Chalkí - Keramí - Agios Ioánnis sta Finélia - Apíranthos and back

Evaluation: This long hike is a walk there and back between the two beautiful villages of Chalkí and Apíranthos. Recently, it has been marked with trail markers [3]. The trails are beautiful and the walk deserves ***.
The translation of this walk was made with some help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time
: The way out requires a little more than one hour (actual walking time) up to Agios Ioánnis sta Finélia, then you will need 1h20 until Apíranthos. The actual time of the way there thus amounts to 2h25, the way back, which sometimes follows a different route, lasts for 2h05.
The actual time thus amounts to a total of 4h30 - and since the total walking time (TWT) can easily be the double, it will a long walking day.
However, you can stop the walk halfway in Apíranthos - if you left early, you can catch the bus of about 4.30pm to return to Chalkí or Chóra].

Route description: [If you decide to take the bus from Chóra, catching the bus at 9.30am is quite the right thing to do. When getting off the bus you will see the church of the Panagía I Evangelístria I Protótronos straight across. This church contains some beautiful murals and especially a fantastic ikonostási – unfortunately though, the church is often closed.]

[At Chalkí, you should first walk a little through the village. Leaving from the bus stop and the church you follow the narrow street opposite the church, in between the former café Chalkí and the pharmacy. After about 60-70 metres you get to the distillery Vallándris; this "ergostásio kítrou" or "working place where kitron is produced" is one of the distilleries of Naxos where this famous lemon drink is made. The workshop, which dates from1896, is worth a visit and you can buy all kinds of varieties of this tasty drink…

The entrance of the distillery Vallándris.

You can reach the pleasant terrace of O Giánnis by going straight ahead at Vallándris.
Afterwards, you have to return to the

(0h00) To the right of the church and the small Byzantine Museum with its beautiful plane tree, you see the trailhead of walk [3] (wooden sign).

The beginning of walk [3] in Chalkí.

The trail descends, passes over a small wooden bridge and turns LEFT, between a wall and the bed of the river, under an eucalyptus tree [3]. You continue in the shady bed, but after 2 minutes, you get out of it to the right [3] and then you follow a nice sunken trail: it continues between walls, with on your right side beautiful olive trees.

The nice olive trees to the right of your path [3].

A little further on, the path is blocked, and it is better to continue on the field to the right of the trail. Thus you come to a dirt road, between walls, overgrown with thistles [3].

(0h06) You get onto a cross-road, which you follow to the left along a wall [3]. You continue straight and after 2-3 minutes, you see in front of you another old trail, which goes straight under a fig tree. After a little less than 2 minutes already, you arrive in a bend near the church of Agii Apóstoli, which is beautifully situated amidst olive groves. This church dates from the 10th century and has an unusual appearance: above the entrance, there is a second dome! Climbing the narrow stairs to the left, you can reach the roof and the bell...

The little church of Agii Apóstoli.

(0h13) From here onwards the trail is cemented. A little later, there is a left turn [3].

[Here, you can take a path to the right that leads to Agia Eleúsa (17th century), with at its side two cypress trees - then you return of course to the main trail.]

A little later, you arrive in front of a house (sign Agii Apóstoli + [3]). On the right, you can continue to Filóti (see the walk Chalkí-Filóti and back), but you should take a LEFT here. Already after a few minutes, you get to the asphalt road Chalkí Filóti - you are now in Keramí.

(0h15) You continue on the opposite side on a paved street, to the right of the chapel ([3] and road sign to Pýrgos Markopolíti). Already after 1 minute, you go up to the left into a staircase-street [3], and you again keep to the left a little further [3]. You thus arrive at the foot of the big restored tower of Kalávrou (date 1740 above the door) and you go left again [3].

The impressive tower of Kalávrou.

(0h20) A little later, you see on your left the beautiful church of Agios Ioánnis Theológos.

Agios Ioánnis Theológos.

You continue straight on the concrete street (red mark), but 1 minute later, and BEFORE a beautiful source with a washing-place, you climb the concrete slope to the right [3] - the road to the left leads to Kalóxylos. A little later you continue to go up straight ahead [3], on the right side of a nice little valley with trees; the little road is sometimes shaded and then arrives in front of a wall with to the left a big and double metal gate.

(0h26) Here begins a beautiful sunken trail ([3] a little later); there is almost immediately a bifurcation between high walls and trees: the white painted staircase to the right leads into a small chapel from where you can enjoy a magnificent view of the
chain of the Fanári and the green valley between Chalkí and Moní. Here you go LEFT and the shaded path continues while winding. You cross a gate in reinforcing steel after 4 minutes and you thus arrive at a spot with sheep - further, you still need to untie a gate.

