Apíranthos - Fanári - Moní

Evaluation: This hike starts in the beautiful village of Apíranthos, it goes to the summit of the Fanári and it continues through an impressive landscape to Moní. Because of the marvellous panoramic view from this 883-metres-high top and because of the wonderful rock landscapes, this hike deserves an evaluation of ***. Some stretches in the second half are difficult to follow.
[Update by Raymond on September 28th 2011, on September 19th 2015 and on June 11th 2021.]

Estimated time: It takes about 40 minutes to hike to the top of the Fanári-mountain and then 1h45 to Moní. This makes for 2h25 of actual hiking time (AWT), for a total length of 5,74 km, which  proves that we didn’t make good progress on some points. I reality, you should devote about 5-6 hours (TWT) to this hike – we walked from 10am to 4pm. Usually, there are no buses in Moní. You can perhaps continue to Chalkí, where you can take the bus or a taxi.

Route description: [Do not get off at the first bus stops in Apíranthos, but wait until the bus reaches the furthest part of the village, after having described a large bend. On the left you will see the church Kímissis tis Theotókou and on your right-hand side there is a large war monument. From this bus stop you enter the village, where you can first wander around for about one hour.]

[You first get to a rectangular square with the shop of "The Aperinthian women’s association" (where they sell all kinds of different textile), with some fancy bars and with the workshop "Apiranthos Art". The square leads to a beautiful street, paved with marble tiles: to the left there is the café Samarádiko with a great outdoor terrace; you also pass the tiny little church of Agios Sardónis. A little further down you get to the archaeological museum that was established by Michaïl Bardáni: to be seen in this museum are a lot of small Cycladic statues, a clay vase from the 3rd millennium BC, a geometric tripodos from the 8th century, some prehistoric stone tools, bronze arrowheads, etc.

The platía of Apíranthos.

You then reach a small platía with beautiful houses from 1846 and 1897. Above these houses you find the folk museum, consisting of three rooms of a not too old house: in the living room, the kitchen and the bedroom you can see all kinds of traditional objects and tools. If you want to, you can then continue to walk in the street for a little while, whereupon you should return to your point of departure. If you follow the asphalt road further to the left for a short while, you can also pop into the museums of natural sciences and geology.]

(0h00) You begin this walk on the square, opposite the church of Kímissi tis Theotókou (so to the right, if you come from the asphalt road), and you take  the marble staircase (hiking sign Fanári 30' / Moní 1h50 + [8]).

The marble staircase in Apíranthos, where the hike [8] begins.

After 42 steps you go RIGHT - with a kamára (or archway) on the left side - and then you take a left (2 X red mark). After a flat stretch, you turn left, right and left again, and then you go up again on steps (red dot). After another flat stretch, you go up again and take a left until you reach a small concrete road.

(0h06) You are here in the northwest tip of the village, with on the left the church of Agia Paraskeví with its white dome.

Above Apíranthos, the little church of Agia Paraskeví.

You follow across another small concrete road [8], which rises to the right of the ruins of a mill; the road turns right until you pass a large cistern after some 200 metres.

(0h10) At this point a path starts sharply to the left (hiking sign Fanári / Moní and [8]).

The hiking sign for the walks [8], high above Apíranthos.

[[The other branch of walk [8] continues to follow the little road - see the hike Apíranthos - Sífones - Stavrós - Keramotí.]

You thus take a sharp left, but a little later, you go right through a breach in a wall and you pass through a gate in reinforcing steel (red dot). Later, the trail winds and describes 4 times turns right and left. The retaining walls of the monopáti are still clearly visible, but also the red dots are convenient, as the trail is rather vague in the beginning. The path goes up fairly steeply and behind you, you can see that Apíranthos is quite extensive – it also appears to consist of two parts. Beyond the village, towards the south east, you have a great view on the island of Donoússa (on the far left), the island of Amorgós and behind the hill the other small islands or “eremonisiá” (the little islands between Náxos and Amorgós).

Panoramic view over Apíranthos.

(0h18) After climbing up steeply for about six minutes you go through another breach in a wall; the trail then continues in between walls, but it is very stony and quite steep. You then walk again on a marvellous stone monopáti, that climbs gently on the almost white slope of the Fanári - further, there are also beautiful steps, then you come again between quite abundant vegetation (two cairns).


The path to the Fanári.

The summit of the Fanári.

(0h28) Ten minutes after the breach, you get to a clear junction: a red arrow directs you to the right sharply, at an altitude of 750 metres. Further on you arrive at a gravel road, which you follow to the right. Three-four minutes later though, you arrive at windy pass between the top of the Fanári and a lower summit on your right.

[If you miss the bifurcation, you simply can continue straight on, because you will arrive anyway at the gravel road, where you should take a right of course.
If you decide not to go up to the summit of the Fanári, you can also continue straight; in this case, you continue straight ahead on the gravel road, and after 6 minutes you will begin the descent, see point (1h04) below.]

(0h33) You take the path that goes up to the left towards the wall and the chapel on the top of the Fanári. This is a beautiful climb,  the last minutes on a staircase with 70 heavy steps. On the right, on the lowest summit, you find the small church, with a picnic table; the left-hand top is another ten metres higher. (0h41)

Over here you have a great panoramic view: in the Tragéa-valley you can see the villages of Damariónas, Damalás, Chalkí and Moní, to the right. Beyond you can discern the bay of Náxos, with also the islands of Páros, Syros, Tinos and Mykonos. On the other side there is the bay of Mutsúna, with beyond the islands of Donoússa, Amorgós and Koufoníssi all the way to the right.

