 for permission. No equipment is provided.
This route begins at the village PITIOS, so called because of the presence of many pine trees. Tradition says that Homer passed through here on his way to VOLISSOS. This tradition is linked to two local landmarks, the "OMERIKA" (HOMERIC) and "DASKALOU ELIES" (THE TEACHERS OLIVE TREES). What impresses the visitor most of all is the imposing and well restored BYZANTINE TOWER which dominates the village. In 1822 the village fell into the hands of the Turks during the MASSACRE OF THE PEOPLE OF CHIOS. Leave the village and move along the left side of the ravine passing through the fields to arrive at the picturesque chapel called PANAGIA THEOTOKINA. Carry on walking down the deserted rural road to the point where the path takes an upward turn to get round a steep slope found on the left side of the ravine. A steep downhill path then appears which leads to the bed of the stream. Follow the bed of the stream to arrive eventually at KARDAMYLA. There is only one very steep hill, on this section which can easily be avoided by going round the left side. We might come across some goats grazing.The banks of the ravine are impressive the stream and stream bed itself may retain some pools of water. The high difference from the previous point is 350 m. It takes about 2 : 30' hours to complete the route. When in KARDAMYLA it is worth visiting the "ghost village" on the west side of the town as well as the "old lady's tower" which is east of "ghost village."
Route four is through an area of great archaeological interest. Herodotus mentions the area as the location of the ancient settlement of KILA. This settlement was destroyed in the 16th century during a pirate raid. The surviving inhabitants are believed to have established new settlement in the KILA area which persist today as SYKIADA, LAGADA, VRONDATHOS, and KARDAMYLA. The deserted village KIDIADA was built by inhabitants of KILA as a fortress so as to protect it from any other raids. The village was abandoned in 1949. Going downhill from AGIOS GIORGIS FLORIANOS there is an impressive cave on the right hand side of the ravine. Further down are the ruins of walls. These walls held back the terraces of soil cultivated by local people. More interesting arid intriguing at many points are the piles of rocks on the plateau of EPOS. They are known as THE OLD WOMAN'S PILES OF ROCKS. According to legend, during the Middle Ages when the island was continuously threatened by different conquerors these piles hid treasure. However, the piles have been dated back before the birth of Christ. One explanation of their origin is that they are boulders from field clearance. Another-is that they are tombs from around 100 b.c., which HOMER wrote about 200 years later. Another explanationion is that they were originally pillars dedicated to the GREEK GOD HERMES. At this point it is necessary to choose one of the three routes marked on the map. The one on the far right - the south only - is more difficult because there is no easy footpath to follow and you have to go up and down many rocky hillsides. However following the bed of the ravine we present no difficulty. Extra caution is needed when following the route on the far left - the northerly because of the risk of encountering steep rocks which are difficult to climb. Only skilled hikers should follow this route. Whichever route you choose don't forget to visit KIDIADA.
This route begins at the fresh water springs of KLIDOU. Follow the bed of the river ARMENI for about 20 min. passing through a narrow gorge covered with oleanders. At this spot known as "PERDIKON WATER" even in late summer water gushes up from the ground. Continue on through a short narrow gully. Pass to the left of the ANILIO STREAM and continue walking uphill. After gaining some height traverse towards the left and south and over the steep slopes above the stream. The view from here is impressive and the cool fresh air that blows really revives you. The footpath at this point is easily followed as many flocks of sheep and goats use it. After a 2 hour walk you arrive at a sheepfold and a fresh water spring, both surrounded by lush vegetation. Further up and within a ten minute walk there is a picturesque small church known as PANAGIA ARVANITISA (ANALIPSEOS). In order to cross the ANILIO STREAM, either going up or down, experience and the correct equipment are required. In many places the rocks are sheer and have been reshaped by the running water. These rocks are very difficult to climb. Another characteristic of the area is that goats roam around freely and water and food is scarce.
Going south from PANAGIA ARVANITISA (ANALIPSEOS) cross a small plateau, keeping the path to the right, and go up the mountain to reach the mountain pass where it folds from the south side of the plateau.
The view from here is absolutely breathtaking as the whole of the east central part of CHIOS is visible below.