Beautiful shaded trails...

There is a small concrete road on the left side, but you continue straight into a shaded riverbed. A little further, however, you leave it to the right by climbing a steep rocky path (no indication); after a steep climb, you continue on a less steep path - all around you, there is an abundant vegetation, and the Fanári lies just in front of you.

The mountain chain of the Fanári.

(0h39) You arrive in a river bed for a few moments, but very soon you should go up to the left ([3] on a shrub) and after a few steps, you get to a small concrete road where you go right [3].

(0h41) Shortly after, there is a bifurcation: to the right, there is a concrete road that crosses a small bridge and continues to Filóti (hiking sign). You continue straight between the walls: at first, the trail follows more or less the bed itself, then it continues to the right of the river bed. After 2 minutes, you should take a right through a gate [3], and now begins a large shady trail that continues between nice walls.

A broad path continues under the trees...

(0h45) After 4 minutes, there is a junction where you keep to the left, and the rise is continuous, sometimes on a thick carpet of leaves - a steep climb, which is sometimes slippery.

A steep climb, on a slippery carpet of leaves...

After some beautiful steps, you wind right and left, and you pass between the uprights of a missing gate [3].

(0h54) The terrain becomes more open and you already see the terraces of the road high above you - do not mount too fast to the right, but do continue straight! You even veer left again, and the view over the Tragáa is beautiful. You finally zigzag right and left, and you get in front of a difficult double gate in reinforcing steel [3]. You go right, the trail is now less nice, but after a few minutes, you arrive to the left of Agios Ioánnis sta Finélia.

[You can have a look on the forecourt of the chapel: there is a beautiful plane tree and you enjoy there a splendid view over the plain of Tragéa: you can see the village of Chalkí in the middle, with behind it the top of the Apáno Kástro; to the left, you see Damariónas, and Filóti lies to the far left, but is hidden behind a hill.]

(1h06) You now take the concrete road that starts in front of the restaurant which lies more to the right (hiking sign and [3]).

This hiking sign indicates the continuation of walk [3].

The trail continues a little further straight ahead [3], while the road turns to the right; you pass through two open gates, then next to mangers and you again go through a gate. You now follow an easy path, that a little further passes again through a gate in reinforcing steel. The monopáti becomes beautiful, continues under the trees, veers to the left and finally goes down into a river bed where it forks.

Another nice path...

(1h12) The right path comes to a dead end, so you should take a LEFT (red mark): the path or rather the riverbed becomes very idyllic with lots of trees. You descend the steps of masonry or on concrete slopes. Pay attention now: after 3-4 minutes, you should go up RIGHT onto a rocky slope between walls - and so you pass through a large gate of reinforcing steel (large red mark). After a steep climb of 2-3 minutes, you get between two walls (large red marks).

The trail continues between walls.

The beautiful trail that goes up has been cleared recently. You can see Apíranthos on the left, with the mountain chain of the Fanári.

A nice view on the Fanári and Apíranthos.

You cross another (open) gate, and then you continue flatly. You pass a rocky cape, you descend slowly and you again pass through a metal gate.

(1h25) The trail now descends in zigzags on a rocky slope and first passes underneath a protruding rock, then next to a stable. You arrive at a swampy spot with a source: here you should continue STRAIGHT while staying at the same height. After climbing under trees on a rocky slope, you arrive at a side path.

(1h30) You take a left (arrow and red mark) - the right path
[3] continues to Fotodótis and Danakós - see the hike Filóti - Danakós - Apíranthos and back.
You follow a beautiful trail, with a wall on your right side and on your left many beautiful oaks. You then descend to the left, at the angle of the wall (red arrow and marks): you thus pass to the left of a small stable and you go down until you arrive above a second stable. You veer right here and you continue for a few moments just in the direction of Apíranthos. You again veer right, then all the way to the left, and so you come next to a large rock, where you turn to the right, between the rock and a tree – and so you arrive at the foot of the rock.

(1h36) At your right side, in between a wall and a fig tree, there is another path that also leads to Apíranthos, following the right slope of the wide valley – that is the path you will follow on your way back.
For the moment you go to the far LEFT, along a wall, and after a little less than 2 minutes, you find yourselves down in a valley, where you continue straight, and then veer to the right between walls (red mark and yellow arrow). You climb a little and your path leads now - but that is not final! - straight to Apíranthos and the beautiful chain of the Fanári.

The path to Apíranthos.

But a little later, an arrow and a red mark send you to the LEFT again: so you move away from the trail and you get the impression that you veer too far to the left. You arrive in the middle of beautiful oaks and after some time you veer right again.

