Chóra - Ypsiloú - Lámyra - Ménites and back

Evaluation: This is one of the hikes on Andros you really have to make – it is the shorter variant of the hike following the same trajectory, but continuing to the monastery of Panachrántou. There also- other variants that pass through, for example, Strapouriés or Messariá. On this hike you get a marvellous impression of the large valleys above Chóra, with beautiful views on the town itself. It also brings you to one of the most watery spots on the island with the wonderful valley of Ménites. In addition, almost all the way the monopátia belong to the most beautiful ones on Andros – and this means a lot! Throughout the long day, you will have plenty of aesthetic sensations, because of beautiful elements such as bridges, springs, churches, squares and paths ... This hike definitely deserves the maximum evaluation of ****.
[Update by Dany Boute on April the 17th, 2014 and by Raymond on May the 3rd, 2015.]
[The translation of this walk is made with some help of Google translate - so, please, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: In actual hiking time, the hike to Ménites takes about 2 hours and about the same time for the return route to Chóra. All together this means 4h of  actual hiking time. Taking into account the pauses - there are so many marvellous spots to have a rest! -, and a picnic or lunch (for instance in the beautiful tavern Pigés - Karidhiés in Ménites) this hike will be turned into a full day of about 6-7 hours (TWT). By taking it really easy, we hiked from 10am till 6.30pm, with a very long break at Ménites....

Route description
: (0h00) For all hikes leaving from Chóra you have to depart from the main street near the large church of the Panagía tis Kímisis – which is visible from all over this town (for more details you might have a look at the description of the small hike in Chóra itself). Today you should follow the main street to the right (facing the church) and soon you arrive at the big square of Vas. Goulandris, where you find an information sign of Andros Routes. You keep following the pedestrian street (little signs
[1], [2], [3], [8a], [17] and [18]!). At the end of this street, after 70 meters, hikes [3], [17] and [18] continue to the left, but you should take a RIGHT here (hiking sign [1] Ypsiloú 2,2 km / Lámyra 3,6 km / Ménites 6,1 km / Messariá 6,8 km / Panachrántou 10,1 km).
You go down on the steps, you cross the asphalt road that descends to Nimborió, and – pay attention – after another 8 steps, you should take a left in a narrow street
[1]. You walk past a staircase on the right and continue to follow the concrete street between the houses for some 5 minutes.

The hiking sign for walk [1] in Chóra.

(0h08) In a slight depression of the street, you go down the staircase on the right, in between two electricity poles (sign and [1]; down at the foot of the staircase, you continue straight on a descending concrete street and you reach in this way the river, which flows into the sea on the beach of Nimborió. If necessary you can cross the river via the wooden bridge [1].   

[Hikers staying near the beach of Nimborió can also leave from the far end of the beach, close to the bridge over the river. You then have to stay on the left-hand side of the river and a little further on you even have to walk in the bed of the river – which is only possible in the dry season. In this way you will also arrive at the large wooden bridge [1].]

(0h11) Past the wooden bridge you go straight ahead [1] and via an earth road you cross the green valley. Strikingly, the valley is full of cypresses and all the way up to the left you can see the dispersed villages of, amongst others, Ypsiloú and Lámyra. About 3 minutes after your departure, you come on a concrete stretch, but, when the little road veers to the right, a clear path starts straight ahead [1]. After some minutes a nice pavement begins and after about 10 minutes, you cross a concrete road, where the path continues straight [1]. Another four minutes later on you cross a small brook by means of an old bridge made out of two flat stones – there was still a lot of water on May the 3rd, 2015.


The marvellous path to Ypsiloú, with a bridge built with flat stones.

After another two minutes the trail takes a right near a church with next to it a ruin [1] – mind the flat stones on  the rood and the bended walls!!.


Always those beautiful paths to Ypsiloú...

