Chóra - Profítis Ilías - Agios Prokópios - Chóra 

Evaluation: This walk goes through the interior of the island along a beautiful monopáti on the slopes of the Profítis Ilias (519 m); then we climb to the top without following a real path. The descent follows gravel roads for about 2.5 km or 35-40 minutes (AWT). A beautiful trail then takes us down to the picturesque monastery of Agios Prokópios, located in a leafy valley. The return route follows at the beginning a narrow path that is rather difficult to find, but after about 20 minutes, we come to the beautiful path that takes us back to Chóra all along the slopes of the Profítis Ilías. Most of the time, there is a good signposting by means of red and white trail markers [3].
Deserves. ***
[Updated in May 2012 by Jean-Paul Ovigne and George Roubaud.][The translation of this walk was made with the help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: It takes about 1h10 (AWT) to reach the top of the Profítis Ilías; we then follow some gravel roads during a little over 35 minutes. The beautiful monopáti to Agios Prokópios demands about 25 minutes.
The difficult climb from the small monastery lasts 25 minutes, and finally the very obvious trail back to Chóra, that we followed during our way there for most of the time, takes 55 minutes. The actual walking time thus amounts to a total of 3h30 - our total time (TWT) mounted up to about 7 hours, with a picnic break of an hour 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 a nice little square – 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 it will take you some 5 minutes to get to the foot of the beautiful and broad staircase leading to the mills.

The staircase 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. You descend a few steps to the asphalt road, with in front of you the 4th mill.

Splendid views from the mills over Chóra and its chapels.

(0h06) Between the 3rd and the 4th ruin of a mill you find a three-forked road, where you go up the asphalt road in the direction of the other mills (signpost to the theatre and hotel Skala). The road climbs quickly past the hotel Skala, and the views over the bay, the port and the island of Síkinos become more beautiful. Further, you continue straight on, on the right side of the mills 5 to 9, 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. By following those steps and a rocky slope you get to a concrete little road, next to the first chapel.
ut first you should continue to the right 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 small theatre of Chóra.

The chapel near the theatre.

(0h14) You return, you go past the chapel, and you follow the rocky slope and the staircase until you have also passed the second little chapel – with next to it the impressive building of the new archaeological museum Gaïti-Simosi. 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 red dot on a rock.

(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 to Chóra...

The beginning of the monopáti to Agios Prokópios and the Profítis Ilías.

After some 7 minutes this view on the town of Chóra, the entire bay and the island of Síkinos is absolutely marvellous.

Panoramic view over 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 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 (red dot), and after another 3 minutes you arrive at a small building where you continue on the right. The walls move away from each other, but two more times you are guided by red dots. Finally, the walls approach each other again, on the left-hand side of another small building.

(0h41) Shortly thereafter you reach yet another triangular and rocky spot, where you keep to the left. 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 on an easy and flat trail, while spotting a small chapel with a flat roof underneath.

The nice path towards the Profítis Ilías.

(0h48) Pay attention now: just before arriving at the chapel, and then again 3 minutes later, shortly after the chapel and a small dark building a little further on the left, your path passes between beautiful walls. Here you see twice red lines on the rocks to the right of you: they indicate the route to mount directly to the top, often without following a trail.

The red marks on the wall and the ridge show how to go up to the summit...

We went up close to the second spot where we saw the red lines.
First, you have to climb to the left or to the right of the rocky ledge that goes up - sometimes you continue on the ridge itself. After a little more than 4 minutes, the ledge with the red lines ends and you zigzag now all the way up to the antenna, with no visible trail. The easiest route climbs slightly to the right of the summit – besides, you have the most beautiful views there.

(1h06) You continue if possible on the rocky ridges, where there is less vegetation, and after a rather painful climb of 18 minutes - because of the bushes, the famous frýgana - you arrive at a more gentle green slope. You veer a little more to the right and you reach a fairly clear path that leads straight to the antenna.
Just before you get near the antenna, you enjoy the best view over Chóra, the bay, Síkinos and the beautiful beach of Mylopótas.
You climb until you are just below the antenna, you follow the small gravel road that runs around the top, and you thus arrive at the road you will follow down within a minute.
But first, you go up to the right and you climb the stairs leading to the chapel - it was hitherto invisible, and it seems very small because of the antenna and the archi-ugly building next to it.

(1h12) The little geodesic pole stands at an altitude of 519 meters. You have a beautiful view of Síkinos – with to the left the silhouette of Santoríni, and Náxos at the other side.

The chapel of Profítis Ilías.

Next to the geodetic pole...

(1h12) You descend to the road - first there is a concrete slope, then there is the gravel road - in front of you you see the high peak of the Pýrgos.

(1h23) After 11 minutes, there is a small path coming from the right and you describe a long turn to the left – with in front of you the islands of Irakliá, Kéros and Náxos. After a turn to the right, you continue down while zigzagging. The road passes through a metal gate that is open and you now have a beautiful view over the bay of Theodótis with the small island of Irakliá.