Coming down the side of the mountain you will find the main road which goes to the city of CHIOS.
Continue on to NEA MONI either by following the steep ravine which goes by AGIOS MARKOS and AGIOS ANTONIS or going down the main road. The trip takes about 2 hours.
ANAVATOS, means "difficult to climb". The appropriateness of this name is clearly understood when standing on the summit of a pinnacle of rock accessible only from the north - east side. One can appreciate its significance as a last stronghold during the MASSACRE OF THE PEOPLE OF CHIOS in 1822. Even today the bones of those who died in this struggle for freedom can still be found here. The route suggested has not only natural beauty but also great historical interest. From this precipice many Greeks escaped from the Turks and reached ELIDA BAY, where they were able to embark on PSARIANA sailboats which took them to the neighbouring island of PRARA. Our journey begins from the bridge just before going up to the village, and follows the steam bed. Point A on the map shows how to avoid the waterfall by going it from the right. Extra caution is required at point B, here the bed becomes narrower and sharp rocks are found both on the left and right side. Two parts of the route demand the use of a 10 m. climbing rope while at another two points the descent is quite difficult and a rope would be helpful. Metal rings have been placed in the deepest section of the glen to make the descent much easier. The descent takes about 3 : 30 hours and is only for skilled hikers. The altitude here is 300m.
If you don't have a rope follow the route of line 1. Upon facing the scree change direction and move upwards towards the TOWER OF ANAVATOS leaving the bed of the torrent behind. Carry on walking, keeping parallel to the scree, arriving at some rocks which can easily be climbed over. Another scree leads to a narrow rocky pass at the base of the tower's citadel, and from there straight on to the first house on the west side of the village. The ascent has been marked and takes about 45 min. to complete.
Having passed the difficult spot marked B start ascending again towards the right, after 50 min arriving at the small church called AGIOS GIANNIS (SAINT JOHN) and a fresh water spring. Following the footpath from there on, coming to the village after about 20 min. WARNING : If following the route from ELIDA it is recommended that you choose variation 2 to get to the village. If you follow the bed all the way you might have difficulty at point B. Ancient Roman ruins have been found in ELIDA. These ruins demonstrate the efforts of the Romans to link the WEST COAST of the island to the rest of GREECE. The name ELIDA or ALIDA comes from the word "als" - sea, "alios" - of the sea or from "eleous" - Eleounda.
Begin at the village of AGIOS GIORGIS SIKOUSIS. Many years ago there was a wall to protect the village and a tower. The ruins of this medieval tower are still visible. From the north - west end of the village, go up the ridge to reach the crest of the mountain. It takes about 1 hour to get to the small church known as PROFITI ILIA. Then cross the plateau with it's big pine trees and arrive at the small church called AGIOS SOTIRAS. (30 min)
Continue walking north - west, noting as you walk down and down the plateau that many years ago people used to cultivate the land. Keeping the church to the left (AGIA TRIADA) continue going west to arrive at a ravine. Opposite is the historic monastery of AGION PATERON (HOLY FATHERS). This takes about 40 min.
NEA MONI was established in the 11th century (1044 - 1051 b.c.) by the emperor CONSTANTINE 2 MONOMAHO, at the request of three monks who used to live in a cave, where the monastery AGION PATERON now stands. It is said that a miracle was the reason that NEA MONI was built. The three monks saw a fire in that area. When the fire was put out, an icon of the Blessed Virgin Mary was found standing, completely unharmed among some myrtle branches. When, later, the three monks met CONSTANTINE, who lived in Mitilini, they predicted that he would become emperor. In return they asked him to build the monastery. And so it happened, when CONSTANTINE was crowned emperor he kept his promise and built NEA MONI. We can say that NEA MONI symbolises freedom and self - power. NEA MONI was established by an emperor therefore it had the emperor' s golden edict and was exempt from any rule. From te beginning CONSTANINE handed over his rights. The monastery' s privilage was respected by the Genuats and later on by the TURKS. A special characteristic is that when Chios was under Turkish rule NEA MONI had the unique right to ring it's bells. From NEA MONI a well defined footpath leads to AG. PATERES. This takes 30 min. Directly below the tar road which starts from the monastery and goes down to AGIO FANOURIO look for parts of the Byzantine road that used to connect the monastery to the city of Chios. Unfortunately only a few sections still exist.