(0h28) A couple of minutes later you get to a beautiful stone staircase, wonderfully shaded – this shade is so characteristic for Andros! Slightly further down you keep left on a cross-trail; you notice a water pipe and a [1]. The following narrow path is really beautiful, but rather steep and it runs between high walls -  a little later, you keep to the right [1]. Some concrete steps announce the village of Ypsiloú; a few minutes later, you turn left [1], following the water pipe. After a nice stretch in between (dry) water-shoots and at the corner of a large house, you keep to the left (there is a [1] on the staircase). You continue between a couple of houses; the path or the steps are made out of concrete and you always proceed in the direction of Ypsiloú - during the last stretch, you should keep to the right on the paved path. You cross an asphalt road and you continue on the opposite side (hiking sign and [1]. First, you reach a little bridge (inscription 1891 of G.K. Empiríkos), immediately thereafter you reach a spot shaded by a large plane tree: over here you can find the old Doubli-source with an inscription from 1818, the "paradosiakí kríni Ipsiloú".

A nice source in Ypsiloú.

(0h43) You follow the paved path and after 1 minute, you keep to the left [1] along beautiful cypresses; your trail zigzags further on, passing some waters-hoots, gardens and citrus trees. After about 3-4 minutes you pass a small bridge from 1929 [1]. After a splendid old staircase, you reach a bifurcation, where you take the steps on the left (sign "PROS LAMYRA"). You then get to another well, a “paradosiakí kríni Ypsiloú” from 1842. You continue straight and descend slowly and – pay attention – , near a double electricity pole, you take a RIGHT (sign Pros Lámyra, a little further a [1]). A little later, you keep to the right of a high white  house ([1] on the staircase) – the left path descends to a church. After a concrete stretch, you go up to the right on a staircase ([1] on the stairs). After a lot of steps, you keep to the left between 2 houses (sign Pros Lámyra and [1]) and you reach in this way the third white source of Ypsiloú: it dates from 1763 and was renovated in 1890 by the famous N.K. Empiríkos.

The inscription on the third source of Ypsiloú.

A little later, you reach a concrete road, which you follow to the left for a short while ([1] on a wall and a pole). Slightly further down, though, on the right of a row of cypresses, you can get to the trail again [1]. You then pass the church of Mesathoúri, you go down to the left and pass another building with abundant wells – there is also a fourth sign “PROS LAMYRA” [1].
You now go up to a very little square: there you take a left for a while, but immediately you go down to the left again (there is a sign “Pros Lámyra” and a [1]).

[This is the bifurcation of the paths [1] and [10] – see a.o. the hike Chóra – Strapouriés – Ménites (hiking sign [10] Strapouriés 750 m / [1] Ménites 2,9 km).]   

You pass some more cypresses on a path with a nice pavement.

(1h05) You cross the asphalt road again (there is a sign “Pros Lámyra”, a red dot and a [1]), you descend a staircase and keep to the right [1]; then you keep a little to the left, where a concrete staircase goes up to the right, and in this way you get to Lámyra. You enter this village on a very beautiful spot, at the Platía 28 Oktovríou, next to the old "parthenagogío" of Lámyra – a school for young girls. This is an ideal place to have a rest underneath a big plane tree...

(1h09) You continue towards the right [1] and slightly further on you reach a beautiful well: this abundant source was constructed in 1840 at the expenses of K. Empiríkos. You follow now a marvellous trail with beautiful houses alongside (some with the date 1840) and with a great panoramic view, you go up again until you get to a concrete spot, where you should take the stairs on the right [1] until you get to the concrete road underneath the large church of Lámyra. You follow the concrete road to the left for a short while ([1] on a rock), but only one minute further on, in a bend, you continue straight ahead on the trail [1]. You keep to the left [1] and at another junction between tall houses, you go down to the left again. You cross a gravel road [1] and on the opposite side you find a narrow path [1], to the right of 2 houses and next to a water-shoot with lots of water.
You cross two little bridges (3 X [1]), and after the second one you get to a bifurcation crossing between some houses - remarkable because of the large number of water pipes and also because of the funny blue chimney on the left (now hidden by the vegetation). The long staircase on the left side descends to Messariá; in order to continue to Ménites you have to go to the RIGHT, slightly upwards ([1] on the steps). 

