Parikiá - Panagía Thapsanoón - Pígados - Léfkes

Evaluation: This rather long hike passes by the monastery of the Panagía Thapsanoón, an impressive building, which actually is not very nice; you mostly follow beautiful trails, but sometimes you have to be careful to stay on the right path. The hike ends in the beautiful village of Léfkes, from where you can return by bus to Parikiá. Deserves ***.
None of the trails that you follow today is on the maps of Anávasi or Terrain Maps.
[Updated by Raymond on May 17, 2013.]
The translation of this walk was made with some help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: The actual walking time (AWT) until the monastery of the Panagía Thapsanoón amounts to about an hour and a half. Then you need a little less than half an hour to reach Pígados, then about an hour to reach Léfkes.
The actual walking time thus amounts to a total of just under three hours. We walked from half past ten until five hours, a total time (TWT) of 6h30, with a long picnic break between the Panagía Thapsanoón and Pígados.

Route description
: (0h00) From the windmill in the harbour of Parikiá you follow the road running all the way along the bay towards the west (to the right when standing with your back towards the harbour). You thus walk past an abundance of restaurants and bars; at the far end you would eventually get to the rock with first 1 and then 2 windmills and with the hotels of Pandróssos and Nikólas – marvellously situated!
Halfway this road you find an access road to the kástro (note the sign "Frankish castle") and the old town, with on top of the kástro the really beautiful little church of Agios Konstantínos, with also a very nice ikonostási.

The little church of Agios Konstantínos on the kástro.

The actual beginning of the hike is to be found at the large church with the double towers and the blue domes. You can follow the coastal road until you reach this church, but it is much nicer, of course, to first climb up the kástro and then descend from up there. You then go down via the tower with some striking old construction elements of an old temple, after which you turn to the west and you continue zigzaggingly through the old city – however, you should not move too much away from the sea. You then also arrive at the large church, which is the mitrópoli of this town.

(0h10) At the square in front of the church you do not take the road on the right of the church, but the road on the far right, to the left of the Kialoa-bar and the lotto-shop. Via a long, meandering street you walk inland; after 5 minutes you cross the ring road, next to a bridge and then you proceed straight ahead.

(0h15) At the first crossing, already after 15 m, you take a right; you pass two little streets on the right side and at the following crossing you go left, to the left of a wall and a blue wooden gate. In this way the road meanders between villas until, after 7 minutes, you get to a large villa, with palm trees and a pergola with a staircase on the outside – over here the road splits up. You take the narrower concrete road on the left of the green screen that screens off the villa and you follow this road for 5 minutes – you do not descend into the valley, which means that you have to keep a right at every junction. At a very modest chapel with a flat roof, the road turns into a narrower gravel road; after yet another 2 minutes this road gets to another concrete road.

(0h30) You follow this road to the left and going down and after 100 metres you take the small concrete road off the right, near a sports field on your left-hand side. After a few minutes, at the last big villa, the concrete becomes gravel and after climbing up for another 2 minutes you arrive underneath an electricity cable – on your left and right you notice some tumbled-down buildings.

(0h35) One minute later, the gravel road veers left and on this place you finally find the beginning of the ancient trail, straight ahead, climbing up the side of the hill. There is a rather wide rocky road in front of you (red mark), but the path to the right of the road is obstructed by vegetation and comes to a dead end a little further, because of the road. After one minute you keep going straight ahead and in this way you climb up for 10 minutes, until you get next to another electricity cable. From then on the trail starts going down and after 5 minutes you reach the bottom of the valley.

(0h51)You notice a red dot on a rock, but first of all you have to continue clambering over the rocks – you thus stay under the electricity cable. Sometimes you find a small stretch of the trail on your right, thereafter you notice a second dot and then there is also a small stretch of trail on the left. After about 6 difficult minutes you finally arrive at a kind of filling-station or electricity cabin, built out of grey stones.

While clambering in the rocky river bed...

(0h55) You should watch out here: BEFORE this cabin you take a right leaving the bed of the river, just next to a heavy electricity pole (red mark); in this way you find an obvious and narrow path, which soon becomes broader. The following stretch is very beautiful, between flowering broom (on the 22nd of May 2007), while walking next to a deep gorge. A couple of minutes further you get between the two slopes of the small valley, but you do stay on the left-hand slope. Everywhere you look you see beautiful olive trees and flowering broom!

The path to the Panagía Thapsanoón, in spring, with the flowering broom.

After 7 beautiful minutes the path continues on the left of a metal fence and it becomes narrower (red mark). The path keeps going up and you can see a small corner of the sea behind you.
Some 4 minutes later the monopáti narrows again, running between walls; for a while, the trail is overgrown and further on there are also a number of subsidences.
You continue without difficulties and after a few minutes you can spot the chapel of Péra Panagía on the opposite side. Also the battlemented tips of the Panagía Thapsanoón appear in front of you!

The Péra Panagía and the path next to it.

(1h15) Slightly further the trail gets into the bed of the river and – watch out – you cross the bed by keeping to the left, in the direction of the small church and the house next to it.

[This means that you DO NOT continue in the bed of the river, in order to go up the staircase to the hamlet on the right-hand side of the valley. On the other side of the bed, you DO NOT take a right – there is indeed a trail towards the monastery, but it is densely overgrown.]

