Pýrgos - Vóthonas - Kamári

Evaluation: The first part of this hike is very pleasant; it goes through some typical valleys, dug out as a result of erosion in the thick layer of ashes of the volcanic eruption. After the beautiful village of Vóthonas there are some gravel roads to follow and then a concrete road leading to the long beach of Kamári. The hike gets an evaluation of **.

Estimated time: By strolling around in the kástro of Pýrgos and by hiking in the valleys around Vóthonas it will take some 50 minutes before you arrive at the churches of Vóthonas. It will then cost you a little under one hour to the beach, which you have to follow for another 25 minutes until you get to the main bus stop. The actual walking time is about 2h10, but we hiked from 10.30am to 3pm – with a calm visit to Pýrgos, a small detour in Vóthonas and a lunch at the beach in Kamári...

Route description: [Pýrgos can easily be reached by taking the bus to Períssa – from Firá this bus goes to Messariá, Vóthonas and Pýrgos almost every hour. Also for the return route there are buses from Kamári basically every hour.]

(0h00) Your bus goes via Messariá and Vóthonas until it reaches the little square of Stéfanos Mélekos in Pýrgos, where it turns before continuing. 
On the right of the tavern Kallísto (near the postbox) there is a staircase going up to the first church with the typical clock tower (signpost to Casteli). You follow the signs to "Kastelli" – there are a lot of them - and the blue arrows to "Franco's café", and in this way you get underneath and on the right of the first church. You pass a few beautiful side-roads, for instance the one leading to Penelopi’s wine bar, which is really located underneath the clock tower. After some 3 minutes you keep to the left and a little further you notice the little church of Agios Nikólaos on the right – there is an obelisk in front of this church, which is the war monument. Over here you will have to go straight ahead later on, but first you have to go higher to the kástro – thereafter you will return to this spot. From the little square at the obelisk you find a staircase going up further (signpost to Kastelli) – just opposite the old man selling Santoríni-wine. You then arrive at the highest church.

The church on the kástro of Pýrgos.

If you want to, you can first have a drink in Franco's Café. With your back to the bar you can then go up the little brown staircase on the left of the church. You thus reach the roof of the church, next to the dome – this is really worthwhile! The panoramic view over the entire island is magnificent: you can see Akrotíri, Firá, Thirasiá and Ia; on the other side you can also distinguish your final destination Kamári, between the Profítis Ilías and the airport.

(0h08) You descend past the war monument and you take the little street off the right, going in northern direction. You walk between hotel Zanon and yet another church and you go down a staircase. You keep to the left for a little while and you keep going down a dark staircase; via a concrete slope you then reach the asphalt road which runs underneath Pýrgos. You go slightly to the right, but very soon you find a little concrete road descending on the left. Some 2 minutes later you notice the beginning of a narrow and paved trail, on the right of a wall – this trail goes down steeply. Via another concrete slope you thus get to an asphalt road, where you go right for a short while.  

(0h18) Almost immediately you find a concrete staircase on the left, turning into a narrow path between walls quite rapidly. The path is paved with dark boulders, but it is somewhat overgrown and also littered with plastic. About 9 minutes later the trail gets covered with volcanic ashes and you arrive at such a typical eroded valley – Vóthonas appears in front of you.

A small valley in the middle of volcanic ashes, on your way to Vóthonas.

(0h31) After a descent of 23 minutes all together you reach a bigger side-valley. Later on you will have to go right here, but it is really worthwhile to first take a left.
Almost immediately you can go up the staircase leading to the rock church in front of you. From up there you have a nice view on the trail you have been following so far - Pýrgos is just visible above the cliff and on your left you also notice a cliff on the opposite side – with houses hewn out in this cliff. All this could remind you of the rock houses in Matera, this old city in the Basilicata in southern Italy.

A typical rock church, south-west of Vóthonas.

You continue in the valley; the concrete turns into a nice trail made of pumice stone and by walking through this really remarkable landscape it will take you 7 minutes to arrive at a church completely constructed in the rock face – this is the Panagía tis Sergeínas. Two staircases lead to the door, which is locked, unfortunately. 

The Panagía tis Sergeínas.

A vineyard in the middle of pumice stone..

(0h38) You now go back the same way you came and after 7 minutes you get back to the trail where you were a while ago. You continue straight ahead in the main valley and after a little over 2 minutes you arrive at a large church overshadowed by some trees – a palm and a huge eucalyptus. Immediately thereafter you take the little street off the left. On you right-hand side you see the first little church with three bells; by continuing straight on you get to the right of a clock tower with five bells. You keep going straight ahead and you then keep to the right until you reach an enormous church with a bright blue dome and ... 9 bells in the typical tower!

A church in Vóthonas.

The nine bells...

(0h53) You walk all the way around the church and you then descend again into the valley, where you keep to the left. You thus leave the village and you get to a concrete road where you go left. In this way you meander through the valley, with some rock houses and a little rock church painted in white. About 5 minutes further on, your fairly broad concrete road passes underneath the busy main road to Kamári. Another 5 minutes later, past the impressive wall surrounding a huge house, you take the little gravel road on the right; it curves to the left right away and it then goes straight to the sea.

(1h10) Your country lane continues on open land between the vineyards, with on your right the hill of the Profítis Ilías; in front of you there is the air strip and beyond the airport to the left you notice the rock of Monólithos.

On your way to Kamári.

You reach a side-road (at the corner of a wall and an electricity pole) and you go right. At the end of this gravel road you keep a little to the right and you get to a concrete road – located in the depression of a small valley.  

(1h27) You go left and now you have to follow this broad and monotonous road for a little more than 20 minutes – none of the gravel roads off the right allow you to cut off the corner.
Just opposite, far away in the sea, you can distinguish the typical silhouette of the island Anáfi.

(1h48) You finally get to the beach, and by walking over the greyish black pebbles you follow this beach to the right. After 10 minutes already you reach the first outdoor cafés and restaurants – you can now also continue on the promenade beside the bars, restaurants and hotels (with swimming pools!). If you want to, you can also have something to eat, since there is a lot of choice. 

The beach of Kamári.

(2h13) You walk almost to the far end of the beach and after a refreshing swim in the sea, you can take a right to walk to the bus stop (signpost Ancient Thera).

[If you want to, you can climb up and in about half an hour you can reach the very interesting and marvellously situated excavations of the ancient Thera. The excavations are open from 8.30am to 2.30pm, except on Mondays. In order to find this trail you first have to walk inland, for about 3 minutes, by following the signs "Ancient Thera minibus every hour". You then take the asphalt road on the left (signpost Ancient Thera) and another 4 minutes later you find the beginning of the trail on the right – just past the second swimming pool, belonging to hotel Aegean View and just opposite hotel Annete. At first you walk on a concrete slope, but very soon it turns into a beautiful trail, on the left-hand side of the little road. This trail goes up, sometimes with paved steps and sometimes with stones. You first arrive at the chapel of Zoödóchos Pigí and then at a curve in the asphalt road. You finally reach the terrace, where you find the entrance to the excavations. For the nice path that continues to Períssa, see the hike Emborió - Pýrgos - Profítis Ilías - Thera - Períssa.]

In order to get the printer-friendly version
with only the text
in one column,
click here.