Chalkí - Tsikalarió - Ano Sagrí - temple of Demeter and back

Evaluation: This long hike is rather exceptional, since it is the only walk that leads to the temple of Demeter and starts from Chalkí. It was recently signposted (with hiking signs, but not always with trail markers [7]). The landscape is nice, and the trails and paths are too. Deserves **.
[The translation of this walk was made with some help of Google translate - so, please, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time
: The actual walking time (AWT) until Ano Sagrí is about 1h40, and from there it takes only 25 minutes to reach the temple of Demeter the AWT of the way out thus amounts to about 2 hours. The return lasts a little longer, so the total actual time is about 4h25. The total time however (TWT) can amount to the double, to 6-7 hours.

Road description
: (0h00)  [If you arrive in Chalkí by bus, you can see the church of the Panagía i Evangelístria i Protótronos opposite the spot where you get off the bus: this church contains some beautiful wall paintings and especially a marvellous ikonostási; unfortunately though, the church is usually closed.]

The Panagía i Evangelístria in Chalki.

(0h00) Leaving from the bus stop and the church you follow the narrow street opposite the church, in between 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 working place is worth a visit and you can buy all kinds of varieties of this tasty drink…
Opposite Vallándris you take a narrow street on the right and after 150 meters - where the pavement turns into concrete – you take a left on the first street (red dot), then immediately right and then immediately left again (red dots and a walking sign to Apáno Kástro). In this way you leave the village and you arrive at a nicely paved path between walls and olive trees. One minute further you arrive at a junction: you go straight ahead (red arrow to the left).

[The path to the right leads to Agios Geórgios O Diassorítis (sign).]

A little further on you walk on a beautiful sunken road.

The path between Chalkí and Tsikalarió.

You continue on a nice path between walls and olive fields and go walk through a gate made of pallets. Further on you go through yet another gate made of reinforcing steel. After 5 minutes you continue across a fairly broad and stony river bed, under a plane tree.

(0h11) The trail continues on the opposite side of the river bed (wooden sign, red dot and blue arrow). After another two minutes you reach a stony road which you follow to the left for a while. Then you take a right (sign and dots); the road soon turns into a nice and wide path again.
Past a little concrete bridge the monopáti is paved and it climbs until you reach a small square with the little church of Tsikalarió – after about 6-7 minutes. On the right you notice a well and a washing place. At this point you have a great view on the valley filled with olive trees, with Damariónas on the opposite side. Further to the left you can distinguish the larger village of Filóti and then Chalkí, all the way to the left and submerged in olive trees.

[Continuing straight, you could go to the Apáno Kástro and Potamiá.]


The white little church of Tsikalarió.

(0h20) You now take the small concrete road that descends to the left: you pass a large church, and after 3 minutes, you cross the asphalt road. You continue to go down on the opposite side (small sign Damalás / Damariónas) and, at the moment that the road comes to a dead end, you should keep to the left (small sign). You go down between the houses of the hamlet of Chímarros and you thus arrive at a cross street that ends on the left side near a chapel: here you continue more or less straight into a stepped street and you descend into the valley, while keeping to the right. You cross the river bed and you continue until you arrive under a large eucalyptus: a cemented path continues to the left to Damalás and Damariónas (small sign), but you should follow another path, next to a black water pipe and to the right of some sharp rocks.

(0h26) Soon, the pavement becomes nice and after 2 minutes, you keep to the right at a bifurcation; a few minutes later, you arrive at a cross gravel road, which you will follow to the left for 8 minutes – with on your left side a beautiful view on masses of olive trees and on the Zas.

View over the plain of Tragéa.

(0h38) You thus get to the asphalt road (sign), but BEFORE you reach this road, you turn RIGHT: you pass to the left of a chapel, then you go under the road while veering to the left, then you veer to the right again.
The trail is narrow and sometimes overgrown, it continues for some time between walls, it goes up and still arrives between walls (with a small gate). You go down and you get to a dirt road with on the right side a construction company: here you continue to the right until you reach the main road and you follow it for 5 minutes to the left, passing next to the Shell gas station.

(0h53) You then take the first path that goes diagonally to the right, to the right of a cemetery of old machines; you veer right, then left and after a few minutes you pass to the RIGHT of a sharp stone, where the small road continues. Soon, you see how the trail continues far ahead.
A few minutes later, you should pass through a gate in reinforcing steel and a little further – pay attention – you keep to the right and continue to the right of a wall on a path that runs over rocky slopes. Two minutes later, there is still a gate, then the path becomes wide and paved.

A broad path towards Agii Anárgyri and Ano Sagri.

(1h08) This beautiful stretch ends on a gravel road, which you follow straight, next to two large houses. Shortly after, you keep to the right between two upright stones (red mark) - further, you already see the tower of Paleológos and the chapel of Agii Anárgyri. You go down and, after crossing a riverbed, you continue on concrete between 2 houses; later on, you keep to the right of course and just over a minute later, you reach the path that leads to the right to Agii Anárgyri (small white sign).

