Agia Triáda (Stavropéda) - Aládou - Sasá - Moní Panachrántou - Messariá

Evaluation: This hike offers the opportunity to walk straight across the interior of the island of Andros – on the southern slope of the large valley of the Megálos Potamós. More than likely, this is the lowest short-cut of the island, running approximately at an altitude of 200 - 300 m, except nearby the Panachrántou-monastery, which is situated at an altitude of 500 m. The hike via Pitrofós (till 500 m) and definitely the one via the Profítis Ilías (till 900 m) go much higher. However, this hike is not as interesting as the other two, certainly if you have already visited the monastery by following a different route.
A couple of years ago, the part between Sasá and the monastery was largely overgrown and thus almost impassable. Fortunately, though, this trajectory has been cleared recently. 
This hike is very well sign-posted with trail markers [7]; it
gets an evaluation of ***. 
[Update by Raymond on the 3rd of May 2015 and on the 11th of May 2016.]

Estimated time: It takes about 55 minutes (AWT) to get to the asphalt road past Aládou and again 20 minutes to arrive at Sasá by following the road. The following 45 minutes till the monastery are really nice. The descent to Messariá takes another 70 minutes, still in actual hiking time. All together this makes for 3h10 – taking into account a pause to picnic and a very relaxed visit of the monastery, this hike took us a little under 5 hours (TWT). If you would combine this hike with the hike Agia Triáda - Zagorá, this would really make for a full hiking day.

Route description: [The busses from Batsí to Chóra or Ormos Korthíou stop at the crossing of Stavropéda, where the road to Chóra and Ormos Korthíou splits up. The bus which leaves Chóra at half past eight, reaches Stavropéda between 9 and 9.15am.]

You have to follow the asphalt road for a couple of hundred metres, in the direction of Ormos Korthíou. On your right-hand side you will then see a small chapel, dedicated to Agia Triáda (the Holy Trinity).
Opposite the chapel, on the left-hand side of the road, you find the beginning of your trail, between walls. It runs in east-northeastern direction and you can even see the sea on the other side of the island.

[On the right a small concrete road leads to the chapel. This is the departure point of hike [7] to Zagorá; and indeed, a sign on the right points to the archaeological site of Zagorá. If you are early, you can easily combine this short hike of two times 30 minutes with the hike to Messariá – see the walk Agia Triáda – Zagorá and back.]

(0h00) You thus start on the path on the left-hand side of the road (hiking sign [7] Aládou 2,8 km / Sasá 4 km / Panachrántou 5,9 km). Almost immediately you find another path off the left, but you have to continue straight ahead. The trail is grassy and quite pleasant and you see how it continues far ahead of you...

A splendid monopáti!

After 6 nice minutes, you arrive in front of a broad valley, you veer to the right and you go down, while you see very well the continuation of the path in front of you.

(0h11) After another 5 minutes, you descend in the river bed while keeping to the left, you cross a trickle of water and you go up again to the left between walls [7]. At first, you climb quickly, afterwards more slowly and after 4 minutes, you go down slowly to cross the next side valley.

(0h18) After the bed, you go up again while veering to the left and after 2-3 minutes, you begin an almost flat end, a real pleasure! Later, there is a difficult passage due to a wooden pallet, and after another fine stretch, you veer left [7] to go down in a third valley.

(0h29) You cross the shady dry bed and you go up again [7]. After 2 steep minutes, you follow again a splendid stretch that brings you on a gentle slope up to the asphalt road.

(0h35) But just before reaching the road, you can continue on a path to the left of the road and to the right of a wall ([7] on a picket); shortly after, next to a sewer-pipe, you should descend sharply to the left [7]: the descent on a rocky path is long, but after 4-5 minutes, you get to a beautiful flat stretch. Later on, you start a second and very rocky descent into the deep valley that lies underneath the scattered houses of Aládou. After a few minutes, the descent to the right becomes even steeper [7] and after 2 very steep minutes, you arrive on a nice spot between walls, with rocks and a brook.

A nice spot, down in the valley underneath Aládou.

You cross the water sharply to the left [7], then you climb many, most of the time rocky steps; you go through a wooden gate, you keep to the right during your climb [7] and, once arrived almost at the top, you first get to a grassy path, then to a small road that eventually comes to a gravel road that climbs to the right ([7] on a pole).

(0h55) You thus gets again to the asphalt road, just between the signs Sasá and Aládou - you continue straight ([7] on a pole).

[If you want to avoid the descent and ascent in this very deep valley, you could follow the asphalt road from the point (0h35) up to here, a distance of 500 meters.]

You now will follow this road for about 1.5 km until the first houses of Sasá. Here you go up a nice staircase to the right (picket [7]); a little further, you have to keep to the left and then you have to continue straight ahead in the direction of the church for about 2 minutes – do not mind the turns to the houses situated higher up. A little bit before the church you get to a concrete staircase off the right: there is a [7] and also the promising marble sign "Iera odós pros iera moní Panachrántou" – the "holy road to the sacred monastery of Panachrántou".

The promising sign of the "iera odós".

(1h15) You take a right: at the beginning, this staircase is also overgrown, but above, you veer left [7] and you now follow a beautiful trail that climbs slowly. You enjoy a nice view over the entire valley and Chóra. After 4 minutes, you start to surround the tub-shaped valley of Kouréli: The trail climbs under the trees and continues to veer to the left around the valley.