[On April 23, 2012, the view was particularly clear and you could see even more islands:
- To the east, you could see, from the left to the right: Ios - Sikinos and the monastery - the elongated island of Folégandros - the group with Polýaigos and Kímolos with behind it Mílos - the island of Páros, very close, with to the left a tip of Antíparos – to the left of Páros, you could see Sífnos, and to the right Sérifos and the vague silhouettes of Kýthnos and Kéa – then Syros, rather close, and more to the right Andros and Tínos, very clear - and rightmost Rhínia and Dílos with Mýkonos, hidden behind the Kóronos
- To the west, you could see: Ikaría (behind the mills) and the distant island of Samos (!) - some islands off the coast of Turkey – Donoússa, very close, with the two Makáres islets – the long island of Amorgós with behind it Astypálea - Kéros with in front of it Koufoníssi – to the right Anáfi and then Santoríni, hidden behind the highest peak of the Fanári.]


On top of the Fanári.

(0h41) It takes about ten minutes to descend to the gravel road, which you follow to the right.  You continue on this road for a little under ten minutes. After two minutes you pass the trail, which, just now, you followed on the way up. This time you go straight though, since the path going down will also get to this gravel road later on.
You thus reach a  windy pass again, where the view on the valley in front of you is great, with to the right Moní, your destination. You continue to go down on the gravel road, in the direction of a rocky hill, with two large pastures, some walls and stables – at the bottom you can clearly distinguish the staircase-trail.

(1h00) After altogether ten minutes on the gravel road you take a path going to the right, next to the wall and in a bend – there is also a cairn, the village of Filóti seems really nearby... You follow this trail which descends to the right between little bushes [8].
Soon, you get to the RIGHT of a circular wall (red arrow): you meander a little through the vegetation, but then you should clamber on pale rocks next to the big wall and in this way you automatically arrive at a very clear path that continues to the right.

(1h04) You now begin a wonderful descent, on a meandering rocky trail and amidst an impressive landscape. On the right you see the steep cliff of the Fanári, in front of you there is the marvellous valley with the villages of Moní and Chalkí (invisible on the left). At first the landscape is very rocky, and you follow two stretches of a trail with a nice pavement and marvellous turns – first there are 8 sharp turns and after an almost flat stretch, you follow again 11-12 steep, stony bends.
If you are lucky you can even see eagles circling high up in the air. You can also try to figure out the details of the landscape in front of you: on the left-hand side of Moní you can distinguish Drosianí; on the right of Rachídi you can discern the basilica of Agios Isidóros; and deep underneath you can see the trail in between the walls you will follow later on. 

The monopáti that meanders downhill from the Fanári-mountain.

(1h22) After 18 wonderful minutes, the path becomes more narrow, and the following part is difficult: you indeed should descend to the RIGHT on the steep slope, where you can only distinguish the remains of the retaining wall - the path has disappeared because of a landslide. After 5 difficult minutes, you get against a wall, on a side path. You take a right for a short while and you then go left (red arrow) in between the walls. The vague path meanders between the walls; halfway there is a shady spot, where it is pleasant to have a picnic.
To the end, you should go up slightly to the right, in order to cross the bed with oleanders (red mark). Then, you continue to the left above the bed. Next to a big rock, you descend until you get in the river bed and you continue in this way between the oleanders until you arrive against a wall.

(1h33) You climb to the right on rocky ground (red arrow and [8]) and, at the top, you can finally follow a good path to the left between walls (red arrow and mark). Further on, the path is dug in and shaded (red mark). You then follow a pleasant dirt path which continues between a fence and rocks and which describes, high above the valley with olive trees, a large bend to the left.

After a few minutes you reach some terraces - the path has collapsed and you thus have to keep to the right in order to reach a long terrace planted with a row of olive trees (some red marks on the trees). You pass a small building and then you should continue on a narrow path on the highest terrace.

A look behind you on the terraces with olive trees, just before you go up to the right.

At the end of the terraces, you go up to the right on a vague terrain with rocks and low walls (red marks); at the top, the path becomes clearer, it continues along a fence.

(1h47) You move away from the fence to the right, then you continue straight.
You will discover a [8] and marks and the path becomes a clearer forest path. Further on, the path becomes vaguer again, you still come to terraces where you have to carefully follow the red marks. With some climbing, you find yourselves in a rocky bed, between the oleanders ([8] and red marks). The continuation in this bed is difficult, you climb rocks and a rocky ledge [8], but fortunately the path becomes easier again: it crosses a gate in reinforcing steel, with Moní in front of you.

Panoramic view on Moní.

(1h57) The continuation is again much steeper, you still go through a gate and you cross a small concrete bridge.
Pay attention: you should continue STRAIGHT here, ignoring a rather confusing [8] - you continue between walls crowned by a fence. The pleasant trail is sometimes rather narrow because of the vegetation and, after 5 minutes, you keep of course to the left at a bifurcation (red 8 on a wall). You pass above a few green gardens, you arrive on concrete and veer to the left until you arrive next to a washing place.

(2h19) You follow the concrete street road that enters the village, you keep to the left and the right, and you veer right until you reach the small square with a mulberry tree.

[On the left/straight ahead you find the Odós 28 Oktovríou. At the house with number 55 you can descend steeply to the left and in this way you can walk to Chalki via Kalóxylos (see the second part of the hike Chalkí - Panagía I Drosianí - Moní - Kalóxylos - Chalkí).]

From this square there is a small street in the right angle, which brings you to the centre of Moní. After 50 metres, at the end of the street, you can have another beautiful view on the valley towards the left – all the way to the left you can even see the Fanári, with Filóti and Damariónas.
You get in this way to a second square, where you continue straight, next to the bakery; further down the street you get to O Parádisos on the right and To Panórama on the left, the latter being a typical Greek café-restaurant, where you have a beautiful view from the balcony. (2h25)




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