Katápola - Stavrós - Agios Geórgios Valsamítis - Katápola

Evaluation: This is a pleasant and not very long hike, which brings you to the akropolis of Minóa, on top of the Moundouliá, and to the beautiful monastery of Agios Geórgios Valsamítis. This hike is very similar to the walk Katápola - Valsamítis - Chóra and gets an evaluation of **.
[Updated by Raymond on April the 16th, 2010.]

Estimated time
: The actual hiking time is 1h55: 25 minutes to the pass of Stavrós, 40 minutes to Agios Geórgios Valsamítis and 50 minutes back to Katápola.

Route description: (0h00) From the harbour pier you walk past the square (the platía) and a little further down, in between the bar Telonio and the Rent a Car Amorgós, you take a right (sign to the "laundry" and [6]). At the butchery (agorá kreatoon) you go left for a short while and you then go up the white staircase-street ([6] on a pole). You pass streets off the right (to pension Anna) and off the left (to other pensions) – the signpost ‘2km Minóa’ tells you to go straight ahead. At the end of the staircase you go left and further up [6], past pension Big Blue (with a wonderful panoramic view!). You finally get to the church with the blue dome.
Behind the church on the left you find the beginning of a narrow trail [6]. After some 100 metres
- while you keep to the left - this trail turns into a marvellous kalderími; later on it becomes a rocky path and then it narrows again. This trail brings you to the concrete road after about 5 minutes.



The kalderími from Katápola to Stavrós.

(0h11) You follow this road to the right. Unfortunately, the road runs over the ancient kalderími, which is still visible here and there. You gradually climb for about 15 minutes until you reach the little church of Stavrós – at the end you can see the remnants of the retaining walls of the ancient kalderími on your left. 

[Immediately before the pass you go right, towards the remainders of the ancient Minóa. You continue for about 7 minutes with on your left-hand side a wonderful view on the south-western coast till Arkesíni. In the ancient Minóa remnants have been found of permanent habituation, from the 11th century BC all the way till the 4th century AD – you can still see a gymnasium and a beautiful cistern.

The cistern on the Minoa-site.

You can easily walk towards the left to describe a circle around the akropolis: first you see the old city with walls and a gate (from the 10th till the 3rd century BC). You then describe a semicircle, but in the second part the trail is more difficult to find. You soon get a great view on the bay of Katápola and you finally arrive back at the Hellenistic and Roman remnants with the cistern (till the 3rd century AD).]

(0h25) The concrete road ends at the Stavrós-pass. You can see the gravel road [6] continuing far away in front of you. You pass two drive ways to the right and one to the left, and after having walked down for 2 minutes, you reach the first junction: the road on the right continues to Agia Thékla (see the hike [3] Kamári - Kástri - Katápola), you take a left at the foot of a wall and a fairly large house with some stables. After 1 minute you have to watch out: straight ahead/towards the left, in between two low walls, you find the beginning of the trail to Agios Geórgios Valsamítis: a cairn and a lot of red dots show you which way to go. 

(0h30) The beautiful, but narrow path runs fairly horizontally at first; later on it goes up over some rocky terrain – still guided by red dots. You will now get a beautiful view on Stavrós, on the reservoir and then also on the dam itself. The cobwebs on the trail indicate that only few people make this hike. You walk at the foot of some grey rock points – in springtime these points are covered with green and with flowering broom. 

The nice monopáti to Agios Geórgios Valsamítis.

After about 7 minutes you have to open a rusty gate made of iron interweaving. You walk above a chapel and some minutes later you get to a marvellous spot: an oasis of green and pine trees; there is a little stream in a valley, a real waterfall, and…even crabs in the crevices (on the 5th May 2003, a lot of water on the 16th of April 2010)!

(0h45) You continue almost horizontally for the next 9 minutes, and after a little while you go up somewhat on a beautiful trail along a rocky slope. In the meanwhile you have also passed a trail coming from the left; this trail comes from the reservoir (wooden sign) – see the hike Katápola - Valsamítis. You follow the red dots to stay on your trail - do not mind the little trails off the side. In springtime you can hear the unusual splattering of the “mountain stream” of the Valsamítis underneath. Behind you there is still a great view on the hill Moundouliá and on the bay of Katápola; high up and to the left you can see the village of Chóra.

(0h59) About 15 minutes after the rusty gate you get to another, large iron gate; immediately thereafter you discover the other green oasis of Agios Geórgios Valsamítis. You cross a little stream that irrigates the onion gardens and you can even hear frogs; you open another gate and you get to a small asphalt road. In this way you descend till the monastery. The church is usually locked, but this spot is ideal to have a picnic: a stone table and some stone benches against the wall are waiting for you. Amidst the peace and quiet you only hear the wind, the water and…the frogs.


The monastery of Agios Geórgios Valsamítis.

(1h03) The valley in front of you is very deep, so there is no other possibility then to return to the asphalt road. You go up for about 7 minutes until you reach the main road from Chóra to Arkesíni. You follow this road to the left; the monotony of the asphalt road is compensated by the marvellous view over the sea deep underneath – there is often a lot of wind here, blowing from the north over the pass.

General view of Agios Geórgios Valsamítis (view from the road).

(1h11) After 12 minutes you get to another windy pass, where you do not take the first gravel road off the left, but the second one, a little concrete road which goes up slightly. You continue on gravel for some 5 minutes and you can see the village of Chóra appearing in front of you. In a curve to the left, about 200 metres before a white building, you can see the trail straight ahead that continues to Chóra: along this trail you could walk to Chóra in about 25 minutes - see the walk Katápola - Valsamítis - Chóra.


(1h24) On this hike though, you go in the direction of the bay of Katápola and you stay on the gravel road. For the next 10 minutes you go down on this rocky road, until you get to the ruins of two stables – over here there is another road coming from the left. Your path runs to a dead end against an iron gate made of interweaving, but on the other side of this gate the (new?) road continues. When this road curves to the left sharply, you have to take a vague path running on the right hand side of the ruins of some stables. This trail continues in between two low walls, in the direction of the power station. The walls move away from each other, but you keep walking in the same direction. The walls then come closer to each other again and your rocky trail goes down steeply in between these walls – this is definitely the right way to go. When the walls move away from each other again, you reach the main road.

(1h49) You take a left for some 200 metres, until you get to the power station. Immediately before the power station you take a narrow concrete road off the left; after about 100 metres this road curves to the left, but you continue straight ahead on another concrete road, towards the first houses of Katápola, or rather of the Rachídi neighbourhood. After following a tiled street for some 5 minutes you arrive at the main church; near the school you then get to the main road – the sea is a little further down. (1h55)

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