Chóra - Apíkia - Pithára and back

Evaluation: This is a pretty short and beautiful hike, especially because of the great trail between Chóra and Apíkia, one of the longest kalderímia of the island, and because of the watery area around the Pithára-falls. This hike gets an evaluation of ***.
[Updated by Raymond on May 14th, 2011, on September 30th, 2014 and on May, the 6th, 2016.]

Estimated time: The hike till the Sáriza-well in Apíkia takes a little over one hour. Walking to Pithára will only cost you about 10 minutes, so maybe half an hour to go and return. Going back to Chóra takes another hour. This makes for an actual hiking time of 2h20. Taking into account some pauses this will definitely become a four-hour-hike – this is ideal for an active morning or a leisurely afternoon.

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 town (for more details you might have a look at the description of the short hike in Chóra itself). For the hikes in the direction of Apíkia and Vourkotí you have to follow the main street inland for a short while (to the right when facing the church). You then have to take the first street off the right, the Odós Stamátis Empiríkou. Via a staircase of about 50 steps you thus descend until you get to a promenade with a couple of restaurants; you are now close to the mouth of a small river, where the Nimborió-quarter begins. You cross the bridge – on the parking lot on the right side, there is an information board of Andros Routes – and  you follow the asphalt road for 1 more minute, between the palm trees. After 1 minute you take a left and you walk on the wide white stairs (walking sign to Apíkia 3,2 km / Bistis tower 5 km / Katakaléď 4,9 km / Vourkotí  7,1 km + [2]).

The hiking sign at the beginning of walk [2].

Then you continue straight ahead on the concrete ramp and follow the street [2], until you arrive at a cross street, where you go to the right (signpost to Vourkotí  2 1/2 hours + [2]). Almost immediately a beautiful staircase begins along a wall [2].

A look back, on the beautiful path from Chóra to Apíkia.

Later on, the really beautiful trail is sometimes 3-4 metres large and it climbs gradually above Chóra and the sea, for about 9 minutes.

Panoramic view on Chóra.

You then get to a concrete road and you follow it, while describing a curve to the left [2], but after about one minute this road becomes again a very nice trail. 

(0h13) Another 4 minutes later you get to an asphalt road off the right, but you follow the ancient staircase going up on the left [2]. You continue on a large staircase, overgrown with flowers. Some 4 minutes later this staircase crosses an asphalt road - on the left you can see a commemoration plate from 1907 for the "great patriot" Alkibiádis Empiríkos, “because he created a road from the town to there”. 

In Spring, a lot of flowers cover the path...

(0h21) You already have a great panoramic view on Chóra, but you have to continue climbing up on the staircase [2]; after 7 minutes you pass an (open) chapel with a terrace and stone benches, you cross the asphalt road and you continue, via a newly constructed staircase (hiking sign + [2]). You continue going up, towards the hill crest. Over here you can really admire the walls, built in a typical Andriotic way:  these walls are made out of regular stones alternated with large, flat schist-plates; this method of construction was probably used to save building materials and time, but it also resulted in a very aesthetic unity. Have also a look at the construction of the trail itself – with the foundation stones piled up vertically!

The typical walls on Andros.

The nice pavement of the path.

The side of the monopáti.

(0h36) After another 8-9 minutes, the stone pavement of the trail has basically disappeared – it is quite likely that the stones have been used to build the walls in the neighbourhood. You cross another broad asphalt road, leading to Agia Marína, and you go straight ahead (hiking sign and [2]). You are now on the crest of the hill and in front of you you discover the beautiful, green valley of Apíkia (with the remarkable Sáriza-hotel); all the way high up the mountain slope you can distinguish the village of Katakaléď, on the right there is the village of Steniés and on the far right the bay of Giália.

View on Apíkia.

Since the gravel road you crossed a couple of minutes ago, your trail thus has become a gravel road as well, which you follow for about 6 minutes – for some moments, you see above you and to the left the big monastery of Agia Marina; near the driveway to a house (gate), you keep to the left. Three minutes later, you get in front of an open gate, but the trail continues next to this gate (sign). Some 3-4 minutes later this beautiful trail splits up and you go down on the right (sign). 
For a short while you now walk above the road, which you then cross (hiking signs). You continue going down on the opposite side [2] and after 2 minutes you thus get to a really beautiful spot. Midst large trees you see an arched bridge over a deep river with streaming water.

