Kamári - Théra - Profítis Ilías - Pýrgos

Evaluation: There are different ways to hike up to the top of the Profítis Ilías - see among others the walks Vóthonas - Pýrgos - Profítis Ilías - Théra - Períssa and Emborió - Pýrgos - Profítis Ilías - Théra - Períssa. During the hike Vóthonas - Pýrgos - Emborió, you can also make a detour to the Profítis Ilías ...
In this alternative, which is described below, we start from Kamári and we thus climb on the other side of the Profítis Ilías. The trails are beautiful and the views to be enjoyed en route, are gorgeous - this walk deserves ***.
[The translation of this walk was made with the help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: It takes half an hour to get near the excavations of ancient Théra, the climb to the top of the Profítis Ilías takes 45 minutes – always in AWT - and you need finally a little less than 40 minutes to reach Pýrgos.
The actual walking time (AWT) thus amounts to a total of just under 2 hours. The TWT is, as usual, much longer: our walk with a thorough visit of the ancient Théra, lasted from 11am to 4pm...

Route description
: [There is almost an hourly bus from Firá to Kamári; for the return also, there are plenty of buses from Pýrgos, but note anyway the schedules before leaving. ..]

(0h00) Near the bus stop at Kamári, there is a bifurcation: you take the asphalt road to the left (with your back to the sea) (signpost Ancient Thera), and after 5 minutes, just after the hotel Antinea , you turn right onto a small concrete road. A little further on, there is a sign "Archéa Théra 5 '- Profítis Ilías 1h20 – Períssa 1h05 " and shortly after, you find on your left the trailhead.

The hiking sign indicating the beginning ot the path to Théra.

(0h05) The trail winds up the slope of the impressive mountain and the panoramic view over the coast and Anáfi quickly becomes beautiful.

The curves of the trail to Théra.

(0h19) After 14 minutes, you arrive at the chapel of Zoödóchos Pigí, with next to it a cave with a spring. To the left and right of the chapel, there are different possibilities to climb the rocks.
You continue to the left of the terrace of the chapel, following first a staircase which climbs between white walls.
Soon enough, you see the road ahead of you, you go down a bit and you continue then into a bend in the road. In front of you, you can cut a curve of the road, following a trail of pumice, and you thus arrive on the plateau with a location map of the ancient city of Théra.

[The entrance to the excavations is to the left.
Be careful, though, the excavations are closed on Mondays and every other day after 3pm.

The trail to the ancient Théra goes up on the opposite hill Mésa Vounó (366 m). The excavations of the ancient Théra already started in 1816 and they extend over some 800 metres. They show remnants of housing from the 9th century AD until the Roman time. There are remnants of a couple of agora's (market places), plenty of houses, a small theatre, Roman baths, cisterns, a holy road, etc. You definitely have to walk all the way to the end, till the terrace of the Gymnopaidía, supported by large retaining walls. These Gymnopaidia date from the 6th century AD and it was the place where naked boys danced to celebrate the god Apollo. The view over Períssa is extraordinary!]

Overlooking the little theatre...

(0h32) After getting down, you start to climb the Profítis Ilías: a clear pumice path [1] begins on the other side of the roundabout. It rises slowly at first, but the climb itself begins later: a narrow monopáti [1] climbs rapidly for 13 minutes, winding on the right slope of the mountain - there are occasional cairns or small trail markers with the number [1]. Make sure you stay on the main trail, especially in the sharp turns which are marked by large cairns. You finally arrive against a high rock-face, where you take a left.

(0h46) The slope is now less steep for 3-4 minutes: you continue to follow the cliff, then you arrive at a sort of pass and you continue on the gray and bare mountain side. Further, you begin a climb that describes nine curves - again, you carefully must follow the path, and the wall of the next turn is indeed visible each time.

(0h57) After 7-8 minutes, you come near a large cain, where a clear pumice path continues to go up. There is often a strong wind here ...

Walk [1] goes up on the slope of the Profítis Ilías.

After 2 minutes, you continue on the slope - take the time to rest a bit and enjoy the view of the island, Firá, Ia and the airfield, and of the islands of Anáfi (right) and Ios and Síkinos (left); on a clear day, you can even distinguish Náxos and Amorgós.
Now you wind on the right slope of the following height, where you always follow the walls. After another 6 minutes, you already see the antennae that crown the summit; a little further, you have to follow with some difficulty the higher path, just above some pine trees.

(1h07) You start the final climb towards another bunch of pine trees, and the summit rises in front of you. Your trail follows more or less the rocky ledge that rises to the top; a little later, you continue on the left side of the ridge,  and towards the end on the right side.

(1h16) After another 9 minutes, you arrive at the top. You have an exceptional panorama, not only throughout the island, with Firá, Ia, the volcano and Thirasiá, but also on many islands - these are (from the left to the right) Folégandros, Síkinos, Ios, Náxos, the Small Cyclades and Amorgós.
The monastery though disappoints most of the time. It was
founded in the year 1711, has a very rich history and also today it possesses a marvellous collection of icons and old manuscripts, and a beautiful ethnographic collection. But unfortunately, it is closed very often: a sign in almost illegible Greek tells you that it is open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 15 pm, but we waited twice in vain...

The monastery of Profítis Ilías.

(1h16) For the continuation of the walk, you follow the asphalt road going down for 1-2 minutes, then you can cut the first turn on a concrete staircase. You come again on the road, which you follow for another 4 minutes.

(1h23) Be careful now: underneath some military buildings, just below a small building with a red roof, there is
on the left an almost invisible trail that descends ([1] on a stone). It goes down to a small chapel, but then turns right along a crumbling wall. After 2-3 minutes you cross the asphalt road again, but straight ahead the trail continues on the left side of a wall. The path is very obvious now and the uneven pavement is quite nice; the trail gets between 2 walls, it becomes wider and slowly turns right towards Pýrgos. In fact, you follow the crest of the hill going down - in spring, it is covered with flowers. Along the way you notice how many vineyards are still situated on the slopes of the Profítis Ilías.

The path going down to Pýrgos.

(1h33) After 9-10 beautiful minutes, you come next to a wall, and then again between 2 walls - and you continue now a little to the left of the ridge. The pavement has disappeared sometimes and the trail continues on pumice.

(1h40) Again 7 minutes later, you pass on the right side of a chapel with a big white dome, and finally
you arrive at the asphalt road again, nearby the first houses of Pýrgos.

[Approximately 10 meters to the left, you see the sign indicating the trailhead to Emborió - see the last part of the walk Vóthonas - Pýrgos - Emborió.]

You take a right of course and you follow the road for 4-5 minutes; you take then the paved street diagonally to the right (sign + [1]).

[About 2 minutes later, there is a paved road that goes to the right [2]: this is the beginning of the short walk to Mésa Goniá - see the walk Pýrgos - Mésa Goniá and back.]

You continue straight into the concrete street and you thus arrive at the right of a paved square: you sharply go to the left, up to the square, and there you take the pedestrian street on the right - it leads up to the Platía Stefánou Melékou, the center of Pýrgos. The bus stop is on the right side. (1h54)


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