(1h22) After some steps and a nice little bridge, you get to a trail that is slightly overgrown and it is subsided twice. Later on, it gets better again. After some four minutes you pass another old bridge made of flat stones. On the left you notice a sign from 1912, indicating who paid for this "odós" or road – it is of course an Empiríkos again. Further on you get a beautiful view on the elongated town of Messariá with the church and the black Kaïri-tower.

The green valley, with Messariá.

Flat parts alternate with steep ends…
After 16-17 minutes, you pass through an open gate in reinforcing steel, the trail goes up and down and is covered by flowers – it was on this stretch that we discovered in April 2014 and May 2015 a lot of Serapia orchids.

A Serapia orchid.

(1h43) Almost 20 minutes after the bifurcation, you pass a lonely house, where you keep a little to the right; later on, you proceed always straight ahead [1] and walk again on a flat path.
You pass another house, then a pigeon tower and some cypresses – it is only now that you can see Ménites in front of you. But you descend still a lot and then you veer to the left in a shady valley, where you follow an old uneven path, along some water and a house. You pass a little bridge and you then get to a large arched bridge. Also here, a sign from 1890 tells you that this bridge was paid by a member of the Empiríkos-family.

(1h52) Slightly further on there is a bifurcation: the path to the left is the path to Messariá (hiking sign [1] Messariá 1,1 km / Panachrántou 4,5 km), you should take a right here (hiking sign [1b] Ménites 370 m). After a staircase, you keep to the right on a concrete path [1] and then to the left, next to a house – there used to be a rather high waterfall here…

An elegant waterfall below Ménites.

You climb a lot of concrete steps, but in front of a house, you have to take a left ([1] on a pole). If at the top you keep to the right, you will get after some steps underneath the church of Ménites. But the signposting [1b] sends you to the LEFT on a concrete lane. Further on, you take a right [1b] and, after a vaulted passage, you go up a staircase and get to the asphalt road (bus stop and hiking sign). You take a left, you pass the tavern Fountana and arrive next to the marvellous source with the six spouting lion heads. On the right you notice the wonderful outdoor terrace of the tavern Pigés Karidhiés. Next to it, there is also the taverna Drosiá. (1h59)

The famous well of Ménites.

One of the six lion heads.

These are great spots to sit down for a while – underneath the large trees and midst the gurgling of the water coming from the wells and from the small river in the deep valley. If you consider having lunch here, you should try the fourtália, an omelette with potatoes and sausage. Also the dessert with the “glyká tou koutalioú” is very tasteful!

A delicious "glykó tou koutalioú"...

After some rest you can also climb up to the church – striking here are the bas-reliefs from 1808.

The church of Ménites.

A nice coate of arms on the wall of the church in Ménites.

(1h59) For the way back, you go down the stairs on the opposite side of the church (hiking sign [9b], because this is the beginning of the walk to path [9]); after 5 + 12 steps, you continue straight ahead – walk [9b] goes here to the left, without signposting… You continue your descent [1] and past a house – with to the right the little waterfall – you veer to the right, but immediately after, you take a sharp left on the stairs [1]. Later on, you keep to the right ([1b] on a pole) and you keep going down, but past some houses you take again a sharp left on a paved staircase [1b].

(2h04) You thus get to the bifurcation, where you should take a LEFT (hiking sign [1]).

[If you want to continue to Messariá, you should take a right here - see the alternative walk Chóra - Ménites - Messariá - Chóra.]

You cross the big arch bridge, and then the little bridge; after the stretch with the uneven pavement, there are two small bridges, you then veer to right. You climb old stairs, then you get to a very pleasant and flat stretch, while you pass above the pigeon house and you enjoy the wide panorama of the valley and the elongated village of Messariá. After a little more than 9 minutes, you go up to the left and the right and you get a truly magnificent view – and then you follow some flat stretches of the path

(2h22) At the moment you arrive at the top, Chóra already appears in front of you in the distance.

(2h30) After another 7 minutes, you arrive at the nice bend with the bridge built with flat stones, below 2 plane trees. Your trail climbs again and after a flat stretch with two subsidences, you reach another bridge (with the date 1912 on the balustrade). You now arrive very soon between the houses of Lámyra: you pass underneath a chapel and get to the junction with the blue chimney – to the right you could descend to Messariá.

