Akrotíri - Panagía Kímisis - Mésa Pigádia - Lighthouse - Akrotíri

Evaluation: This walk is after all a pleasant walk, which takes place in a part of Santoríni which remains unknown to most visitors to the island. There are some beautiful trails, but unfortunately this walk follows some sections of gravel roads and a long stretch of asphalt road - at least if you want to continue up to the lighthouse. It remains interesting that this walk  take place quite often among the vines and that it offers, above the village of Akrotíri, a splendid view of the caldera. Deserves **.
[The translation of this walk was made with some help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: It takes 25 minutes to arrive in the village of Akrotíri, then another 20 minutes until the Panagía Kímisis and half an hour until the beach of Mésa Pigádia.
The walk up to the lighthouse takes 40 minutes, including 20 minutes on a gravel road and another 20 minutes on an asphalt road...
The actual walking time (AWT) of the way out thus amounts to a little less than 2 hours.
The way back from the lighthouse to the village of Akrotíri requires an hour (always in AWT) – with almost 40 minutes on the asphalt! -, so that the total AWT mounts up to 3 hours.
If you choose to return from the beach of Mésa Pigádia by the same route, it will take a little less than 50 minutes to reach Akrotíri - in this case, the actual walking time amounts to 2h05...

Route description: [There are fairly frequent buses that connect Firá to Akrotíri; you can get out near the excavations or slightly below, where the road ends near the seaside. In this case, you should return until the excavations, which only takes 2 minutes.
In 2008, there were buses back to Firá at 2.20pm, 3.50pm , 5.35pm and 8:35pm.
The excavation site was closed for quite a few years, bus it reopened in the Summer 2012...]

(0h00) From the black beach of Akrotíri, you retrace your steps on the road for a little over 2 minutes, until next the excavations. Once there, you cross the large parking lot until the other side. In the left corner, to the left of a small white building, there is a faint trail that goes up to a terrace where you go right. You follow a basalt supporting wall on the left side and you get in this way to a nice path which runs at the foot of the hill. You go to right -  at the beginning, the trail has an uneven pavement, made of black and red basalt stones. To the right, you see the covered site of Akrotíri and further on the Profítis Ilías; soon enough, you discover in front of you the village of Akrotíri. Shortly thereafter, the monopáti continues in the midst of a lot of ​​daisies (1 May 2011); later on, it continues on volcanic ash or pumice stone, between basalt walls - these are the remains of the great eruption of the 17th century BC.



The path runs in the midst of a lot of flowers towards Akrotíri.

(0h16) You are approaching the village: you veer right in front of a beautiful orchard of almond trees and you arrive at a parking lot, located below the village. You follow an asphalt road to the right and you thus get to the main road, which you follow to the left until the second turn, just after the bus stop. You take a left there  onto a narrow asphalt road that enters the village; you get to a little street that goes up until you get near the neoclassical building of the primary school "Spíros Marinátos."

(0h25) You continue left and at the left side of  a church that seems too restored: the white staircase going up here on the left leads up to the wooden gate in a narrow passage to the kástro.
[This kástro was built in red and black lava stones; it offers a beautiful view of the village, the volcano, Firá and Ia. For the moment, the kástro is being restored.]

Back at the bottom of the stairs, you continue straight along the wall of the church, and you get again to the asphalt road that you follow to the right. In a sharp right turn, you continue straight into staircase-street; further on, you take the first little concrete street to the left and you thus continue through the village - and you get a beautiful view over the village and the plain with vineyards.
You continue climbing white steps and you reach at the end of the village a small concrete road, with on the left side a chapel - here you go up to the right.
Once arrived at a fork - with a minimarket right - you go left and you follow the concrete road up to another fork, with to the left with a small church with a blue dome. You go up to the right here, on a concrete road, and soon you get a magnificent view on the slopes all around Akrotíri with further the Profítis Ilías and on its right side the silhouette of Anáfi - and lots of flowers in the spring.

View on the slopes around Akrotíri.

You climb until you reach a left turn, and there you take the beautiful trail in front of you, that passes underneath a large ocher villa, next to a black retaining wall.

(0h37) In the next turn of the monopáti, you get in front of you one of the most beautiful views of Santoríni: below, there is an ocean of yellow flowers with behind those slopes the whole archipelago of Santoríni, with Thirasiá to left, then Paliá Kamméni and Néa Kámmeni with its volcano, the caldera with Ia to the left (and behind it the island of Síkinos), then Firá, Pýrgos, the Profítis Ilías and the plain of Akrotíri.



On ocean of flowers, to the right of your trail to the Panagía Kímisis.

