Aïdónia - Ráchi - Agios Ioánnis and back

Evaluation: This hike in the very desolate southeast of Andros offers you some marvellous panoramic views. It will also bring you to the lonely beach of Agios Ioánnis or Kremmýdes, which you can in fact only reach on foot. Therefore, this hike gets an evaluation of ***. 
[Update in June 2010 by Jean-Paul Ovigne and Georges Roubaud.]

Estimated time: It will take you 50 minutes to hike from Aïdónia to the top of the Ráchi, a mountain ridge of almost 700 to 400 metres high. You then get to a long descent, first 25 minutes to the gravel road and then another 30 minutes to reach the beach. For the return route you can count on the same span of time, which brings you to a total actual walking time of 3h30. This will thus turn out to be a fairly long hiking day, with a picnic down at the beach, or, as we did, on the magnificent spot between beautiful walls, after a descent of some 20 minutes from the Ráchi...

Route description: [In order to leave from Aïdónia you can take a taxi from Ormos Korthíou, which is a short, so rather inexpensive trip. Or you can come on foot, which is a walk of 1.8 km along the asphalt road.

For this walk you leave from the roundabout with the mast in Ormos Korthíou. Over there you take the left-hand asphalt road, on the right of hotel Kórthi, and midst a lot of reed you walk past the petrol station. After some 800m you take a left (there is a signpost to Aïdónia) and in this way you climb for another 900m on the asphalt road. At the village you go up on the left again and some 100 metres further there is a parking place with a concrete slope on the left and a white staircase on the right.]

(0h00) You take the white staircase at the parking place under Aïdónia (100 m) and this staircase will soon become a narrow street. At the end of this street you go left and then left again until you arrive at the church – a good identifying mark. Under the arch on the right of the church you then take the white staircase going up; you walk underneath a second church and you thus get to a concrete slope which you follow up on the right. Above the second church you take yet another staircase which takes you higher and higher through the village. You walk horizontally for a short while and then you go up again, along a metal water pipe. Almost eight minutes later, just past a fountain without a tap, you find a small street descending on the right. However, you go up on the LEFT until you reach the point where a small concrete road gets to a dead end. Over here, on the right, you see the beginning of the staircase which marks the actual trail.

(0h08) You go up quickly now, on a crumbled staircase and after three minutes you get to a trail coming from the left – you continue straight ahead and up, on stones that have slid down. Thereafter the path becomes fairly good again and after one minute you go up on the right.

Panoramic view on the gulf of Kórthi.

A little while later you have to clamber over a faggot – a primitive barrier against the goats you will encounter a little further on the trail. The steep and rocky trail becomes really beautiful and also fairly broad, running on the left of a wall. Some five minutes later you walk on the right of a few aerials and further on the trail gets narrower again. 

The beautiful climb to the Ráchi.

(0h19) You go up on the left, along a metal and a black water pipe. You climb over a metal gate and you continue up between the ruins of stables – the water pipe indicates that some of these stables are still being used. Past the ruins the monopáti becomes flatter and after another five minutes you get to a small concrete road, which you follow to the right and past a little chapel.  
You curve to the left; the concrete turns into gravel and after six minutes of gravel road you arrive at a closed chapel with a red roof. After another 1-2 minutes you have to watch out: on the right of the small road five concrete steps indicate the continuation of the path.

(0h31) The trail goes up quickly now and after 6-7 minutes you reach a first hill crest – from now on the trail becomes much flatter. Another 9 minutes later you keep to the left and now you gradually describe a curve to the left, following a nice trail. This trail still seems to be used quite often, as is indicated by the traces of donkey manure. After staying on the trail for a little over 15 minutes you arrive at a very windy crest, between wonderful walls. In this way you finally get to the gravel road which follows the entire Ráchi. The Ráchi is the name of the tall mountain ridge located in the southwest of Andros. It starts at the 684-metres high summit called Profítis Ilías – again, and it gradually descends to the northeast, right across the width of the island, until the cape of Orgínou. You are now at an altitude of about 480 metres.

