Megalochóri - Akrotíri

Evaluation: This is a fairly pleasant hike, in the relatively undamaged southeasterly corner of Santoríni. The beautiful village of Megalochóri is located out of the way of the hustle and bustle, and via some gravel roads midst the vineyards or in an eroded valley, you get close to the excavations of Akrotíri. The hike gets an evaluation of **.

Estimated time:  It will take some 45 minutes to reach the little church of Agia Anna and then it will cost you another 35 minutes to the "beach" and the excavations of Akrotíri a little further on. This total actual walking time of 1h20 refers to a trip of only two hours, because there are not really any places of interest or other stops on the way.

Route description: [Megalochóri can easily be reached by the bus which leaves Firá basically every hour and which goes to Períssa via Pýrgos, Megalochóri and Emborió. Also for the return route there is a bus leaving from the excavations, about once every two hours. We took the bus at 10am in Firá, and to go back there were buses in Akrotíri at 2.20pm, 3.50pm, 5.35pm and 8.35pm.]

(0h00) Your bus goes via Vóthonas and Pýrgos; just past the turn to Athinió you ask the driver to get off at the first stop in Megalochóri – next to a large bakery or foúrno. You walk back for a short while and you take the broad asphalt street curving to the right. This street narrows all the time and it passes underneath the enormous main church with the two square towers. After a couple of minutes you walk underneath an elegant little clock tower that stands apart from a smaller church. 

A typical clock tower in Megalochóri.

You walk through the calm street – where the time seems to have come to a standstill – and you arrive at the beautiful Platía Nikoláou Giannakopoúlou with the great outdoor café Rakí underneath a large eucalyptus tree.

The nice outdoor terrace Rakí in the centre of Megalochóri.

An other clock tower in Megalochóri.

You continue, you walk underneath another typical clock tower, you keep to the right and then two times to the left, and at the far end of the village you go left again.

(0h10) In this way you arrive at a traditional path between dark walls supporting the vineyards. It is a pity that the ancient paving is now largely covered with cement. Slightly further you keep to the right and now you walk for 13 minutes on a kind of concrete road, between black walls and vineyards studded with black lava rocks.  

This is all what remains of the old monopáti...

(0h24) You pass a large water tank and a few minutes further on you cross the main road. Straight ahead you notice the beginning of a gravel trail, which descends into the bed of a river on the right-hand side of the bridge. The bed consists of volcanic material and further on your trail becomes rather sandy or made of gravel. Some 12-13 minutes later you walk between the fences of a kind of large construction firm, with a few barking dogs behind. You go straight on, on a real gravel road now, in the direction of the little church with the blue dome. After yet another 4 minutes you pass another big cistern and you proceed midst the vineyards. Some 44 minutes after your departure you thus reach the elegant little church of Agia Anna – there are a few benches and a table underneath the eucalyptus trees so you can take some time to rest.

Agia Anna, about halfway between Megalochóri and Akrotíri.

(0h44) You walk straight ahead, so on a stony road on the right of the church – the road on its left-hand side goes to the beach of Almýra (signpost). Your feet sink deep into the sandy gravel and in front of you, you notice the village of Akrotíri. About 13 minutes later you walk through a broad and slack kind of fence, made out of iron, and you curve to the left. You reach a side-gravel road, which you follow to the right for a short while; after just one minute you continue to the left – on the right of a drive to a broad, metal gate. You then walk in a dry bed of a river, in the direction of the sea.

(0h55) The meandering route you follow in the bed of the river becomes rather monotonous  - only once you have to climb up a little. The sides of the valley consist of layers of volcanic ashes and pumice stone, which are so typical for the island of Santoríni. 

The river bed that leads to Akrotíri.

You also pass underneath and to the left of the hill with the excavations of Akrotíri and after about 15 minutes you arrive at a little "beach" with black pebbles.

The "beach" with black pebbles, not so far from Akrotíri.

(1h10) On your right you can see some restaurants and you walk towards these restaurants via a narrow black little beach. In about 8 minutes you reach the beginning of the asphalt road. When taking a right you can get to the excavations of Akrotíri in 2-3 minutes. (1h20)

[The excavations themselves have been closed for renovation for a few years now – and this might still last for a while.]

But first you can have something to eat or to drink in one of the outdoor cafés along the water side.

[Via the terraces further down and a trail, you can get to the "Red Beach” – but this beach is very, very touristy.]

[When crossing the large parking lot at the excavations, you find a vague trail on a slope, on the left of a little building – this path runs on the left-hand side of a retaining wall. The trail curves to the right and after one minute it arrives at an old and paved path. By walking to the right you can thus reach the village of Akrotíri in about 15 minutes.]

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