Káto Sagrí - temple of Démeter - Damariónas - Chalkí

Evaluation: This hike brings you to the interior of Náxos, with as most important place of interest the temple of Demeter. For the first part, to the temple, you follow a really nice trail, but later on you only walk on gravel and asphalt. The hike gets an evaluation of **.
[Update by Raymond on May the 2nd, 2013.]
[The translation of this walk was made with some help of Google translate - so, do not mind the mistakes...]

Estimated time: For the bus ride from Chóra to Sagrí – the road taken by most of the buses going to Chalkí and Filóti – you have to count on 40 minutes. After walking for 20 minutes you arrive in Ano Sagrí, and then it will take you another 35 minutes to the temple of Demeter. Some 40 minutes later you reach the impressive rocky hill of the Kástro. For the long stretch to Damariónas, you should count on about 1h20, then you need only 15 minutes to reach Chalkí – this brings you to an entire actual walking time (AWT) of 3h10. We walked from 11am to 5pm – a total time of 6 hours, with a picnic break just beyond the side road to the Kástro.

Route description: [Before leaving from Chóra you should ask the bus driver whether the bus does indeed pass Sagrí! After a slow start through the outskirts of Chóra, the bus climbs up to the interior of the island; past Galanádo you get a great view on the plain of Potamiá and on the location of the church of Agios Mámas. You then ask the driver to stop at the side-road to Káto Sagrí.
If you have rent a car - or taken a taxi, you might continue to the houses of Kanakári and park the car over there.]

Panoramic view on the valley of Potamiá with Agios  Mámas.

(0h00) When getting off at the crossing to Káto Sagrí you follow the asphalt road for a few hundred metres, until you find a small concrete road on the right – there is a signpost to Kanakári. This pretty lane meanders midst broom and flowers (on the 20th of May 2004) and along the way you notice that also in modern times Greeks like to build their houses in the style of the former living towers. In the deserted village of Kanakári you keep to the left and in this way you arrive at the larger asphalt road: straight across there is a church with the impressive name of Iera Mitrópolis Paronaxías Evangelismós tis Theotókou – with a wonderfully shaded front garden.

You go down a staircase and a concrete slope, on the left of the church and then also on the left of the ruins of a tower. Straight on you find a narrow path between walls – in front of you, there is a mill and higher up you also see Ano Sagrí. You go down for a couple of minutes and then you go up again on a nicely paved trail (which is not on the map). After 5 minutes you get to the left of the mill; you continue on a concrete road, past the first houses and you then walk on the meandering and paved street, all the way through Ano Sagrí, in the same south/south-easterly direction. You take a right, a left and then a right and a left again; at a little square with a tree you go left once more. Further down you go right again and – if you are lucky – you end up at the other side of the village, near the restored monastery of Agios Elefthérios, with the monument for Xenákis just opposite.

(0h20) In front of you, you see also a hiking sign to the "Naós Dímitras" + a red and white trail marker [7].

The hiking sign at the beginning of the trail to the temple of Demeter.

You descend the paved stairs to the right of the bust and you take immediately a right onto a narrow concrete road – mind the red drawing of a temple on the wall with an arrow to the right ...
The road soon becomes a gravel road; you descend between agaves and after 5 minutes you pass next to the path that leads to the Naós Agíou Nikoláou (old and new sign).
You continue straight and follow the path on the right slope of the green valley and you pass below a small church; you go down a bit, then you continue flatly again – in front of you to the left, you already distinguish the ruins of the temple.

View on the site of the temple of Démeter.

(0h31) After yet another 6 minutes, there is a small concrete road that goes down to the left, but again you should continue straight on a narrow path on the right of a wall (large red mark).

 Some 4 minutes later you get to a beautiful rocky trail going into the valley on the left (hiking sign and [7]) – this is an alternative road to the temple, see the hike Ano Sagri – temple of Demeter - Ano Sagrí.
Today you continue straight on, on a nice and almost flat trail.

The nice monopáti towards the temple of Démeter.

After about 5 minutes you arrive at a ruin and you see a path coming from the right. You proceed straight ahead (red dot), with a great view on the site of the temple of Demeter.

Panoramic view on the temple of Demeter.

The trail has become stony and it goes down; after a little while it becomes grassy again and past a stable you turn to the right, away from the temple. Later on, on a swampy spot you go more to the left again - fortunately. Further down there is another path coming from the right, and you go straight ahead again. After some 48 minutes all together you reach the asphalt road, which you have to follow to the left for another 6 minutes – you then get to the entrance of the temple of Demeter. (0h54)

This site is nicely laid-out and a short walk first brings you to a small but interesting museum. The temple itself is nicely located, with a view on the gentle valley towards the south. It dates from the 6th century BC and in the 5th century AD it was converted into a church. Later on it was completely destroyed and many of the building elements were used for the construction of the chapel of Agios Ioánnis – and even for the construction of some farms. Only in the year 1949 the site of the temple attracted attention and after endless puzzling a part of the temple and of the Christian basilica were reconstructed – with a really nice result.

The restored temple of Demeter.

