Chóra - Agios Ioánnis and back

Evaluation: This long hike offers a wonderful path, with basically all the time a marvellous panoramic view on the coast and the bay of Mylopótas. During the second part of the hike, when climbing up the side of the Pýrgos, it is rather difficult to find the trail. This hike gets an evaluation of ***.
[Updated by Raymond on April 27th, 2013.] 

Estimated time: To hike to the asphalt road to Manganári takes about 1h15. After walking on the asphalt for 9 minutes, you have to climb up by following sometimes vague trails and this will cost you another 40 minutes. 
Descending to the main road will only take 31 minutes and for the return route via the beautiful path you should count on 1h15. This means a total actual walking time of four hours – we hiked, as usual, twice as long, from 10am to 6pm, with a long break up at the monastery.  

Route description: (0h00) You leave from the small square near the Mitrópoli, the main church with the blue dome. You then take the Odós Syndésmou Iítoon to the left, on the left of the small shop Theros, and you follow this paved main street for about 5 minutes. You DO NOT go left immediately (this would lead you up, to the three chapels dominating Chóra) or right into the small street. Further on you keep to the right twice and after 2 minutes you thus arrive at a beautiful square – in the morning it is very quiet here, but at night there is a lot of noise coming from the bars... You continue on the main street, you pass the small library of Ios and you also pass a pantopolío and a bakery. After some 5 minutes you reach the foot of the beautiful and broad staircase, leading to the mills.

[You could also continue straight ahead - in this case, you will get to the little asphalt road, between the 3rd and the 4th ruin of a mill.]

The staircase towards the row of mills.

(0h05) You now go up on the right and you pass one of the most famous spots of Chóra, the row of mills, with ruins of 12 mills, situated on a windy ridge. You walk over the terrace, with a beautiful view behind you on the hill with the churches.

A beautiful view on the chapels of Chóra, from the mills.

(0h06) You should keep to the left on the terrace and go down to a little asphalt road, that veers left and right between the 3rd and the 4th ruin of a mill. You then go up on this road that soon crosses the broader road to Manganári. You follow the little road going up on the right side of the other mills (there is a hiking sign and also a signpost to the theatre + a [3] a little further).

The hiking sign for the walks to Agios Prokópios and Agios Ioánnis.

Further on you continue straight ahead and after 6 minutes you arrive at a curve, near steps, on the right-hand side of a house, leading to a chapel.

The chapel near the theatre.

(0h12) On the left of the chapel you find a rocky slope and a staircase, running in the direction of a second small chapel – but first you can keep following the concrete road in order to have a look at the beautiful and modern little theatre. From here you also have a nice view on the bay and the beach of Mylopótas.

The little theatre, situated near the row of mills of Chóra.

(0h14) You return past the chapel and you take the staircase toward the second chapel. You continue on a rocky slope, between the building of the new museum and the chapel, and along the wall of the museum [3]. In this way you reach a third chapel (with an inscription of 15 October 1894 above the door). This is the place where the actual trail begins, straight ahead between walls (next to a heavy black water pipe). There is another trail off the left, but this leads to Agios Prokópios (see the hike Chóra - Agios Prokópios - Chóra).

(0h17) You proceed straight ahead on a nice trail; this trail slowly goes up for the first 5 minutes – far away in front of you, you can distinguish the 714-high Pýrgos, with aerials on top of it, and you can already discern a small tip of the monastery! Very soon you will also see the island of Síkinos behind you. You really walk on a kind of balcony now, on a flat path with a nice view on the beach of Mylopótas.

Panoramic view on the beach of Mylopótas.

Later on you go down on a rocky trail until, after 11 minutes, you cross a small and rocky bed of a river.

(0h28) You continue easily with still a really nice view on the beach; after 5 minutes you have to leave the trail because it is overgrown – for another 5 minutes a more recent path then continues on the left-hand side of the old trail between walls. But then you get to the old route again, still guided by the black water pipe. After a few minutes you arrive at a rocky crest and you can nicely see your trail continuing to the left, on the left-hand side of a wall. 

The monopáti on your way to Agios Ioánnis.

(0h55) All together some 38 minutes after the beginning of the actual trail you get to a small valley and the bed of a river again, with a few oleanders. You keep following the rocky trail + the water pipe on the left of the wall and going up. After about 8 minutes you reach yet another crest, and from this point you can already distinguish the main road, on the side of the mountain Pýrgos.

View on the Pýrgos, with the asphalt road on his slope.

You now have to clear your way through the vegetation and then you arrive between a wall and a fence in reinforcing steel. You go up a little and then you have to watch out: the trail veers to the left, but you should not follow it anymore - you have to climb over the small wall on the right (we left a cairn here) and descend to the curve of the asphalt road – if you were to continue all the way to the end of the trail, it would be impossible to still go down to the asphalt road!

(1h15) After having followed the beautiful path for about 58 minutes you arrive at the broad and rarely used asphalt road. You take a left, until you find a possibility to climb op the Pýrgos.

[If you follow the asphalt road to the right for about 20 minutes, you will arrive underneath the chapel of Pétros and Pávlos; after the chapel, you will discover a vague trail, but we thought it was to difficult to follow...]