[The detour takes only 4-5 minutes: the trail becomes concrete and after a concrete turn, you immediately should go left through a gate in reinforcing steel. You thus arrive at a small road between the residential tower of Paleológos and the chapel of Agii Anárgyri. You can continue to the left of the fence up to the chapel, from where you enjoy a beautiful view of the tower. You then return to the main trail.]

The tower of Paleológos.

(1h17) You continue to follow the small road, you pass a driveway on the left, but a little further, you take the path on the left side, to the right of a wall – this is 2-3 minutes beyond the junction towards Agii Anárgyri. This nice trail is dug in and leads you in less than 5 minutes until the asphalt road, next to a bus shelter and a hiking sign.

(1h24) You take the asphalt road that leads some 10 meters to the left to the village of Sagrí (road sign "Demeter Sanctuary"). You follow this road for 3 minutes and then you see a paved path that comes from the right (hiking sign "Dimitra's Temple"). You follow the trail to the left, it continues parallel to the road (red 7).

(1h29) About 2 minutes later, you veer right to cross a small pine forest, where there are also some benches. When the trail turns right again, you continue straight on a small dirt road and so you get to a paved road that leads to the left to a large church - you go down this road to the RIGHT. You cross a concrete road and then you go straight on a wide paved slope, again between the pines. You arrive at the asphalt road, where you go up on the concrete slope to the right of a monument; you then descend (a red 7 and a red mark) the stairs to the right and you arrive at a concrete road. You go left this time, but when that road turns right underneath the houses and comes to a dead end, you go up the cobbled street to the left (
next to the double heavy electricity pole) – you do not take the street in front of you with the "dead end" sign). You arrive in this way near a restored tower and the church. In front of you, you see the monument to Xenákis and a hiking sign to the "Naós Dímitras" + a red and white trail marker [7].

The hiking sign indicating the path to the temple of Demeter.

(1h38) You descend the paved stairs to the right of the bust and you take immediately a right onto a narrow concrete road – mind the red drawing of a temple on the wall with an arrow to the right ...
The road soon becomes a gravel road; you descend between agaves and after 5 minutes you pass next to the path that leads to the Naós Agíou Nikoláou (old and new sign).
You continue to follow the path straight ahead, on the right slope of the green valley, and you pass below a small church; you go down a bit, then you continue flatly again – in front of you to the left, you already distinguish the ruins of the temple.

(1h50) After another 6 minutes, there is a small concrete road that goes down to the left, but again you should continue straight on a narrow path to the right of a wall (large red mark).

(1h54) About 4 minutes later, a nice rocky path goes down to the left in the valley.

[The path that continues straight will follow the slope on the right side of the valley, with a beautiful view of the temple site – you follow it on your way back.]

View on the temple of Demeter.

We gaan dus links de vallei in tussen muurtjes (wandelbordje + [7]), in de goede richting naar de tempel toe. Het pad buigt eerst rechts, maar bij een stalletje ([7] en rode stip) draait het weer links om een valleitje over te steken, links van olijfbomen [7].

A nice path leads to the temple.

You thus descend to the left, between walls (sign and [7]), straight to the temple. The trail turns first to the right, but near a small stable  ([7] and red marks) it veers left again to cross the valley, to the left of olive trees [7].
Soon you cross the muddy bed of the river (there is still a little water, 2 May 2013), then you go through an olive grove diagonally to the right, towards the angle of a small ruin (there is a low gate and a red mark). You climb slightly next to a heavy water pipe (red marks), and after a second low gate made of reinforcing steel, you get to a terrace. You pass below the temple and to the right of a wall (red mark) and you arrive to the left of the little museum - here you open the heavy bolt of a wide gate, possibly with the help of a stone... Now you can go up to the left to the temple site. (2h00)

The temple itself is nicely located, with a view on the gentle valley towards the south. It dates from about 530 BC and in the 5th century AD it was converted into a church. Later on it was completely destroyed and many of the building elements were used for the construction of the chapel of Agios Ioánnis – and even for the construction of some farms. Only in the year 1949 the site of the temple attracted attention and after endless puzzling a part of the temple and of the Christian basilica was reconstructed – with a really nice result.

The temple of Demeter.

The absis of the Christian basilica.

(2h00) From the temple, you retrace your steps up to the rear of the museum, and then you go round to the entrance - a short visit is quite interesting...
You then take the paved path that arrives first near the official entrance, then you descend until the asphalt road.

(2h06) You turn right and after a little more than 6 minutes, you will see a beautiful trail that will lead you back to Sagrí (sign "Pros Káto Sagrí) – this trail is very obvious. After 2 minutes and also after another 6 minutes - next to some stables -,  you do NOT take a left of course. On your right side, you enjoy a beautiful view on the temple and on the hill of the Kástro Apalírou.