After your visit you descend back to the asphalt road, where you continue to the left.

(0h54) After some 3 minutes the asphalt comes to an end; when you reach a junction, you follow the gravel road straight ahead. You go down, you go back up again and at the next junction you take a right. Some 4-5 minutes later you go left, the gravel road turns into concrete and after yet another 2-3 minutes it gets to the asphalt road. You take a left, you walk past the turn to the chapel of Agios Geórgios (there is a signpost) and after 6-7 minutes you clearly see two obvious signs pointing to the right, to the Kástro Apalírou and to the "Vrýsi Adisárou" (The Well of Adísaros).

(1h13) You follow the gravel road between walls to the right and after a couple of minutes you pass the Byzantine chapel of Agios Ioánnis Theológos.

Agios Ioánnis Theológos.

You descend into the very green valley, you go up again on a concrete slope and then the road becomes gravel again. Some 8 minutes later you arrive at a junction and you take a right (underneath an electricity cable). The road turns into concrete once more and then you get to a steep climb – about 6 minutes later the road has become gravel and you have to turn to the left sharply. Another 3 minutes later, at a very typical Greek chicken run with two Volkswagen wrecks, the road turns sharply right - but this time , you continue STRAIGHT , because you see already in front of you and to the left a beautiful trail , with two large water pipes next to it .

[If you want to climb to the top of the hill of the Kástro , please refer to the hike Sagrí - Kástro Apalírou ]

(1h32) A little later, you find a nice spot for a picnic, under the second tree ...
Shortly after, the trail becomes narrower and very stony – it now continues next to a wall crowned with a fence. Further, the path moves away from the wall, but the brown track is still quite clear. The trail again comes next to the wall - but pay attention: after 11-12 minutes, you should not continue on the brownish trail, but you should go to the RIGHT through a gate in reinforcing steel. This gate lies just before a large field surrounded by a wall. The path is very clear now - there is always a heavy black water pipe next to it. After another 5 minutes you get without any problem to a narrow gravel road.

(1h49) You take a left and follow this pleasant dirt road for 6-7 minutes; you then remark a narrow road off to the right, but you do NOT follow it. You continue straight, you open a gate and you follow the road for another 3 minutes.

(1h59) You cross a rather large river bed and you get to another gravel road that you follow to the right. You continue for many minutes in this beautiful valley between the high mountains of Ais Babás (right) and Ai Liás (543 m). You obviously do not pay attention to side roads or drive ways...

The landscape during your walk to Damariónas.

After a rather steep climb of half an hour, you arrive more or less at the top. Next to some Mediterranean maples, your road curves to the left - do not take the small dirt road that continues straight, but continue to follow the main road down.

(2h29) Pretty soon now, you get in front of you a beautiful view of the thousands of olive trees in the plain of Tragéa. After another 11 minutes, you keep to the right on the main road. A few minutes later, you get to a concrete cross-road, where you go right (road sign to the left to Damalás, to the right to Damariónas ).
You continue always straight ahead now, following signs, and you reach after another 5 minutes the first houses of the village of Damariónas.

(2h48) You go left, but near a road mirror, you go down a zigzag road on the right; after 3 minutes, you pass to the left of a chapel and to the right a small square.

[If you want to discover this village, you should go up to the right... ]

You finally arrive at the main road, near the monument in honor of Dr. Geórgios Verónis. You follow this road off the right - and 100 meters further, you see the war memorial.

[A little further, you could take a right to the platía and the center of Damariónas.]

[If you want to go Filóti, you should follow the asphalt road for about 1.5 km.]

(2h55) But we want to continue to Chalkí, so you should descend the staircase on the left of the war monument, and some twenty metres further on you take a large road off the right. At the following junction you go left; after about five minutes you pass an old washing-place and the trail gets narrower. It meanders between walls and crosses a bridge. Then it goes right and some twenty metres further it goes left again. You thus get past a sports field with beyond it a beautiful view to Filóti. Just past a concrete slope you reach another trail (which you can follow on the hike from Filóti to Chalkí) and you go straight ahead on a very beautiful and narrow trail. Across the wall you can see the picturesque church of Agios Geórgios on the right. A little later on you get to the first houses; you keep to the left slightly and you thus reach the beautiful washing-place with a well on the right. You are now right underneath the large road: you go straight ahead up the concrete slope and you thus arrive at the road Sagrí – Chalkí – Filóti. Straight ahead and a little to the right you find the little square near the tavern O Giánnis – with the most pleasant outdoor terrace of Chalkí. (3h10)

The church of the Panagía in Chalkí.

[If you have not yet paid a visit to Chalkí, you should definitely have a look first: by taking the shopping street leaving from O Giánnis you arrive close to the church Panagía i Evangelístria i Protótronos. This church contains some beautiful wall paintings and specially a marvellous ikonostási; unfortunately though, the church is usually closed. On the left of the church you can walk into the small street to have look at the large tower of the Pýrgos Grazía: also here you can notice the coat of arms of the famous Venetian family Barozzi above the entrance.]

You can find the bus stop opposite the church. Usually, there is a bus to Chóra at about 20 to 5.



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