Ano Aprovátou - Ano Pitrofós and back

Evaluation: This hike takes place high above the west coast of Andros, between Ano Aprovátou and Ano Pitrofós; it is thus the first part of the long walk that crosses the whole island, which is described in the walk Ano Aprovátou - Chóra . There is a very good sign-posting with the number [9]. Throughout the hike the scenery is beautiful, first with beautiful views of the coast at the level of Paleópolis and farther, on the path to Pitrofós, you could feel like in the Alps. The monopátia were, a few years ago, just beautiful, over the entire length of the hike, but recently a gravel road destroyed the old trail over a length of 20 minutes, a real shame. However, a good part of the path always consists of kalderímia which are very well preserved since it is the very old trail that led from Gávrio and Batsí to Chóra. The walk is always worth the maximum evaluation of ****.
[Updated by Raymond on 3 October 2012.]
[The translation of this walk was made with some help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: Until the turn of the walk, a little before Ano Pitrofós, this hike takes about 1h40, in actual walking time (AWT); the way back takes almost the same time. We walked from 11am until 17pm, so 6 hours in TWT.

Route description
: [Since this is a walk there and back, you can take the car to reach the start of the hike, in the hamlet of Drása, a part of the village of Ano Aprovátou. If you come from Chóra by the main road, you should take the first exit to the right towards Ano Aprovátou (road sign and sign to the restaurant "Balkóni tou Aigéou").]

(0h00) The hike begins in the sharp turn, just beyond the small chapel of Agios Nektários. The asphalt road continues to the left (signposted to "Balkóni tou Aigéou"), while you should take a small concrete road on the right – in front of you, you can see the sign of the hamlet of Drása (blue marks only). You continue for 2 minutes, then a small path leads to the left, and another path continues straight: you take the path between the two, under a striking leaning rock (hiking sign and [9]). You are now at an altitude of 400 meters and you might recognize the typical smell of mountainous regions.

The hiking sign on the leaning rock, at the beginning of walk [9].

(0h08) You proceed on the nice earthen path for about 6 minutes, and then you get to a small road that you follow straight ahead – it has replaced the old monopáti. Another 2-3 minutes later, the road ascends to the left, another goes right down - you continue straight [9]. Again 2 minutes later, there is a bifurcation, where you take a left (no marks).

(0h20) After some 8 minutes, you clearly see the old path on your right - what a difference: it is varied and often continues in the shade of trees. You have to continue on a monotonous road that seems completely useless – it really shocks us to see the beautiful remains of the old path and to think that one could have save the old path by constructing the road a few metres to the left… -

(0h28) Only after twenty minutes the road comes to a dead end and you can finally proceed on the splendid trail that continues straight. The difference is huge: the trail is shaded and varied, while the road was hot and monotonous.

The splendid shaded monopáti. 

After 6 minutes, you begin a short steep climb, next to big rocks - there are many water pipes, which come from sources located above on the left. The following beautiful stretch continues on open ground. Further, the trail has subsided for a couple of metres and you should walk a little higher up, parallel to the trail. You are now close to Paleópolis and in the bay you can clearly distinguish the line of the ancient harbour dam under water. In the sea you can also see (from left to right) the isle of Sýros, the uninhabited island of Giáros with the island of Kýthnos beyond and then the island of Kéa.

Panoramic view on the bay of Paleópolis.

(0h40) On top, you arrive at a sort of rocky amphitheater, which your path will surround more or less; after a few minutes, you cross a bed with water, despite the very hot summer (3 October 2012) . It is worth to go a little further to the left to see the small waterfalls. Then, you follow again the wonderful trail that continues high above Paleópolis.

(0h49) After 9 minutes, you pass a rocky cape, a perfect observation point. Further, you arrive again in a rocky side valley where you cross another little stream with a waterfall on the left - you really feel like in the Alps ...
You climb again, first on a trail with a beautiful pavement, then on a magnificent staircase; at the top, you continue almost horizontally, sometimes on large flat stones.

A marvellous trail!

(1h03) You pass a third brook, you veer to the right, but further on, the path is blocked: you are supposed to descend climbing down towards the gravel road that lies 10 meters below. Pay attention now: after about 4 minutes and BEFORE the high-tension cables, the trail continues to the left ( marks and [9]). The beautiful trail now crosses the whole crest of the hill between walls with sharp stones, while pursuing parallel to the power line.