(2h34) You keep to the LEFT, but after 2 minutes, you keep to the right near a beautiful arched bridge;  you pass some houses and you arrive at the bridge of 1899, also built with the financial assistance of K. Empiríkos [1]

A nice bridge from 1912.

Further on, you cross a small gravel road and continue on the opposite side between houses [1]. You keep to the right, the concrete or paved trail continues to meander between the houses of Lámyra and finally leads to a bend of the concrete road.

(2h41) You follow the climbing road [1] – a hard stretch –  until you get underneath the church of Lámyra. A little further you descend to the right on white steps, underneath a plane tree and to the right of a new house [1], and you arrive at a concrete spot where you continue left [1].
The paved trail passes by some beautiful houses (some are dated 1840) and soon you reach the platía 28 Oktovríou with in front of you the institute for girls.

(2h20) You go up to the left [1], and after 1 minute, you continue STRAIGHT [1]. Pay attention: after 2 more minutes, you go left this time [1]!
You climb, then you cross the asphalt road [1] and the climb gets steeper until you arrive at the bifurcation of paths [1] and [10] (hiking sign). You take a right (hiking sign [1] Chóra 3,2 km) and get to  the small square Theodóra Keraní.

(2h56) You descend for a while to the right, then you get to the strange building with a source, just below the white main church of the Panagía of Messathoúri. Near the tower of the church, you keep to the right [1], and a little later you get to a concrete road that you follow to the left. You follow this road for a few moments, but after 2 minutes, you continue to the RIGHT on a staircase (sign Chóra 55 minutes and [1]) - and right now, you arrive next to the first source of Ypsiloú (date 1763). At the next crossroads, you turn RIGHT onto a narrow concrete path [1], and you soon follow a nice paved staircase. Close to house with the high white chimney, you keep to the LEFT (blue mark and [1]). You pass above the church with the blue dome of Ypsiloú, and further, still near a white house, you take another left [1].

(3h05) You thus arrive at a T-junction in front of a neoclassical house: you go left again ([1] on the steps). You climb and so you get to the second source, dating from 1842. At first, you continue straight ahead [1], but at a bifurcation where a staircase goes up, you descend of course to the right [1]. You finally begin the long descent in a very green environment. You pass a small bridge from 1929, where you continue straight and descend beside gutters and a splendid garden.

(3h12) You continue downhill beside a beautiful row of cypresses, while keeping to the right, and you reach the last source of Ypsiloú, dating from 1818. You walk down to the right on a beautiful little bridge - the inscription mentions the date 1891 and the name of G.K. Empiríkos.

Another old bridge of the famous Empiríkos.

You get to the road again, where you continue on  the opposite side face [1]. Shortly after, you veer left on the concrete path along a gutter [1]. You continue straight along a nice row of cypress.
Pay attention: a few minutes later, next to 2 houses, you descend the stairs to the right ([1] and blue mark). A little later, you descend of course to the right on the concrete steps ([1] and blue mark), and you continue to descend while meandering, sometimes between high walls. At the cross-path, you again go down to the right ([1] and blue mark).

(3h29) About 4 minutes later, you arrive at the side of the chapel with the ruin, and you descend to the left ([1] and blue mark). You veer to the left, but past an old bridge, you veer to the right. You now follow an earth trail, later on a paved path that finally leads straight to Chóra.

(3h36) You cross a small concrete road (blue mark) and - while enjoying magnificent views of Chóra, bathed in the evening sun - you finally arrive in the valley and on the road [1] that leads straight into the river bed with the wooden bridge.

Chóra in the evening sun.

[You can possibly turn left to continue in the bed and on the path towards the bridge and the beach of Nimborió. (sign [1a])

(3h46) If you want to follow the walk [1] until the end, you continue on the opposite side on the steep concrete little road [1], next to the big hiking sign. You cross the asphalt road after 2 minutes and continue straight ahead on the stairs [1]. Above, you take the concrete street to the left [1], until the end, where you climb the stairs to the right in order to reach the beginning of the main street next. You go left and you need now another 2 minutes to get near the church, your starting point. (3h58)

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