View on the temple of Demeter with in the background the hill of the Kástro Apalírou.

A little further, you can rest a moment on a bench...

A moment of rest on a bench along the path...

You continue on this beautiful trail with no problem and after 15 very pleasant minutes, you arrive underneath Ano Sagrí. After a short stretch of concrete, you climb the 44 steps to the left and you arrive in this way next to the bust of Xenákis.

(2h45) You take the paved road to the right of the residential tower [7] - not the asphalt road down to the right - and you arrive next to the double electricity pole, where you follow the small concrete road that descends to the right. Just before the road sign Stop, you go up the stairs on the right, but at the top, you again go down to the left. Once arrived at the asphalt road, you continue straight between the pine trees, you cross after a minute the little concrete road and continue straight on the paved little street leading to the large church. At the foot of this church, you take the little dirt road on the left, which soon leads to the corner of the paved path. You follow this path straight, you arrive next to the asphalt road and you follow the path for another 2 minutes. When the trail turns left (sign), you continue to follow the road for another 3 minutes and so you get to the main road. You go to the left for 10 meters and take the path to the right that begins next to the shed (hiking sign Agii Anárgyri 15  + a red 7).

The hiking sign for path [7] not far from Ano Sagrí.

(2h59) The beautiful trail leads after 4 minutes to the gravel road, where you go right. You see the tower of Paleológos on the left and so you reach after 3 minutes the path leading to Agii Anárgyri (sign). You continue straight on, after a few minutes you pass between the 2 houses, you cross the small valley and just past the 2 upright standing stones, you arrive at a cross-road.

(3h11) You keep to the left, the small road goes up and, in a curve that rises to the left, you continue on the nice trail to the left of a wall (red mark). The paved trail is beautiful and wide - notice the small Byzantine church on a small hill on the right.

The splendid path between Agii Anárgyri and Tsikalarió. 

(3h18) You go through a gate in reinforcing steel after a few minutes, you continue a little time on rocky ground between wide walls, and you thus arrive at a kind of small plateau next to some drinking troughs. Here you continue straight on a small dirt road and you still continue straight when a road arrives from the right - and so you arrive in a turn with a gate on the left side.

(3h28) On your left, you have a nice view of the top of the Apáno Kástro, but here you veer right in order to follow the dirt road, and then left again; you pass to the left of the "cemetery" of old machines and you finally get to the asphalt road. You follow it to the left for 5 minutes and so you pass the gas station.

(3h36) Once arrived at the construction company, you go right into the small dirt road, just opposite a chapel. The concrete begins just after the company, and this is where you take the path on the LEFT between walls. You go up on a grassy path – at the top, you are already see Chalkí, far ahead. You descend between walls and the trail becomes narrower. You continue to the right of the road, but at the end of the trail, you pass to the left underneath the road, then you take a right – so, you pass to the right of the chapel and you still get to the road.

The hiking sign at the beginning of the path to Tsikalarió 

(3h51) You now take the path going diagonally to the left (sign "Apáno Kástro 1 hour"): this small dirt road is nice and continues between fields, again with that beautiful view of the plain of Tragéa - with Moní to the left, then Chalkí and Keramí, a part of Filóti and the Zas. You pass under the chapel of Agios Merkoúrios and next to Taxiárchis - and soon you see in front of you Tsikalarió...

(3h59) After 7-8 minutes, there is a bifurcation where you take the grassy path that starts diagonally to the right: the path narrows and becomes a nice trail between walls. It gets to a cross trail, which comes from Damariónas, and you turn left (small signs). You continue more or less straight below a eucalyptus, you cross a river bed (signs) and you continue just opposite on a concrete street with steps.
You arrive to the left of the chapel - and you do NOT go left here, but you continue more or less straight following a cemented street between walls and a white house. So you reach a small concrete road (signs) that you follow to the right until you get to the asphalt road.
A big sign and a smaller hiking sign (Tsiakalarió + Apáno Kástro) send you straight ahead: you pass next to the nice church and you get in this way to the paved main street of Tsikalarió with the parking lot – just opposite you see the little white church and
the washing place.

(4h09) You take a right next to the church and you find a nice trail that descends further into the large valley. The path soon becomes a little sandy road and after some 6-7 minutes it reaches a rocky clearing. Over there you go up the stony road on the left (sign Chalkí), but you soon discover another path on the right (sign and red dot). After 2 minutes, you cross a fairly large bed of a river and you continue straight ahead through a gate in reinforcing steel (sign and red dot). 

(4h18) You walk between high walls, and then there is a nice stretch with a sunken road; after another six minutes you keep right – the path to the left leads to Agios Geórgios O Diassorítis.
This is where the paved path begins that that leads into the village. You meander through the streets, right, left, and again right on a side-street, and so you come to the distillery Vallándris.
You can reach the pleasant outdoor terrace of O Giánnis by taking a right at Vallándris. If you take a left, you arrive at the asphalt road with the bus stop. (4h28)


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