(1h22) Halfway, there is a path that comes from the left, from Kouréli; you keep to the right [7] and climb for 5 minutes on a steep and a rocky path. The beautiful trail then continues flatly underneath Mediterranean maples and oaks. Later on, it goes down a bit and still veers to the left - after another 4 minutes it crosses a little stream [7]. You go up - a steep climb for a while - and so you pass above Kouréli.


The nice path [7] between Sasá and the monastery.

(1h36) You pass the promontory [7] and you still ascend slowly for 5 minutes between 2 walls. You thus reach a cross-staircase where you go up to the right [7]: the climb becomes steeper, first on the stairs, then on another trail. You veer right to continue your steep climb, about 5 meters from the ascending wall. In Spring, the trail is rather vague because of the grass and flowers.

(1h46) You come for a moment against the wall, but then you meander right and left while going up - so you arrive to the right almost against another wall, then left again against the left wall - and here, you discover a beautiful view of the monastery [7]. You zigzag up, more or less next to the wall, with a magnificent view of the monastery and the entire valley until Chóra!

The monastery of Panachrántou.

In this way, you arrive at the parking lot, next to the monastery. Via the modern, white arch, indicating the entrance to the monastery, you descend on the staircase and you thus arrive at the beautiful terrace with the large plane-trees. (2h02)  

The inner courtyard of the monastery.

The Iera Moní Panachrántou – also called Agios Panteleïmonas - is located at an altitude of 500 m; one tells that the monastery dates from the 10th century, but the oldest historical indications only go back to the 16th century. You will find a wonderful icon in the church and also a beautiful wooden ikonostási from the 18th century. On the inner courtyards water streams from some wells and also the large dining hall and the old kitchen are interesting. Unfortunately, the wealthy library is not accessible.

The beautiful ikonostási in the Panachrántou-monastery.

When strolling around you definitely also have to walk all the way to the top: the view of the terraces surrounding you is really beautiful.

View from the dome of the church. Deep down you can spot the village of Chóra.

(2h02) For the return route you first pass the entrance arch, you then have to curve to the left sharply. You thus follow the asphalt road along the side and the back of the monastery. When arriving at the bend in the road, with a well on your right-hand side, the trail continues straight ahead underneath the trees (hiking pole [1] and old sign Fállika 45’ / Messariá 1h25). The path descends fast and the road is really self-evident, because the trail is well signposted with [1] – the gravel road on the left side is new and goes down to Fállika.

The following descent is absolutely marvellous; it takes about 25 minutes and you walk on a rocky trail with steps – the road is really unambiguous. In this way you get to a beautiful viewpoint – do not forget to look at the multitude of terraces underneath Fállika and at the ruins of the ancient village of Petriás.

The viewpoint with the beautiful panoramic view of Fállika.

You have to stay on the main trail: after another 135 steps, you arrive underneath the ruins at a bifurcation: the path that starts here to the left, is walk [18] that goes to Fállika and Aladinoú. You continue straight and your walk [1] now follows for a while that walk [18]. Slighly further, after only 10 steps, a trail starts to the right - it is here that walk [18] continues to Vrachnoú and Chóra, you take a sharp LEFT here.
fter 6 more minutes or 190 steps, you DO NOT go right, but you continue straight ahead; 1 minute later you keep to the right and at the next junction - where the path to the left leads towards Fállika - you continue straight.

(2h40) After another 2 minutes you arrive at a grassy junction between walls; on the right you notice an alternative trail to Chóra – this trail goes via Livádia and it is described in the hike Chóra -  Livádia - Petriás - Panachrántou and back.

For now, you go straight ahead (there are red dots and a [1]): this great trail descends quickly via countless steps, into the narrow valley underneath Fállika. After 10 minutes you reach the bed of a river, midst flowering oleanders (on the 12th of May 2005) and you follow this bed for a couple of minutes. You thus arrive at the marvellous arched bridge of Stichioméni, over the Megálos Potamós – the side bed you were following gets to this river at this point. You might want to rest for a little while, watching out over the water with frogs and turtles.

The Stichioméni-bridge on the path to Messariá.

(2h53) On the other side of the bridge you go down on the right towards the bed of the river; you follow this bed downstream, on the right-hand side of the wall. At first you walk between oleanders and other bushes next to the water, but quite quickly you find the staircase and the trail on the left – you thus rise above the valley.

Some five minutes after the bridge you continue straight ahead – you NO NOT go up steeply on the left. The following climb is quite strenuous and after 14 minutes your trail becomes a narrow gravel road. This road turns into concrete and gets to an asphalt road. You proceed straight ahead on an overgrown path; very soon this path becomes easier and it thus gets to the main road of Messariá, nearby the living tower of Kaïri. (3h11)

You go slightly to the right in order to arrive at the tavern of Diónysos; if this tavern is closed, you can find an old café even more to the right, just past the church. There is a shop attached to the café and it is open basically always. Over here you can wait for the bus from Gávrio and Batsí – in spring there was still a late bus around 7pm, but if necessary you can always call a taxi.

[If you are a fanatic hiker you can also go back to Chóra on foot. This will take another one and a half hour. For the directions, see the final part of the hike Chóra - Ménites - Moní Panachrántou.]

The living tower Káïri in Messariá.

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