Parikiá - Panagía Thapsanoón and back

Evaluation: This is not a very long hike, bringing you to the interior of the island of Páros. This hike gets an evaluation of **.
[Update by Raymond on the 4th of May 2010.]

Estimated time: The actual walking time to the monastery takes 90 minutes, the return route lasts for a little less – this makes for a total actual walking time of 2h45. We hiked from 1.30pm-5.30pm, a real walking time of four hours. 

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) For the way back you have to follow the same road. You walk back along the wall of the convent and you continue until the gravel road splits up, near a large electricity pole. You take a left, but immediately thereafter you find a concrete path off the left again. This path descends between walls, straight in the direction of the faraway bay of Parikiá.
The concrete finishes after 4 minutes and then you have to go through a metal gate – by untying it on the right-hand side. For the following 4-5 minutes your trail continues until you get above the Péra Panagía. At a couple of ruins you go down on the left; you have to open another gate and then you take the narrow path going down, on the left of the second gate. Slightly further you pass the house and the chapel – strikingly enough you have to climb over a wall in order to get to the chapel.
You continue going down and you thus reach the bottom of the bed of the river. You climb over a barrier of branches and the trail is overgrown, but on the other bank you take a right and the trail becomes a lot clearer.

(1h39) You continue and you get a beautiful view on the Péra Panagía again.

The Péra Panagía.

You get to a few subsidences and slightly further the trail is also overgrown again. After 4-5 minutes, though, the monopáti becomes broader and it descends between broom and olive trees. The trail gets even broader and shortly thereafter you go straight ahead, obviously. Some 2 minutes later the trail becomes narrower and stony; all together about 14 minutes after your departure from the bed of the river underneath Péra Panagía you reach the stony bed of the river besides the filling station again.

(1h53) You clamber towards the left inside the bed, you sometimes find a small stretch of trail on the right, you then arrive in the bed again, and you follow a small stretch of trail on your left-hand side. You proceed in the bed, but after about 6 minutes you finally find a real road.

(1h59) For a couple of minutes you rise above the valley and then you gradually go down for about 15 minutes, first with a view on the sea and then on Parikiá.

The descent towards Parikiá.

Towards the end the road becomes rockier and then it turns into a gravel road. About 17 minutes after the valley you thus reach the first house and the beginning of a concrete road.

(2h16) After 3 minutes you get to another street, just before the sports field. You go left for about one minute and then you take the gravel road off the right.

(2h20) A couple of minutes later the road turns into concrete again and then you continue straight ahead all the time – for about 15-16 minutes, until you reach the ring road of Parikiá. You then follow the meandering street for another 5 minutes until you arrive at the mitrópoli, recognizable by the blue domes and the double towers.

(2h43) You find the centre of Parikiá on your right-hand side.


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