The shadowed path, just before you reach the bridge underneath Apíkia.

The bridge near Apíkia.

(0h55) You then proceed on a paved staircase and a concrete ramp, you cross the asphalt road (sign) and you continue on the other side on a concrete staircase [2].
A little further down the trail splits up – straight ahead (on the right of the blue iron gate) hike [8] continues to Steniés and the beach of Giália
(hiking sign + [8]).
For now you take a left first (the continuation of hike [2]) and via a staircase you arrive at the asphalt road, high up in the village.

Here, you can continue to the left to the waterfalls of Pithára (hiking sign "Waterfalls" + [2a]) - later on you will return to this spot!

You go right for a short while (hiking sign + [2], with the big hotel Pigí Sáriza in front of you, and on the left-hand side of the hotel you go up the shining white staircase (hiking sign Vourkotí 3,9 km + [2]) until you see the famous Sáriza-well on the left in front of you. One still can read the date 1787. The water of this well is famous and it is bottled in a small factory a little further down in the village.   (1h04)

[Straight ahead, hike [2] continues to Katakaléď en Vourkotí.]

The Sáriza-well in Apíkia.

[Opposite the hotel, there is since August 2013 the café-restaurant "Tou Parianoú", with nice music and a very good espresso...]

You return the same way, you go right for a short while on the asphalt road [2] and  after some 50 metres you will see a narrower asphalt road – the sign "Pithára" sends you to the right. You walk until you get to a house with on the opposite side the sign post "PEMATIA PYTHARA - Pithara" and you go up the concrete steps on the right-hand side of the house. For some 6 minutes you follow a small concrete path bordered with cypresses, running more or less horizontally. Later on it becomes an earth trail going up slightly once in a while. The large amount of water pipes tell you that you proceed towards a watery spot.  

The valley becomes narrower, you hear streaming water and after some 9 minutes you walk through a wooden gate and you keep following the water. At a certain point, after about one minute, the trail suddenly goes up under the form of steps. Over here you can clearly hear the waterfall and you can walk to the left till the Pithára. This waterfall is about 3 metres tall and the water falls down into a crystal clear pool – some frogs and dragonflies turn this place into a marvellous spot.

The little Pithára-waterfall.

 It is possible to continue along the river, passing a number of smaller rapids....

The way back takes exactly 10 minutes to the small asphalt road; you follow this small road straight ahead until you arrive at the main road, where you take a left. Ten metres before you would reach the staircase to the Sáriza-well on the left, you descend the concrete staircase on the right (hiking sign  and [2] + [8]. You are now following hike no. [2] again and just like on the way out we can limit ourselves by only giving the most important indications:

- after about 3 minutes you get to a T-junction: on the left hike number [8] leads to the beach of Giália, but you descend on the right towards the asphalt road (hiking sign + [2])
- you cross the road towards the right (hiking sign and [2]) and you continue to go down on the concrete slope – very soon this becomes a beautiful old trail
- 2 minutes later on you cross the green valley via a nice bridge; the water in this valley comes from the Pithára and further down also from Evrousés (this small river is called "Potamós toon Gialioón" and it thus leads to the beach of Giália)
- you go up the old staircase and after 2 minutes you cross the asphalt road again towards the right (sign "Chóra")
- 3 minutes further you reach a junction, where you go left and where you continue to go up
- after 3 minutes you get to the gravel road, which you follow straight ahead for 6-7 minutes: you should definitely have a look again at the marvellous wall with the large schist-plates and you should also admire the great view over the valley!
- when you reach the asphalt road you continue straight ahead on the old trail on the opposite side; you then get a beautiful view on Chóra
- you proceed on a wonderful kalderími for half an hour: after 7-8 minutes you cross an asphalt road; some 13-14 minutes later you get to a road and again 16 minutes later on the old trail curves to the right – the ancient tiles are interrupted only twice, but otherwise the old kalderími continues for about 27 minutes, which is rather exceptional!
- in Chóra you arrive at some concrete, you go left till you reach the water side of Nimborió, near the bridge.

If you have to go back to the centre of town you have to follow the beach for about 8 minutes. You then cross the bridge on the left and via the restaurants and the staircase of 53 steps you thus reach the main street of Chóra.

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