The route begins from the village of THOLOPOTAMI, which is situated on the mountainside of PROFITIILIAS. Three roads radiate from the centre of the village. Take the road that comes from Chios and follow it for 100m. On the left hand side a narrow rural road begins which leads to cultivated fields. At the end of this rural road follow a footpath that connects to another rural road. Behind and to the right is the top of PROFITI ILIAS (PROPHET ILIAS). This road leads first to a picturesque small church and then to a dense forest of pine trees. On the right hand side of this road is a ravine which leads to the mount of the river KATRARI. On both sides of the ravine there are fields that people still cultivate. A footpath surrounded in lush vegetation leads to the start of a deep glen. It takes about 50 min. to get to this point. It is easier to reach the start of the deep glen by following the path that begins next to the KATRARI bridge (see the map). Characteristics of the glen are its steep slopes, lush vegetation and the impressive shape of the rocks that have been formed by the running water. After walking for about 1:45 min you come to a plain that is south of AGIOS GIORGIS SIKOUSIS. Cross the plain to reach the first houses of the village in about 15 min.
The map is a ground plan of the RAGA area that is a few meters away from the right side of the village THOLOPOTAMI. When passing through this area one should stop and take a look at the rocks that have been created by geological processes. The map indicates the position of caves where even on the hottest day of summer the temperature inside is 18° C. When visiting at the beginning of spring listen for the flow of the water from below the ground.
Generally the whole area has many holes, cracks in the ground, dead ends and huge rocks that are impossible to climb. It was in this area that many villagers hid during the MASSACRE OF THE PEOPLE OF CHIOS in 1822. It was very difficult for the Turks to find all the inhabitants of the village, but when they did, they killed them all. Those who managed to get away hid in the caves mentioned in route 9 (KATRARI REMA). RAGA is one of the most interesting and yet most difficult plain to walk on the island. There was a great development in this area during the era of the GENOUATS. Villas and towers can still be seen, as well as ruins of the settlement SKLAVIA (SLAVERY) near the present village. The settlement takes its name from the thousands of slaves kept there by the GIOUSTINIANI.
Route 10 begins at the port of EMPORIOS. The name EMPORIOS comes from the word "emborion" which means port. This is an area of great archeological interest as remains of ancient settlements have been found here. These remains date back to 3.000 B.C. Recent excavations show the development of the area through the ages. Evidence of settlement during the Neolithic era has been covered with layers of construction from successive eras up to and including the classical era.
Directly after the port of EMPORIOS is "MAVRA VOLIA BEACH" named after the black pebbles that are found there. The pebbles originated from the volcano PSARONAS. Psaronas is also the name of the mountain near the sea. Walk along the beach to the huge rocks at the end of it. Follow the footpath up the mountain towards the south. At the end of the hill you will come to a road that leads through a forest. Cross the road and continue walking at a slight angle. In front of you will appear a small plateau with many mastic trees, fig trees and cypress trees which give right to the name of the area ANO KAMBOS. To the right is the area known as DOTIA. In the center of the plain are the impressive ruins of a BYZANTINE TOWER. The tower was built to protect the island during the wars. Historians believe it was built by a byzantine master who was dissatisfied with the unique privilege that CONSTANTINE 2 MONOMAHOS gave to NEA MONI. (ROUTE 8).It was a three story tower and the wall built around it was very low. Architecturally it is similar to the tower found in PITIOS, (ROUTE 3) and the tower known as TA MARKOU in PISPILOUNDA.
Continue walking along the crest of the mountain, you will come upon remains of look out places arriving at point A marked on the map in about 2 hours. The route becomes more difficult if you want to reach the southern most cape of Chios - CAPE MASTIHO or CAPE OURA. Going downhill towards the west you will arrive at the beautiful BROULIDIA BEACH in about 1 hour.
SOURCE: HIKING ROUTES OF CHIOS - CHIOS MUNICIPAL TOURIST OFFICE
TEXT - MAPS: NICK HATZIGEORGIOU
TRANSLATION: ELENI MAVRIANOU