Chóra - Lámira - Ménites - Messariá - Moní Panachrántou - Messariá - Lámira - Chóra

Evaluation: This is one out of the hikes on Andros you really HAVE TO make. On this hike you will get a marvellous view of the large valleys above the town of Chóra, with great panoramic views on the town itself. You will pass through one of the most watery areas of the island with the wonderful valley of Ménites. Next, from Messariá onwards to the monastery, the trail goes up beautifully, following a great monopátia. And the monastery itself is obviously also worth a visit. All the way long the hike is nicely indicated by means of the trail marker [1]. This hike really deserves the maximum evaluation of ****.
[Update by Raymond on October the 1st, 2012, by Dany Boute on April the 17th, 2014 and by Raymond again on May the 3rd, 2015.]

Estimated time: The hike till Ménites takes  2 hours in actual hiking time (AWT); about 20 minutes later you arrive in Messariá and the marvellous climb to the Moní Panachrántou takes 1h20. The descent to Messariá will cost you 1h15 and then you have to walk for 1h40 to return to Chóra. All together this makes for 6h35 of actual hiking time, which is a very long hiking day – maybe a little too long… You can shorten this hike with one hour and a half by taking the bus from Messarià back to Chóra. In this case you should not forget to note down the bus schedule (of the busses from Batsí to Chóra) before your departure. You can also opt – like we did – for two shorter variants: Chóra - Ménites and Messariá – Panachrántou; this gives you more time to enjoy all of the wonderful spots!

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 in Ménites.

One of the lion heads of the well in Ménites.

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]); you cross the water-shoot and for quite a while you walk alongside this water-shoot. After about nine minutes you cross the water-shoot again. Near the remnants of a water mill - you should watch out now! - you take a left on the staircase, near a small white building (there is also a no. [1]). You thus get alongside some streaming water again. A little further on, you do NOT take a left across a small bridge. Instead, you keep to the right and a little further you go left again [1]. Very soon, you will see the blue dome of the church of Messariá in front of you. You walk horizontally, the trail is a little overgrown, but later on it gets very beautiful again – running alongside a water pipe.

The path between Ménites and Messariá.

At the houses of Messariá you go right, up a staircase [1] and in this way you reach an asphalt road, next to the tavern Diónysos.

In order to continue to the monastery of Panachrántou and to keep following hike no.[1], you should go to the right on the asphalt road. On the left-hand side of the large living tower (pýrgos) of Kaïri, which you see immediately in front of you, trail [1] continues.

The Pýrgos Kaïri in Messariá.

You follow the concrete path for about three minutes; you cross an asphalt road and a little later the concrete path becomes a beautiful trail which descends into the valley and which gives you a great view on the monastery and on the village of Fállika. You can hear the splashing of water and indeed, slightly further you get to a small river.  After 12-13 minutes going down you reach a marvellous bridge, the bridge of Stichioméni – about 20 minutes after your departure from Messariá.

The bridge of Stichioméni

(2h38) After the bridge you keep to the left almost immediately ([1] + signpost); you continue to follow the dry bed of a river, keeping an eye on the trail marker [1].
Next, you leave the valley by going up on the left and by following the meandering trail you climb up quickly – behind you there is a great view on the villages of Messariá and Ménites and in front of you the views on Fállika and the monastery get clearer. After climbing up steadily for about 15 minutes you reach some flatter grounds. Further on you arrive at a three-forked junction between walls: on the left (red arrows + a trail marker with a little red triangle) there is an alternative trail to return to Chóra via Livádia; you continue straight ahead.

Good signs on our way to the monastery.

(2h53) A beautiful trail with rocky steps brings you higher and higher: you keep going straight ahead, with the trail markers [1], and you ignore the paths off the right (there is a wooden sign post to Fállika), off the left twice and again off the right.  

The monopáti with, still far away, our goal, the monastery.

You should also note the rustling of the black and green grasshoppers and beetles under your feet and on the walls.

(3h11) After another 18 minutes of climbing up on a beautiful trail you stop for a while on a beautiful spot: nearby you can see the ruins of the deserted village of Petriás, close by, also on the left, there is the village of Fállika, and far away, on the opposite side of the large valley you can distinguish: the village of Pitrofós and the church high up on the left, the village of Aladinoú a little lower, the village of Ménites midst the cypresses, the houses of Messariá (with the blue dome and the tower at our point of departure), then also the villages of Lámira and Ipsiloú and the town of Chóra all the way on the right!!
You continue for almost half an hour on this marvellous and unambiguous climbing trail, sometimes between yellow broom, high up above Fállika till you get to the monastery.
Some two hundred metres before the monastery you arrive at a gravel road – you have to come back to this spot for the return route. Via the gravel and concrete road you walk along the back side of the monastery till the modern white arch indicating the entrance. You go down the staircase and you get to the beautiful terrace with the large plane trees.

The inner yard of the monastery.