(1h45) The beautiful trail winds through the trees and you hear the sound of flowing water - and indeed, you arrive next to a source with flowing water, where you first veer right and then continue by going up straight ahead (red arrow).

A nice stretch between the trees...

Your path becomes wider – it is now a small road – and after a few minutes it passes through a gate in reinforcing steel. You descend until a fork: you should take the middle path, a small concrete road that goes up straight ahead (red marks). A little later, there is another gate, and then you continue on a path that runs to the left of a gate and a house (red mark). Further on, you veer left, then right, and you get to another road. This road becomes concrete, it goes up and comes to a T-junction, where you take a right of course - and you again discover a path in front of you (red mark).

(1h55) You now head straight toward Apíranthos and after 2 minutes, you arrive next to the simple chapel of the Panagía.

A picturesque chapel on your way to Apíranthos.

You continue to the left of the chapel, you again veer to the right, and then continue for 5 minutes on a narrow path that continues almost flatly. You pass between a rock and a wall, your path is now cemented, then you follow a wider concrete road, which goes straight up to the asphalt road.

(2h18) You take a right and you pass the little road that leads right to the chapels of Agios Geórgios and Agios Pachoúmios. You follow the road for about 5 minutes - you do NOT take the first staircase on the left towards the center of Apíranthos. It is better to continue until you discover another staircase (sign-post to the "Museum of Fine Arts"). By climbing about 90 steps, you reach the main street of the beautiful village of Apíranthos. (2h27)

[The visit of the "marble village" of Apíranthos is very nice. Leaving this spot - you are close to the very narrow church of Agios Sardónis - you can first go to the left, until the archaeological museum
that was established by Michaďl Bardáni: to be seen in this museum are a lot of small cycladic statues, a clay vase from the 3rd millennium BC, a geometric trípodos from the 8th century, some prehistoric stone tools, bronze arrowheads, etc.

The platia 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.

You now can retrace your steps and continue in the beautiful street, paved with marble; you pass by the café Samarádiko, with a nice outdoor terrace, and you finally get to the 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". At the end of the square, there is the church Kímissis tis Theotókou.]

[If you want to return to Chalkí or Chóra by bus, you should continue beyond the church until you pass the bridge and get to the asphalt road. The afternoon bus passes at about 4.30pm.]

(2h27) To start the way back, you retrace your steps for 2 minutes, until the narrow and high church of Agios Sardónis, and you descend the stairs to the left. After 43 steps, you keep to the right, and after another 45 steps, you reach the asphalt road, where you go of course to the right.
You follow the road for 4-5 minutes, and after a turn, you take the small concrete road on the left (large sign "Churches Agios Geórgios and Pachoúmios."

(2h34) After a few minutes, you pass a simple chapel, but you continue to descend into the deep valley, staying on the winding path.

(2h42) In a left turn, after 8 minutes, a path to the right leads to the two small churches (large sign-post).
It is definitely worth taking right up to the two churches: they are situated in a field behind a fence, a little bit dug in in the ground. After the visit, you return to the concrete road.

The old churches of Agios Geórgios et d' Agios Pachoúmios.

You go on to descend, until you come near a concrete bridge in the valley.

(2h48) Beyond the bridge, you take the dirt road to the right, but soon you go up to the LEFT. The slope is steep and you get between and under big oaks; a few minutes after you arrive on small terraces, and you continue horizontally.

On the path in the valley of Apíranthos.

(2h59) After arriving above a small church which is located in the valley, you go a little to the left through a sort of passage, and the trail continues thereafter almost flat on terraces. You go down a bit, you slowly veer to the right in a valley shaped in the form of an amphitheater and you arrive at a rebar gate. You keep a little more to the right, then you down and up again you thus arrive above a small farm. You need to pass once more through a gate in reinforcing steel and you then continue to the left on an overgrown path, which runs to the right of a wall crowned by a rebar fence. You gradually veer to the left and you arrive at the path you have followed this morning - further, there is the striking large rock, consisting of two large inclined blocks, with a tree beside it.

This particular rock can guide you...

(3h06) You veer left here in order to pass between the tree and the rock (red marks), and further, you keep to the far right; you now climb quickly, but next to the first stable, you go up to the left, to the left side of a wall. Pay attention now: when you get to the right and above the second stable, you should continue to the right, at the left side of a wall and beautiful oaks (vague red arrow).

(3h13) After another 2 minutes, you should keep a good look-out: the main path of the walk continues here to Fotodótis and turns left [3], near a more or less round rock-face + a Mediterranean maple - see the hike Agia Marína - Fotodótis - Apíranthos and back.
Here you should descend over the steep rocks to the RIGHT (there is also a [3]): near the trees, you take a left, and you reach in this way the swampy spot, next to the source. You still continue straight ahead for a few moments, then you certainly should NOT keep to the right: you go up in zigzags on the rocky slope to the left, and so you arrive after about 2 minutes against a fence at the top and left . You discover a clear path that passes through a metal gate. Now you can follow quite a time this clear path with on your right a wall crowned with a fence.