(0h50) Straight across you take the right-hand path that goes down. After two minutes you keep to the left and you keep descending with a great panoramic view on the island of Tínos and the narrow strait.

The beginning of the descent to Agios Ioánnis.

Very soon you will now get a marvellous view on the beach of Agios Ioánnis, your final destination. 

The beach of Agios Ioánnis.

Some four minutes later your trail curves to the right and it continues between the corner of a nice wall and a stable with an alóni (threshing floor) next to it. 

(0h54) Little by little this beautiful trail will now describe a large curve to the left and arrive at the crossing of gravel roads that you can already see down in front of you.
About 7 minutes later you pass a magnificent alóni and you still have a great view on Agios Ioánnis.

A nice alóni with, far beyond, Agios Ioánnis.

The broad trail continues between walls, with a view on Tínos – if you would rather not descend to the beach, you can have a great picnic over here.
After 14 minutes all together you keep to the left, towards the sea and then you begin with the marvellous descent between beautiful, tall walls, made of standing stones – highly esthetical! 

The very esthetical path to Agios Ioánnis.

After this descent of some 21 minutes you will reach the gravel road.

(1h15) The trail continues straight across and the gravel road running on its right-hand side curves to the left a little further down. This means that the trail and the road will cross each other all the time when going down. But you' ll have to follow the gravel road all the time, because the path is covered by a very dense vegetation.

The sandy beach is really beautiful. (1h45) 

The beach of Agios Ioánnis (photo by Jean-Paul Ovigne)..

(1h45) During your way back, you follow first the same road.

(2h15) From the gravel road you can of course follow the same beautiful trail up to the Ráchi. Instead, we decided to follow the mountain side, since we wanted to walk a little out of the wind. Therefore, our return route took a little longer than the way out.  
To follow this route, you have to take the gravel road to the left (if you went al the way to the beach, you go here of course to the right!) for many minutes, going up gradually most of the time – after 4 minutes you no not take a right and down, but you continue to the left. After 16-17 minutes you get to a nice trail coming from the right – indicated by means of a cairn. This trail also comes from Agios Ioánnis. A few minutes further on you describe a curve to the left and you notice that you will have to climb up even more. You should have a look at the walls, marking the entire landscape.

(2h47) After 32 minutes you reach a crossing on the extremely windy Ráchi: the road on the left follows the Ráchi (there is a signpost to Iera Moní Zoödóchou Pigís). On the right there is another road going down – most likely, this road goes all the way to  Ormos Korthíou by describing a whole lot of curves. You go straight ahead.
Very soon you get a nice view on the bay of Kórthi; you curve to the left and you go to the west, most of the time by descending slightly. All the time you have the same beautiful view. Some 22 minutes later you pass a big ruin with five steps on the left: this is the beginning of your trail that went up a little earlier today.
Shortly thereafter you reach the chapel with the red roof, a nice place to have some rest. You then follow the gravel road until you arrive at the ruins and stables; at a curve to the right the gravel road becomes concrete. Watch out here: just past the curve the trail continues on the left between two stables.

(3h16) About two minutes later you have to climb over a wooden barrier and then you get to the beginning of a very steep descent, over some bumpy terrain. After yet another two minutes you have to climb over a metal fence. The path gets more beautiful again, running between walls. On the right you notice the aerials and in front of you, you can already see Aïdónia. After 3-4 minutes you go straight ahead, along the black water pipe and slightly further you have to clamber over the faggot. The trail gets somewhat sloppy and a little later you have to keep to the left, towards the village. You thus arrive at the spot where the small concrete road runs to a dead end: you go left, onto a concrete staircase next to a blue rail.

(3h29) You go down all the time, by keeping to the right (when reaching the blue dogs). After another four minutes you reach a little lane where you take a right, until you get to the church. Before the church you follow the staircase on the left and going down, but then you keep to the right. In this way you arrive at the parking place again. (3h37)  

[Possibly, you can still follow the asphalt road to the right, leading to Ormos Korthíou.]  


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