(1h24) After 9 fairly difficult minutes on the asphalt road, you get to a curve to the left. Over here, on the right of a dug out slope, you find the vague continuation of your trail. You proceed on the left-hand side of a very small gorge and three times the red dots help you to follow the vague path. Eventually you go more to the left, in the direction of a metal fence and after 5 minutes you find a clearer trail, which you follow by going up and to the right. You can already see the aerials on top of the mountain, which can be regarded as your aim.  

(1h29) Which is very annoying from this point is that there is indeed a trail all the way to the summit, sometimes indicated by means of red dots, but that this trail is very hard to describe. 

An obvious part of the path, indicated by red dots.

At first you can take the aerials as your target and you go up on the left of the hill crest, about halfway between the bed of the valley on the left and the crest on the right. You should watch out not to cross the bed on the left too early – you can only do so after about 20 minutes after you have turned to the right, just past a typical rock, consisting of several large blocks (see picture below). 

A rock serving as a beacon ...

(1h49) After you have crossed the bed, you soon notice the highest tower of the monastery. You continue in that direction, on a yellowish trail – if it comes to a dead end you should return in order to find another and better way.  

(2h02) Some 13 minutes later you get to the summit: the monastery is a very quiet spot, with tables and benches in stone – there is still some construction going on. This is a nice picnic spot...

You arrive near Agios Ioánnis.

On the inner court of Agios Ioánnis.

You have a magnificent view on Mylopótas, on the bay of Ormos and on Síkinos.

Panoramic view from Agios Ioánnis.

[Behind the monastery you find a gravel road, which you can follow to go down. You should then describe a large curve to the left and once you have reached the asphalt road you should take a left again. You will then get to the sharp curve where you took the vague path going up earlier today. After another 7-8 minutes on the asphalt road you will arrive at the place from where you can follow the obvious trail to the right, back to Chóra.]  

Hikers who know how to orient themselves can take the same way down as when coming up – but first you should have a good look around, standing on the edge of the platform in front of the monastery. In this way you can see which marks in the landscape you will use in order to descend. You will first walk to the yellow spots of the path, below and on your left. Thereafter you will continue to a couple of rocks, among which the large rock consisting of several large blocks (see the picture above). You will then follow the trail running halfway between the crest of the hill and the valley. You can already see this trail from here: a line going in the direction of the curve in the asphalt road (with a large goat farm above, in the middle of a big circle of walls).

You leave by taking the trail in front of the entrance gate straight ahead and down, and you descend towards the yellow spots in the landscape. You thus get to a more obvious trail, already after 3 minutes. You follow the yellow, worn away trail, until you see the valley in front of you, some 6-7 minutes later. You can now proceed towards the large rock consisting of several large blocks. On the left of this rock, and only there, you can cross the bed of the river. In the meanwhile you still had a great view on a number of islands: Síkinos on the left and beyond Sikinos, to the left, the island of Folégandros; very vague you can also distinguish Kímolos and Mílos, then Sífnos, and even more to the right the group of Despotikó - Antíparos - Páros and finally Náxos.

(2h11) After the bed you rather go to the right, on an obvious trail. You pass on the right-hand side of a rock, but you should watch out because the trail is slightly overgrown before and after this rock. You keep following this trail, halfway the crest and the bed of the river, in the direction of the curve in the asphalt road – you can already hear the noise of the goats and the shouting of the farmer at the goat farm above the road.

You descend on the slope of the Pýrgos.

(2h20) About 9 minutes later you should keep to the right in order to pass next to a worn away rock face (there is a red dot) and then you follow the worn away trail, which is very clear now.

(2h29) Yet another 9 minutes later you see a metal fence in front of you and then you should definitely go more to the left. In this way you go further down, halfway between the small gorge and the fence. 

(2h35) You thus arrive at the asphalt road fairly smoothly, where you take a left. You follow this road for the next 7-8 minutes. When reaching a curve to the left you have to try and find the trail, on the right and through the debris (there is also a red dot). You can in fact already see the wall of the old trail in front of you.

(2h44) Once above, you reach the beautiful old trail and you take a left, between the wall on the left and a fence on the right. From then onwards it is easy to find the way back, a few short indications will suffice.

- after 7 minutes you walk through a metal gate; from then onwards you will be guided by the black water pipe
- some
13 minutes later you notice the beach of Mylopótas in front of you and to the left, and the Profítis Ilías with its aerials in front
- you descend for quite a while, with the Profítis Ilías towering in front of you, until you reach the small valley with the oleanders
you go up again and then you follow an easy strtech on sloping rocks
- (3h27) by keeping to the righ, you automatically arrive to the right of the old path
- you
continue on the right of the overgrown track of the ancient monopáti and then there is the beautiful horizontal trail
- when taking a rest you can have a look behind you – you can still see the monastery, on the left of the aerials on top of the Pýrgos
after that nice stretch, you descend in a little valley, and go up again for the last time: the theatre and the first chapel appear, the island of Síkinos seems very nearby and you can also see the island of Santoríni - Mylopótas disappears behind you.

(3h40) About 56 minutes after your departure from the road you reach the highest chapel again. You continue for a few minutes to the little concrete road past the last chapel; you take a right and then a left onto the concrete road. In this way you get to the square again, between the last mill but one and the last one – quite likely, you will truly enjoy a cool beer on the terrace of The Mills!

(3h51) It will then take you 5 more minutes to descend through the old part of Chóra, until you reach the Mitrópoli. (3h56)


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