(3h20) Then you come next to the rocky cape, where you continue straight while keeping a little to the left. You are already seeing Agios Ioánnis in front of you, but you first arrive in front of a valley, which you need to surround to the left. You pass through a gate in reinforcing steel, then you reach a clearing where you go down on a rocky slope (red marks and [3]).

(3h26) You then get between converging walls, where you descend on a steep slope, and so you get in a shaded riverbed, behind a large gate in reinforcing steel - you go up to the left on steps or on small concrete slopes.
Look out carefully: when the bed becomes narrower, after about 5 minutes, you have to look for a red mark on the rocks - just past a narrow passage between shrubs and before you see a small building at the top right, you should climb to the RIGHT on the rocky slope, and so you will discover a rocky trail between walls. You climb and after 3 minutes you again pass through a gate in reinforcing steel. A little farther, you go through three other gates before and after the enclosure with mangers, you follow the concrete road for 1 minute and you arrive at the asphalt road.

(3h39) You go right for a while, and next to the hiking sign "Filóti 35 minutes," you can descend the staircase on the right side of the chapel of Agios Ioánnis sta Finélia.

A recent hiking sign (2011) indicates walk [3].

Behind the chapel, you find, while keeping to the right [3], the small concrete road where you take a left; the road goes up to the right, but you should continue straight ([3] on a concrete block). The trail veers to the left while it descends quickly and passes through a narrow valley. It continues along a wall + fence - the uneven pavement is composed of small pale stones.

(3h44) Pay attention: at the end of this wall, after a little more than 5 minutes, there is a bifurcation where you should keep to the left through a double gate [3]. You again descend quickly, while following a clear nice path - and after a final zigzag, you descend slowly. After another 5 minutes, the shaded part begins: you descend quickly on the carpet of leaves, then you go through the uprights of the missing gate [3].

(3h50) The trail becomes a wide forest path, with occasional short, steep turns. You reach a passage where the trail becomes a beautiful sunken path, but the descent is sometimes difficult because of slippery rocks and leaves.

A thick carpet of leaves...

The trail then turns right and becomes easier, but it is always shady and strewn with leafs of oaks and Mediterranean maples.
Once arrived next to an empty tank  you veer to the right and, after a total of 23 minutes, you pass through a gate and get to the river bed where you take a left [3].

(4h02) The trail continues to the left of the bed, then more or less in the bed itself - and then, you reach the bifurcation on open ground, where you see two hiking signs: to the right, you can continue to Keramí and Chalkí (45 minutes), the left path leads to Filóti (and even the way to Agia Marína and the Zas is mentioned...).

(4h05) So you go right, but pay attention after 1-2 minutes already: you should descend to the far left into a river bed [3]. After crossing the bed, you continue to the right on the trail that continues above the bed - a very nice trail that goes down after 4 minutes into the bed. You follow this bed to the left under the trees; soon, you get to a gate in reinforcing steel and then in the enclosure with the sheep. You climb a little to the left and further, you again have to untie a gate. The trail winds left and right, you stay on the clear main trail, and then you descend until the dug in bifurcation.

(4h18) The left path leads only to a chapel, so you take a right [3] and shortly after, you arrive at a small concrete road that you will follow for 4-5 minutes.

(4h23) Once arrived at the lowest points of the road, there is another road that comes from the right and below, next to a beautiful source: this morning, you came from the road that goes straight [3], but you will now follow an alternative route - and a little shorter one. You descend on the concrete road that goes sharply to the right and so you pass next to the source and over a small bridge.

The nice source on the road to Kalóxylos.

You keep to the left after 4 minutes, following a pleasant concrete road, which soon gets to a wider road that comes from Kalóxylos. You continue straight, but in a left turn, you continue straight on the dirt road that runs between the vineyards. Near the remains of an old machine, you veer left and you reach the asphalt road.

(4h32) You continue straight across on the little concrete road - a little further, you see on the left the tower of Papadáki, but you still continue straight. Towards the end of the road, you see on the left side the Pýrgos Gratsía, where you take this time the paved street on the left. It passes just next to the tower and finally you arrive next to the church.

The Pýrgos Papadáki (to the left) and the Pýrgos Gratsía, in Chalkí.

[The street on the opposite side continues up to the terrace of O Giánnis. If you go there to the right, you will arrive at the distillery of Vallándris...]

[If you came by bus, you can return to Chóra with the bus of 4.45pm...]

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