The Iera Moní Panachrántou - also called Agios Pandeleïmonas - is situated at an altitude of 500 m; one tells that the monastery dates from the 10th century, but that the oldest historical indications go back to the 16th century. You can admire a wonderful icon in the church and also a beautiful wooden ikonostási from the 18th century. On the inner yards there are some wells with streaming water and also the large dining room and the old kitchen are very interesting. Unfortunately, the rich library is not accessible. The first terrace is a marvellous spot to picnic.

The beautiful ikonostási in the monastery of Panachrántou.

(3h37) For the return route you first pass the entrance arch, you then have to curve to the left sharply. You thus follow the asphalt road along the side and the back of the monastery. When arriving at the bend in the road, with a well on your right-hand side, the trail continues straight ahead underneath the trees (hiking pole [1] and old sign Fállika 45’ / Messariá 1h25). The path descends fast and the road is really self-evident, because the trail is well signposted with [1] – the gravel road on the left side is new and goes down to Fállika.

The following descent is absolutely marvellous; it takes about 25 minutes and you walk on a rocky trail with steps – the road is really unambiguous. In this way you get to a beautiful viewpoint – do not forget to look at the multitude of terraces underneath Fállika and at the ruins of the ancient village of Petriás.

The viewpoint with the beautiful panoramic view of Fállika.

(4h08) After another 135 steps, you arrive underneath the ruins at a bifurcation: the path that starts here to the left, is walk [18] that goes to Fállika and Aladinoú. You continue straight and your walk [1] now follows for a while that walk [18]. Slighly further, after only 10 steps, a trail starts to the right - it is here that walk [18] continues to Vrachnoú and Chóra, you take a sharp LEFT here.
fter 6 more minutes or 190 steps, you DO NOT go right, but you continue straight ahead; 1 minute later you keep to the right and at the next junction - where the path to the left leads towards Fállika - you continue straight.
Another 2 minutes later you arrive at the grassy junction between walls; on the right here you can see an alternative path to Chóra, via Livádia. This return route is about 40 minutes shorter than via Messariá and Lámira, but it is more monotonous – at a certain spot it is also more difficult to find the correct trail. If you would still like to follow this route, you should have a look at the hike Chóra - Panachrántou - Livádia - Chóra.

(4h18) You thus go straight ahead (red dot and trail marker [1]): the beautiful trail descends quickly into the narrow valley underneath Fállika via countless steps. After some 10 minutes you reach the bed of a river midst blooming oleanders (on the 12th of May 2005) and you follow this bed for a couple of minutes. In this way you get to the marvellous arched bridge over the Megálos Potamós – your small bed of a river ends in this larger river. You can take some rest here and watch out for frogs and tortoises in the water.

The Stichioméni-bridge with in the background the monastery and Fállika.

(4h34) On the other side of the bridge you descend on the right to the bed of the river, which you follow downstream on the right-hand side of the wall – for a short while you walk between oleanders and other bushes next to the water, but very soon you find the staircase and the trail on the left – you thus rise above the valley.
Some five minutes after the bridge you continue straight ahead and you DO NOT go up steeply on the left. The following climb is quite strenuous and after 14 minutes your trail turns into a narrow gravel road. This gravel road becomes concrete and it leads to an asphalt road. You continue straight ahead on an overgrown trail. Very soon the trail gets clearer and it leads to the main street of Messariá, near the living tower of Kaïri.
You go slightly to the right and you thus get to the tavern of Diónysos, a welcome stop-over. If the tavern is closed, you can go a little further to the right, just past the church, and find an old café + shop, which is basically always open. Over here you can wait for the bus from Gávrio and Batsí or you can call a taxi.

If you are courageous you can continue to Chóra on foot; you then have to follow a short-cut for a short while and deviate from hike [1] – this hike (on the left of the tavern of Diónysos) would you lead via Ménites again.

(4h52) If you continue on foot, you thus follow the asphalt road to the right for about 4 minutes, past the church, the monument, and the school opposite a small chapel. Then, BEFORE the first house past the school + chapel, you take a staircase on the left. Next to this staircase there is a beautiful tree and a well with a sign from 1998 – the blue letters on the wall have become unreadable.
You proceed without any difficulties for about six minutes until you descend towards a green river with an impressive footbridge. 

The footbridge between Messariá and Lámyra.

(5h02) You go up, alongside a nice row of cypresses. You thus go higher all the time, first keeping to the right and then to the left at a junction near a house. In this way, you get to a very long and difficult staircase, leading to the crossing with the large number of water pipes and the funny blue chimney. At this point, you are back on the official hike no. [1].

From here you take a right and you follow the same hike as a couple of hours ago – in the opposite direction obviously.

(5h10) You thus keep to the RIGHT, and after 2 minutes, you keep to the right again, 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.

(5h17) 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.

(5h23) 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.

(5h32) 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].

(5h41) 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.

(5h48) 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).

(6h05) 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.

(6h12) 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])

(6h22) 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. (6h34)

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