Ano Aprovátou - Ano Pitrofós - Strapouriés

Evaluation: Without doubt this hike is the most beautiful and also the easiest short-cut of the island, from west to east. From Ano Aprovátou to Strapouriés, where the hike stops officially, it is very well indicated by means of the trail marker [9]. The landscape is fantastic all the way long, with at first nice views on the coast near Paleópolis and with an almost “Alps-like feeling” in the part to Pitrofós.
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 ****.
[Update by Jean-Paul Ovigne en Georges Roubaud
in June 2010 and by Raymond on 3 October 2012.]

Estimated time: The hike to Strapouriés takes 3h15 in actual hiking time (AWT); by taking it rather easy we hiked from 11am to 6pm.

Route description: [In order to reach the point of departure of the hike, the hamlet of Drása in Ano Aprovátou, the best thing to do is to catch a taxi (17 € from Chóra to Ano Aprovátou). You can then ask the taxi to stop at the tavern Ano Aprovátou, in a large curve of the asphalt road. If the taxi driver is not familiar with this spot, you can get off a little further down at the very striking and wonderfully situated tavern "Balkóni tou Aigéou".
It is cheaper to catch the bus (the line Chóra-Batsí-Gávrio) and then you have to get off on the main road, at the junction to the higher located village of Ano Aprovátou. This means, however, that you have to walk for 2 km on a climbing asphalt road – not very pleasant. 
From the tavern "Balkóni tou Aigéou" you have to follow the asphalt road back again for a short while, in southern direction.

(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!

(1h40) You meander downwards – you should have a look at the twisted rock layers, a little further down at the beautiful bridge made out of three stones and a lot further also at another bridge consisting of one huge rock.

A little bridge on the path to Pitrofós.

(1h49)Towards the end the trail is less well preserved and you get to a gravel road, where you take a left. Slightly later on you reach the first houses of Pitrofós, where you keep to the left again. Later on you go straight ahead, still following the number [9]. You thus arrive at the washing place with the Barbéri-well – and with very refreshing water.

(1h55) A little later, the small street curves to the right and it gets to the asphalt road: on the right you can see an information sign and on the left there is the Chélmi-olive mill. Even when this mill is closed you can find two signs with information inside: the mill dates from the year 1875, it is built in flat stones and it was used until 1967.

The Chélmi-olive mill in Pitrofós.

You follow the asphalt road to the left and 2 minutes further down you arrive at the vrísi (well) Páno Réma, with a real picnic spot. An information sign sends you straight ahead up the staircase and you thus reach the kalderími, on the left of the asphalt road.

(1h59) Very soon, though, the old trail gets to a concrete slope, which you follow to the left for a couple of metres. Almost immediately you then take a right on a gravel road [9]. You can now see the “familiar” valley in front of you, with the Panachrántou monastery on the far right, the village of Fállika underneath and to the left the village of Vrachnoú situated above Chóra. After 4-5 minutes the rocky gravel road runs to a dead end and you arrive again at the old trail between walls. The actual church of the principal village of Pitrofós is now situated underneath and on your right-hand side. After some 8 minutes you leave the annoying iron wire on top of the wall on your right-hand side behind and the path becomes wonderful again – all the time you walk between the already familiar Andriotic walls. Under your feet and on the walls you can also notice many small black, wriggling grasshoppers.

The beautiful pavement of the path during the walk [9].

Another 12 minutes later you first curve to the left and further down, on an open space between walls, you keep to the right – watch out: you have to go through the iron gate and then you will see the number [9] on the wall again.

(2h27) After two minutes you arrive at such another open space between walls: you keep to the left here (there is a dot and a number [9]). As far as you can see, everywhere you can spot the typically constructed walls! Slightly further on you can distinguish Chóra for the first time, to the right over the wall. A little later you get to a junction, where you take a left. The following stretch is really beautiful again: at first you have a nice view on the green village of Ménites, and then on the elongated village of Messariá with the large, square living tower of Kaïri. The trail is often shaded now and some 5 minutes after the junction it goes through a small green valley.
After four minutes
, you pass a very simple, square chapel with a very plain interior and a flat roof made of stone. From the doorway, or even better from the wall just past the chapel, you can see the church of Ménites (with a white tower and a red roof). You can guess the location of the wells in front of this church.

(2h45) The rocky trail is easier now, since it is flat. Another 5 minutes later you arrive at a nice crossing of 4 paths: you go through the iron gate and you continue straight ahead.

[The nice trail going down on the right leads to Ménites – also this could be a good short-cut, especially if you have not been to Ménites yet. You thus might have a look at the hike  Chóra - Strapouriés - Ménites - Messariá. In about fifteen minutes you can reach Ménites; from there it takes about 25 minutes on foot to get to Messariá, where the final bus to Chóra usually leaves at 7pm.]

If you continue on the trail straight ahead to Strapouriés, you have to descend into a small, rocky valley after a couple of minutes. You then go up again and you arrive at a part of the trail that is very shaded and cool. After 5 minutes you can see the first houses of Strapouriés fairly nearby, and you also have a nice panoramic view on Chóra.

The nice path in the neighbourhood of Ménites.

Some 3 minutes later you keep to the left; after 2 minutes you then take a right and after another 3 minutes you go left again – you thus get to a small concrete road, just above the houses with the red roofs you saw from far away already. You go left on the concrete road for a short while, but very soon you take the old trail again. This trail continues on the right-hand side of the concrete road and it leads in the direction of the houses of Strapouriés that are situated higher up. After another 5 minutes you will finally reach the asphalt road. (3h14)

Here, you can choose from two possibilities: you can continue on foot to Chóra and follow first trail [10] and later trail [1]. The walk [10] starts on the opposite side of the road, see the second part of hike Chóra - Evrousés - Strapouriés - Chóra, starting from point (2h26) – you will need some 1h10 (AWT) until Chóra.
You could also follow the road for 2 minutes to the left, until you get to the
the large tavern of Terpsichóri tou Pertési (closed off season) or a little further to the church – here, you can call for a taxi.




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