You thus go up on the left, between walls and in the direction of the house. You walk past the house and then you go up for about 2 more minutes – until you arrive after two obstacles at a small road. You take a right and you proceed for about 4-5 minutes on the gravel road, until you have to open a gate. For the following 4 minutes you walk on a concrete road, until you get to the left of the large monastery.
Almost opposite, on the left corner of the wall surrounding the monastery, you see the beginning of the continuation of your hike. But first you can go to the right to get to the entrance of the monastery. (1h28)

[The gravel road that continues to the right, past the monastery, describes a huge turn through the interior of the island of Páros, to finally arrive at Léfkes! The road to the left (right of the large electricity pole) goes back to Parikiá.]

The huge building only dates from the year 1939 and it is a nunnery – only decently dressed women can get in. You also have a beautiful view of the coast of Páros with in the sea Náxos (to the left) and the island of Ios (to the right).

The monastery of the Panagía Thapsanoón.

(1h28) From the entrance of the monastery, you retrace your steps for a while and you take the little gravel road on the right, a little after the angle of the wall and the fence that surround the complex. Soon you can enjoy a beautiful view of the modern monastery.
After 5 minutes, you arrive at a gate, with a warning for a Rottweiler dog ... - but some 10 meters BEFORE this gate, you find on the right a narrow monopáti, which descends to the left of a low wall (red mark

The following stretch is really beautiful: after a couple of minutes you gradually descend into the broad valley, carpeted with flowering broom (on the 23rd of May 2007) - some stretches however are overgrown... Some 7 minutes later you go sharply to the right (red mark) and the trail descends steeper.


The monopáti to Pígados.

After about 13-14 minutes you thus reach the bottom of the river, and you follow it sharply to the left (red marks).

(1h49) Shortly thereafter you get to a bifurcation. Straight ahead, you could continue to Agios Minás and Maráthi - see the walk Parikiá - Panagía Thapsanoón - Maráthi - Náoussa.
Today, you go up to the RIGHT (
vague red mark) and after 1 minute, you get between walls (red mark). A little later, you keep to the left (the other path is completely blocked), but your path is also heavily overgrown, especially in spring. After a few difficult minutes, the trail becomes better and 7-8 minutes later, you arrive to the right side of several buildings (with a pretty ugly pigeon house) and you get to a gravel road.

(1h56) You continue straight (red mark), you pass above the chapel of Agia Kyriakí and
soon  you arrive between some houses of the small hamlet of Pígados.

(2h01) Shortly after, there is a fork: straight ahead and to the right of the chapel of Agios Geórgios, the road continues to Agios Minás (red mark), but you should go up sharply to the RIGHT, on a
concrete road. After 6 minutes, you veer sharply to the left and you continue climbing for another 7 minutes. You arrive near the top of the ridge, from where you enjoy a wide view over the valley - on the other ridge, you always see the monastery of Panagía Thapsanoón.

(2h14) Your concrete road finally arrives in front of a wide gate - a small gravel road continues to the right. But you pass through the gate and you descend a steep concrete slope next to a house. You keep to the RIGHT on a concrete slope and a little further, you find behind a gate in  reinforcing steel a nice path between walls, which descends to the left.

(2h19) This unexpected trail does not figure on the maps: it becomes a beautiful monopáti, sometimes brownish and then again unevenly paved. After 6-7 minutes, you get a nice view on Maráthi and Náoussa, and also on the island of Náxos.
Further, the trail descends sharply to the right: in front of you lies a green valley, with, in the depression of the ridge, a few houses and mills of Léfkes, and to the right the two summits of the Profítis Ilías.

The path runs in the direction of Léfkes.

Nice panoramic views, here with Maráthi.

You continue to descend towards the turn of the asphalt road and the bridge next to it. After a few minutes, you pass a small white building and your path becomes more stony and difficult. After another 7 minutes, you get to a vague gravel track: you follow it to the right, then LEFT and right again. You now continue straight to Léfkes.

(2h35) About 2 minutes later, you arrive in front of a new chapel, where you continue your descent sharply to the LEFT. The gravel road gets, after a short stretch of concrete, to the main road, just to the left of the bridge.

(2h41) You go right, you cross the modern bridge and then you see on your left the old Byzantine bridge. A little further on, there is a path that leads to the left to the bridge (road sign) – on the right side, the old Byzantine road ascends to Léfkes!

The old Byzantine bridge, not that far from Léfkes.

The road signs to the Byzantine road and to the bridge.

(2h46) You thus go up to the: the path still has on many places the old pavement, the climb is very nice and occasionally very steep.

The old Byzantine road climbs to Léfkes.

Above, you get to the asphalt road, where you take a right. Once arrived at a bifurcation, you go left and after a little more than 3 minutes, you see in front of you the beginning of the paved main street (sign Léfkes). It is here that you find the bus stop. (2h56)

View on Léfkes.

[To the left, down the asphalt road, it takes only a few moments to get to the pleasant terrace of the kafenío tis Syntrofiás. Here you can wait for the next bus and ... you have a beautiful view of Léfkes and the entire valley with the Byzantine path that leads to Pródromos.]

[In May 2010, there were buses to Parikiá at 15h25, at 17h25 and at 19h25.]


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