Ano Merá - Paleókastro - Fteliá and back

Evaluation: This short and not so interesting hike departs from the ancient capital of the island, the town of Ano Merá. It brings you to Fteliá, one of the beaches situated in the north of the island, in the large bay of Pánormos. The hike gets an evaluation of *.

Estimated time: The actual walking time to Fteliá only takes 45 minutes for the way out and also 45 minutes for the way back. A good hike if you want to spend half a day on the beach.

Route description: [Ano Merá as a place to stay is preferable to the very busy and noisy town of Chóra, definitely in high season. If you do stay in Chóra, you can take the bus to Ano Merá and Kalafáti at the bus station close to the old harbour, behind the OTE building. Mid May 2007 there were busses at 10am, 1pm, 5pm and 8pm.]

(0h00) You leave from the beautifully laid out platía, with a few restaurants. The monastery of Panagía Tourlianí is located along one of the long sides of the square. At first sight this monastery looks rather insignificant, hidden behind a black outer wall. But behind the wall and the fortified gate you find an elegant church dating from 1767. In that year the church was rebuilt after the destruction of an earlier monastery from the 16th century. 

The fortified face of the monastery of Tourlianí.

Inside, the monastery contains a lot of cells and it is much bigger than expected; also the elegant campanile, built with marble from Tínos, is remarkable.

The tower of the Panagía Tourlianí.

The richly decorated and baroque ikonostási is striking as well – it is made by craftsmen from Florence and it dates from the year 1775.

When leaving the monastery you go right and you take the left-most of the two small streets – in this way you arrive at the main road. You follow this road to the left for a short while, in the direction of Chóra, past the hill ridge with a mill on top of it. You take a right after 4 minutes (there is a sign post to Paleókastro). You pass underneath the mill and on the left you already have a nice view on the distant beaches. You then approach the monastery of Paleókastro, which does look a little defensive. Before the monastery you take a left and you thus reach the fortified building, dating from 1782. Although we rang the bell several times, the gate remained closed…

The fortified monastery of Paleókastro.

(0h11) You walk past the monastery and you go up, thus passing the hill top with the ruins of the Kástro Ghizi. This fort was built by the Venetians in the 13th century and it dominated the island. A sign tells you that this is private property, so inaccessible. The road descends and it gives you a beautiful view on the bay of Fteliá, your final destination.

This sign is the only evidence of the former kástro...

(0h15) Close to the small chapel of Nikólaos, you find a trail off the left, between walls – on the left-hand side of a gravel road. You can easily follow this path for a number of minutes, but then it gets to a small gorge and it runs to a dead end. You clamber to the small field on the right and you go down, in the direction of a small house. You then go even more to the right and after 2 minutes you get to a gravel road. You walk through a metal gate and you continue on this gravel road. When it turns into concrete you keep to the left, following the gravel road. After about 12 minutes you thus arrive at a couple of houses.

(0h27) You go straight ahead, on a climbing concrete road. By following the road you curve a little too much into the interior of the island. Fortunately, though, just before you reach a steep slope, you can proceed on the right of a dried up bed of a river. You continue into this bed or next to it.
You cross a sandy road, but you proceed straight ahead on a vague sandy road, straight towards the beach. Via a platform littered with plastic you walk through a couple of small dunes and in this way you get to the beach, which is also littered with rubbish (on the 19th of May 2007).

(0h33) You go left and past a low, rocky cape you arrive at a second, very beautiful sandy beach. Unfortunately, this beach is dirty and rather shaggy as well – this seems to be far away from the glamour of the famous beaches of Mýkonos. But maybe, these beaches give a better impression in summer and when it is less windy (0h45).

The bay of Fteliá.

[On the left of the house at the far end of the beach, there is a small road going up. In this way you can walk along the coast a little higher up, but our search for a road or a path in the direction of Pánormos has yielded nothing interesting.]

After having spent a few hours on the beach you can return to Ano Merá by following the same route.

 

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