(1h30) A little further on you get to a cross road, where you take a sharp left. Your path now continues just above the asphalt road and slowly goes down.

(1h38) After another 8 minutes, you keep to the right - the little road that goes left, is not on the map of Terrain Maps.

[Just before this side-road, there is a clear path that descends to the left. It is signposted with [3] and continues on the left slope of the valley of Agios Prokópios - the small road also goes down in that valley. After no more than 10-11 minutes, this trail arrives at point 2h35 below - it thus could be a shorter alternative route, but in this case you miss the beautiful small monastery of Agios Prokópios.]

(1h49) Finally the trail gets to the asphalt road, but do not continue until the road itself! There is a sign that says "Profítis Ilías 2km."
To the left, there is a wired fence, very difficult to get through – you have to follow this fence to the LEFT without crossing it. There is a vague path that follows the fence and after 3 minutes, you get to a clear path, between the fence and a wall. A cairn indicates that point, but soon the beautiful old paved path becomes still more clear. Here it is well marked with trail markers [3] and the Profítis Ilías is now right in front of you.
A little further you descend on beautiful stairs, built with large flat stones.

The clear path that runs straight to the Profítis Ilías.

Big flat stones and beautiful curves...

(2h01) After 4 minutes, you reach a vague bifurcation next to two small olive trees - you follow the main trail to the LEFT. A little later, you go left again and you have a beautiful view of the cypresses next to Agios Prokópios. A staircase descends until you get behind the church and you reach the trail that comes from Chóra and is marked with [2] (see the return of the hike Chóra - Agios Prokópios - Chora).
But first, you take a right in order to go up to Agios Prokópios [3]: you pass through a gate made of pallets and after climbing several terraces and stairs, you arrive near the church. Beyond the church, there is a house with a terrace and shed, a stone table and benches - ideal for picnics. (2h11)

General view of Agios Prokópios.

The green environment of Agios Prokópios.

(2h11) For the continuation of the walk, you do not go down to the road, but you retrace your steps to the left, to return to the crossroads of walks [2] and [3]. There, you follow the walk [2] down behind Agios Prokópios, you cross the bed of the river upstream of the chapel, and then you climb the beautiful stepped path.
After exactly 5 minutes, you see a path on the left, at the corner of a wall. Straight ahead, the path [2] continues to Chóra, see the hike Chóra - Agios Prokópios - Chóra. This is an easier way back, which is well signposted until the center of Chóra with trail markers [2].

(2h16) This time however, you have to take a left here; the path on the left is quite nice at first, but soon it is overgrown with vegetation. When it becomes too difficult to move forward, you go up to the right and continue over a terrace until you reach a house. Next this house, you follow the wall to the left and you see in front of you a path which climbs gently through the bushes to the left of the long wall. When the wall ends, the trail becomes very vague, but you continue in the same direction, that is to say in the direction of the antenna at the top of Profítis Ilías that arises from time to time.
You pass just next to a small stable, and after 12 minutes, to the left of a ruin of a small church. You keep the same direction, a little to the left of the antenna now. You approach in this way the valley on your left side and finally you reach the main trail - a few red marks mark the intersection. It is impossible to miss the trail!

[This beautiful trail goes up to the left towards the crest of the hill, where you see an electricity pole - the little brown road also winds from below in the valley up to the same point (halfway there are many hives ...). The trail goes up in 10-11 minutes to the top of the pass and to the gravel road that leads until the top of the Profítis Ilías - you have followed this road this morning - see above point (1h38).]

(2h35) You continue of course to the right and you walk more or less horizontally, with a beautiful view over the valley over Agios Prokópios. After exactly 12 minutes, you pass the rocky ledge where you got up earlier this morning.

(2h47) You climb a little, but after 6-7 minutes, you start the final descent. From time to time, the walls diverge, but the general direction ifsclear of course, as you have already seen Chóra in front of you.

(3h00) After 12-13 minutes, you arrive at a kind of T-junction, where you go right, of course. The descent is beautiful, with the spectacle of the evening sun, which is shining on the churches of Chóra and the bays behind it.

The evening sun shines on Chóra and the bays.

(3h17) After another 17-18 minutes, you arrive at the left of the upper chapel, where your trail joins the other monopáti. You descend to the left of the museum and the second chapel, and you arrive at the right of the lower chapel, where you get to the small concrete road that comes from the theater.

(3h20) You descend across the rocky slope and then on the steps to the left of the house. You reach the asphalt road, which you follow straight. You descend alongside the upper mills, you cross the road to Manganári and Agios Theodótis, and you continue in the direction of the terrace near the three lower mills.

(3h27) You finally need another 5 minutes to descend through the old quarter of Chóra until you reach the Mitrópoli. (3h32)



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