Chóra - Agios Prokópios - Chóra 

Evaluation: This fairly long hike brings you to the real interior of Ios, via a truly beautiful trail on the slope of the Profítis Ilías (519 m), and it arrives at a very picturesque monastery in a green setting. For the return route you follow a trail which was, some years ago, rather hard to find - it is now signposted with [2], while the way out is marked with [3]. This hike gets an evaluation of ***. 
[Update by Raymond on April 29th, 2013.]

Estimated time: For the way out you should count about 1h20 and for the return route a little over one hour. This means a total actual walking time of 2h25 – our real walking time took about 5 hours, including a one-hour-break at the monastery. 

Route description: (0h00) You leave from the little square at the Mitrópoli, the main church with the blue dome. You then take the Odós Syndésmou Iítoon on the left, on the left-hand side of the shop Theros, and you follow this paved main street for about 5 minutes. Thus, you do NOT take a left immediately (which would lead you upwards, to the three chapels dominating the town of Chóra), nor do you go right into the small street. Further on you go right twice and after about 2 minutes you arrive at the nice little square Sp. Valétas – in the morning this is a very peaceful spot, but at night there is a lot of noise coming from the bars. You keep following this main street, you walk on the right-hand side of the small library of Ios and you also pass a pantopolío and a bakery. In this way you arrive at a second square (Platía Ioánnis Stínis), with a rather big church with a blue dome.
Walk [1] starts here in the left corner, but you should continue straight, and soon you will
get to the foot of the beautiful and broad staircase leading to the mills.  

The staircase leading to the mills.

(0h05) You go up on the right and you thus arrive at one of the most famous spots of Chóra: the row of mills, where you can still find the ruins of 12 mills, on top of a very windy crest. You walk across the terrace, with a nice panoramic view behind you, on the hill with the small churches.

A nice view on Chóra with its churches.

(0h06) You keep to the left on the terrace, and you descend to a little asphalt road, that veers left and right between the 3rd and the 4th ruin of a mill. You go up to the left on this road and soon cross the main road to Manganári.
You continue straigjht on the little road that now goes up on the right side
of the other mills (hiking sign, signpost to the theatre and [3] a little further).

The hiking sign at the beginning of the walks to Agios Prokópios and Agios Ioánnis.

Later on you proceed straight ahead and after about 6 minutes you get to a curve, at a staircase leading to a chapel, on the right-hand side of a house [3].

The chapel next to the theatre.

(0h12) On the left of the chapel there is a paved slope and a staircase going in the direction of a second chapel – but first you should continue on the concrete road for a short while, to have a look at the modern little theatre. You also have a wonderful view on the bay and the beach of Mylopótas.

The little theatre, not so far from the mills in Chóra.

(0h14) You return, you go past the chapel, and you follow the staircase in the direction of the second little chapel. You continue, passing in between the huge building of the new museum and the chapel and along the wall of the museum [3]. You thus arrive at a third chapel (with an inscription of 15 October 1894 above the door), where you find the beginning of two trails. The first path goes straight ahead between walls (next to a heavy black water pipe): it goes to Agios Ioánnis (see the hike Chóra - Agios Ioánnis and back).
Your path takes a left immediately, between walls as well; you can also notice
a [3] on a rock and a red dot on the right side.

The beginning of the path to Agios Prokópios and the Profitis Ilías.

(0h17) You thus take a left, following a very nice and rocky trail; it goes up and it provides you with a great view behind you.

Looking behind you - a view of Chóra...

The monopáti, at the beginning of your hike to Agios Prokópios.

After some 8 minutes this view on the town of Chóra, the entire bay and the island of Síkinos is absolutely marvellous.  

Panoramic view on Chóra, the bay and Síkinos.

(0h29) About 12 minutes later the trail becomes almost flat. You arrive at a large valley, in the shape of an amphitheatre, and your trail seems to continue nicely on the other side of this valley.

(0h35) After 6-7 more minutes the monopáti curves to the left sharply, indeed – in earlier times there used to be a lot of cultivated terraces and fields over here, but now everything lies fallow. You walk around the tub-shaped valley, but a little later you reach a triangular and rocky spot, where you go right (red dot). Slightly further you get to a junction where you take a left ([3] and red dot), and after another 3 minutes you arrive at a small building where you continue on the right [3]. The walls move away from each other, but later on they approach each other again, on the left-hand side of another small building. (0h43) Shortly thereafter you reach yet another triangular and rocky spot, where you keep to the left (cairn and [3]). You then arrive at a pass: in front of you, you notice two modern windmills and on their left is the island of Náxos.