The path continues between nice walls, to cross the crest of the hill.

(1h19) The walls are getting closer to each other, but shortly after, the right wall veers to the right - your path continues straight along the left wall [9].

[A little to the right there is a sign: it indicates the direction of Paleópolis and indeed you could go down in this way to that village...]

So you continue straight, but a little later, you get onto a gravel road that you follow to the right, again in the direction of the high-voltage cable and the aerials; only a few minutes later, there is again a nice trail that goes left between walls - the gravel road that continues straight ahead, leads to the crossing of Stavropéda.

It is here that the path goes left again, towards Ano Pitrofós.

(1h23) You now walk more in eastern direction, towards the interior of the island, and you can already distinguish the trail far away in front of you. You descend first in a slight depression, mostly between walls. A little later, you continue on beautiful flat stones.

The pavement of the path was often made with large, flat stones!

You step over a water shoot that comes from the slopes on the left, then there is again a splendid stretch: you descend into a riverbed, where you step with some difficulty over the water on stones.

(1h32) The beautiful pavement recommences and the path goes up between walls.

The beginning of a new stretch of nice pavement... 

You slowly veer to the left in order to cross the broad crest of the hill and you finally get to a sort of rocky plateau, where the walls diverge. Again you follow the left wall, while the white tower of the church of Pitrofós appears in front of you. Here you can enjoy a wide panorama, where you see on the opposite hills the three villages of Fállika, Kouréli and Sasá. You might wonder who has incorporated all those flat stones in the pavement and in the walls!

It is here that you could find a nice place for a picnic. Then, you will retrace your steps.
If you still want to continue to Ano Pitrofós and even up to Strapouriés, you can follow the instructions in the long hike Ano Aprovátou - Strapouriés - Chóra.

(1h40) During your way back, you
first follow the splendid stretch with flat paving stones - it is interrupted after 7 minutes by the valley where you should step over the water on step stones; after another 4 minutes, you cross the water shoot.
(1h53) The trail continues between walls, but a few minutes later, you follow the right wall, then you get again between two walls - and you continue to do so until the gravel road.

(2h00) You take a right [9], but already after a little less than 3 minutes, next to the sharp rock [9], you go left again: the path is initially rather vague, but further, you come next to a wall and later on between two walls - it is here that the path from Paleópolis joins your path.
You gradually veer to the right [9] and just past the last power pylon, you arrive at the small road that you follow to the right - the landscape here is very impressive. Do NOT go too fast to the right (so do NOT mount the 3 steps where there is a red mark!) – only 40 meters BEFORE the bend in the road, near a large rock, you should climb the slope on your right, to get to the old trail through a breach in the wall.

(2h19) You follow the trail to the left of course, you cross a slight depression and the first brook, then you climb between walls and on flat stones [9]. Here starts the splendid stretch with wonderful views of the coast!
Further on, you descend on a nice staircase or a path, and you arrive in the rocky valley: the murmur of the water comes to meet you and you cross the second stream. The trail is still very picturesque and continues in a magnificent landscape.

A very picturesque path...

You descend again in a beautiful valley and cross the third stream. It is very nice to relax a bit here in the shadow of high cliffs and beside the refreshing water.

(2h35) A little later, you continue a few minutes above the trail itself, which is blocked - but you quickly return to the true path. You continue as on a balcony and you pass a water tank, cut in the rock. The descent on steps is very steep now, and there are many water pipes beside you.
During the following 5-6 minutes, the trail is well shaded, and becomes quite narrow between vegetation - and then, unfortunately, you get to the gravel road that destroyed the trail.

(2h50) You have to follow this road for 17 minutes - the old path on your left seems at first still passable, but it is better to stay on the road, because the path is often obstructed by vegetation. After 14-15 minutes, you arrive at the crossroads where you continue straight on concrete. You pass a round water-tank, and then, in a bend of the road, the old trail finally continues straight.

(3h07) You can follow this nice trail for 6 more minutes, and finally you get to the concrete road, under the inclining rock. After another 2 minutes, you reach the asphalt road, where you left your car. (3h15)

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