The 3-4 minutes that follow are really beautiful: the trail continues on ashes, on pumice or small black stones. You meet two bifurcations, where you should NOT take a left towards the fields. So you continue straight, just above the road, but finally you get to this road. On the left side, there is the chapel of Agios Ioánnis, with to the left concrete steps leading down to the Panagía Kímisis.
Usually, there is on the right side a little stall with a choice of wines of Santoríni and other local products.

A nice wine stall, to the right of your path from Akrotíri to Mésa Pigádia.

(0h44) You go down the concrete steps on your left and you thus arrive quite at the bottom, next to the big church, which in reality is a small monastery. You find a path, which at the beginning is a bit neglected, but later becomes quite beautiful and continues between the vineyards. After 4-5 minutes, you reach a gravel road, which you follow for 1 minute to the left; in a left turn, you discover another path in front of you. It continues again for a few minutes between walls of black lava and vineyards, which are strewn with black stones, which provide the heat required for the Visanto, the famous sweet wine. This is still the island of Santoríni of yesteryear!



A vineyard, with the typical round vines...

(0h52) You get again to a gravel road that descends to the left towards the beach of Kambiá (sign "Kambiá Beach"). However, you should take the gravel road JUST OPPOSITE, which winds down into an eroded valley, between slopes that are covered with vineyards. Be careful now: after exactly 10 minutes, next to a metal fence with behind it a fig tree, you climb a narrow path; it turns to the right and it gets again to a gravel road.

[It is here that you will come back later on.]

(1h02) You descend to the left and you finally get to the "beach" of Mésa Pigádia, covered with large black stones.


The black beach of Mésa Pigádia.

(1h16) After a possible break for swimming or a picnic, you retrace your steps and climb the steep gravel road for about 11 minutes. Just past a small road to the left and almost in front of a house surrounded by a wall, the path you have followed a little while ago, gets off to the right, to the right of a black wall.

[If you want to return to Akrotíri by the shortest route - the route you followed during the way out – you should continue as follows:
- take the path to the right along the black wall -  it leads after a few minutes to the gravel road (next to the fig tree)
- you go up to the left for 10 minutes
- you reach the crossroad, where you should take the path just opposite, between the vineyards
- you get to the other gravel road after a few minutes, where you have to go left for 1 minute, and then to the right on the path
- you thus arrive after another 4-5 minutes next to the Panagía and climb the stairs to the right of it, until you get to the asphalt road – from there, you can follow the walk described at the point (2h39) below.]

(1h27) If, on the contrary, you prefer to continue to the lighthouse, you should go STRAIGHT while following the gravel road for another 4 minutes. You then get to the asphalt road, which you follow to the left for 1.4 km.

(1h45) About 500 m before arriving near the lighthouse, there is a bend in the road:  a small gravel road starts to the left, on the left side of a few houses. You thus arrive at the top of a hill, crowned with a geodesic pole (altitude 135 meters). You will enjoy a beautiful view of the cape with its lighthouse.

The cape of Akrotíri with the lighthouse.

From the top, a path leads in 5 minutes to the lighthouse. (1h56)

The lighthouse of Akrotíri.

(1u56) In order to return to Akrotíri, you should unfortunately follow the asphalt road: after about 20 minutes, you pass the gravel road that comes from Mésa Pigádia which you followed earlier. The road continues for another 1.4 kilometers or 18 minutes: you pass 2 small asphalt roads on the right and a gravel road down to the beach of Kambiá.

(2h34) Once arrived near the next asphalt road, you descend to the right. You thus arrive at the gate in the fence surrounding the Panagía, which is mostly closed. To the left of it however, you find a faint trail that continues to the left of a wall, and then on a terrace; it leads to the stairs just right of the Panagía. You climb of course to the left and get again to the asphalt road (with just opposite the stall of wine).

(2h39) You take a right, but soon you see the narrow trail that continues to the right, just above the road. You keep to the left at a fork, further to the right, and you go up with beautiful views. Finally you get to the concrete road, next to the large villa.

(2h46) You descend straight ahead, but after less than 2 minutes, you should keep to the left, and again 2 minutes later, next to the store, you go to the right; shortly thereafter, you keep to the to left, while continuing to descend.
You are already seeing the kástro in front of you and always descend in that direction. You thus arrive at the asphalt road, but in the bend, you keep to the left again on a concrete street. You arrive in this way in front of the kástro where you go left: you pass the school and descend until the asphalt road. The bus stop is on the right, and a little further to the right, there is the cozy tavern Zaforá. (2h58)

[In April 2011, there was a bus at 5.50pm - but we advise of course to have a look at the bus schedules before your departure.]

 

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