(0h44) You now continue for quite a few minutes on an easy and flat trail, while spotting a small chapel with a flat roof underneath.

[Just before the chapel and again 3 minutes later, you could go up to the right in order to climb to the summit of the Profítis Ilías - there is no marking at all! See the walk Chóra - Profítis Ilías - Agios Prokópios - Chóra.] 

After 11 minutes on this flat trail you can distinguish your aim, Agios Prokópios, on your left-hand side and down.

(0h58) A couple of minutes later you start to descend gradually and then you have to watch out: some 2 minutes further down, at a large boulder in the middle of the trail, you notice a narrow trail going to the left sharply - this happens just before the lowest point of your trail..

[The path straight ahead, which you can see going up in front of you for quite a while, goes to the gravel road that comes from the Profítis Ilías and to the the main road to Manganári - see the walk Chóra - Agia Theodóti.]

(1h01) You go down on the left and at first you should rather keep to the left of your aim, Agios Prokópios; thereafter you go straight towards this monastery. The narrow path descends quickly now, but you can easily follow it. After 7-8 minutes you get a great view on Agios Prokópios and the green valley.

General view on Agios Prokópios.

The trail goes more to the right and it crosses a few walls of terraces – you should take care not to descend too much into the valley. You have to pass a house and from there you find a trail which is overgrown. About 12 minutes after you went down on the left, this overgrown trail gets to a beautiful path between walls (there is also a red dot). 

(1h13) Later on you will return to this place, but for now you should of course take a right. At first your trail will curve even more to the right, it then crosses a small valley filled with oleanders (on the 31st of May 2007) and it leads straight towards the small monastery, where you will arrive after a little under 5 minutes. (1h18)  
This is a beautiful and peaceful spot, situated midst cypresses and in a very green valley, with terraces planted with olive trees. 

The green valley next to Agios Prokópios.

(1h18) For the return route you should first go back the way you came, for about 5 minutes – you thus descend the stairs through the terraces (no marks!). After 1 minute, you keep to the far left on a narrow terrace, and a little further, there is a path arriving from the left (you can follow it during the walk Chóra - Profítis Ilías - Agios Prokópios - Chóra). You continue straight, then you cross the river bed on a concrete path. You keep here to the far right and you arrive in this way at the beautiful trail that goes up between walls. It is not until after 5 minutes you see a trail marker [2].

(1h24) Next to the angle of the wall, where you arrived
on your way out, you continue of course straight ahead.
This trail was once difficult to follow and required a detailed description, but since 2011, the path was cleared and marked with red and white plates with the number [2] - the path is much easier to follow now ...
You go up for a little more than 2 minutes and above you see very well the Profítis Ilías with the antennas - on its slopes, you distinguish clearly the line of the path [3] you have followed
a little while ago. You continue some time almost flatly, but the trail is sometimes quite narrow because of the vegetation. You veer to the right and, after 10 minutes, there is a side path where you continue straight of course.

(1h35) A little further on, you begin to descend on large flat stones: you see very clearly Síkinos in front of you, with to its right the vague contours of Folégandros, Sífnos and Antíparos. You still go down, sometimes on beautiful stones or steps.

The nice trail [2]. 

The trail is obvious and goes up and down slightly, and soon you get a beautiful view of Chóra. After the descent follows a beautiful and almost flat stretch, with on your right side a nice view of the round hill of Skárkos: on this place, findings from 2800 BC have indicated a very old settlement, dating from the early Bronze Age.

 

The excavations of Skárkos.

The monopáti arrives at Chóra...

(2h07) You finally arrive at a small road next to a large metal gate and you follow it to the right and down. The gravel becomes concrete and you get to the asphalt road, next to a chapel [2]. You follow the road to the left for 2 minutes, then you take BEFORE the turn a concrete street that goes right between the houses (red marks).

(2h14) After a few minutes you get to a side-path, next to a chapel - this path comes from Skárkos. You take a left naturally, the concrete path veers to the right and becomes a paved staircase-path [1]. You continue now straight - the trail that goes to the left leads to the mills ... -, first on concrete, then on a paved street that finally gets to the Platía Ioánnis Stínis.

(2h19) You take a right here to follow the main street: twice you should keep to the left (almost immediately next to the Sweet Corner and further on next to the Blue Note), in order to keep following the main street. You thus get to the square Sp. Valétas, with its 2 trees and 4 bars...
You can now continue until next to the church and even proceed on the opposite side of the road on the path that descends to the harbour... (sign). (2h23) 

 


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