Thirasiá: Ríva - Agriliá - Christós - Potamós - Manolás - Ríva

Evaluation: Due to a lack of trails and to the fact that the landscape of Thirasiá is really monotonous, this hike is not very exciting. But still, it is quite interesting to experience the difference with the nearby Santoríni. Manolás and the panoramic views from there are definitely worthwhile. This trip gets an evaluation of *.

Estimated time: You have to walk for about 50 minutes on the rather monotonous road from Ríva to the chapel of Christós; the walk back and then continuing via the asphalt road and Potamós to the main town of Manolás will cost you another 45 minutes. The return route to Ríva takes 55 minutes, so this brings you to an actual walking time of 2h30. The restaurant Panórama at the top of the staircase in Manolás is a marvellous spot to lunch. With a fairly long break in Manolás included, we walked from 9.30am to 3pm.

Route description: [From the little harbour of Ammoúdi in Ia you can cross over to Ríva and Kórfos on Thirasiá. If you stay in Firá, you can also get to Ríva via the harbour of Athinió – but it is not really obvious to find a day on which there is a boat to Thirasiá in the morning, and a boat back in the late afternoon. This works out once in a while, with the Arsinóï, as it did for us, on Friday the 16th of May 2008: the Arsinóï then departed at 8.45am and it returned at 3.20pm.]

(0h00) At your arrival in Ríva you take a left from the pier, onto a cobbled road; you walk past the very simple little harbour and after 3 minutes you take the little concrete road going up on the right. 

The little harbour of Ríva.

You curve to the right, around a chapel and after another 5 minutes you thus get to a gravel road, which you follow to the left. On the right you notice the other chapel of Ríva, Agia Iríni, which actually gave its name to the entire archipelago: Santoríni!

(0h08) Some 3 minutes later you pass a concrete road off the left and you keep going straight ahead on the gravel road. The road is pleasant and it follows the northerly slopes of Thirasiá, which gradually run towards the sea. Over here there is still a lot of agriculture and the farmers are working on the land with their donkeys. About 11 minutes further down you pass the elegant chapel of Agios Geórgios, a votive offering of the family of Marínos Sýrigos - the ikonostási dates from the year 1924. This is really a nice place to take a rest.

The chapel of Agios Geórgios.

(0h22) A little over 5 minutes later you have to walk on the concrete main road for about one hundred metres. The road then goes to the left, to Potamós, and you continue straight ahead, on the gravel road (signpost to Agriliá). When we were there a car stopped at this spot, to ask whether we wanted to have some coffee… 
After yet another 5 minutes, you notice the large church of Agriliá, in the eroded valley on your left-hand side. You do not walk to this church, but you turn to the right – a little further you keep to the left. About 2 minutes further down you arrive at a vague junction, where you keep to the left.
Far away in front of you, you can already see the large chapel of Christós. A little further, you can walk on the ancient and paved monopáti for another 3 minutes; this trail runs on the left-hand side of the road, between walls made of black lava rock. Very soon, though, you arrive at the gravel road again. Slightly further there is another stretch of the old, and somewhat overgrown trail. You approach the impressive chapel, with three aisles, of Christós, you curve to the right and you then reach the beautiful chapel, which is closed unfortunately.

The chapel with three aisles of Christós.

[If you would like to follow this road a little further, you can continue above the impressive southeasterly coast for about fifteen minutes and thus reach the cape of Kímino.
There are no other usable paths over here – also the trail off the left that you could have taken some three minutes BEFORE you got to Christós, and that is indicated on the Road-map, looked promising at first, but after about 9 minutes it got very vague and overgrown.]

(0h49) Leaving from the Christós-chapel, the best thing to do, is to go back the same way you came. After 14 minutes you pass on the side of the enormous church of Agriliá again- in front of you and towards the left you notice the islands of Ios, Síkinos and Folégandros (from right to left).

(1h09) After exactly 20 minutes you arrive at the crossing again and unfortunately you can now only take the concrete road on the right, going to Potamós and Manolás. After 5 minutes you already walk through the very quiet village of Potamós, where there are again some strikingly big churches. There is no traffic at all and there are not even shops – when talking to some of the rare inhabitants we did ask whether there was a staircase ("skála") or monopáti going up, but that did not seem to be the case.

One of the big churches in Potamós.

You set out on the strenuous climb, by following a (too) broad concrete road, while in front of you, you can already distinguish the big church and the first houses of Manolás.

Panoramic view on Potamós.

After climbing up for about 20 minutes, you can walk to the church with the blue dome. You pass on its right-hand side and then on the left of the school – when we were there we counted six pupils and one teacher on the playground. You go to the right for a short while and then you turn to the left sharply – you are now in what should be the main street of Manolás. Also over here everything is very quiet: in contrast with Santoríni there are almost no stores and very few people.


The main street of Manolás.

(1h37) Almost at the end of the street, at the cashpoint of the Emporikí Trápeza, you take a right on the first steps of the large staircase – the steps are in concrete at first and you go in the direction of the restaurant "Panorama". This restaurant boasts a marvellous panoramic view, indeed! Some tourists come to this place after having visited the volcano and the thermal springs with the little boats – but even so, this place is incredibly peaceful. Also Santoríni on the opposite side seems quiet, but you know that the reality is quite a bit different!  

Sitting on the panoramic terrace of restaurant Panórama, in Manolás - deep under is the harbour of Kórfos.

The stairs that descend to the little harbour of Kórfos.

[If you want to, you can descend the staircase in about 20 minutes and thus reach the little harbour of Kórfos: there are 150 broad and sloping steps. You can take a donkey for the way up.
Down at the water, there are sometimes boats to the little harbour of Ammoúdi in Ia – this could spare you the return route to Ríva, but you should definitively inform beforehand. In May 2008 there was a boat at 4.30pm, passing in Ríva at 5pm, in order to cross over to Ia.]

(1h37) You walk back via Potamós. This means that you go up the staircase and you walk through the main street again; you pass the little and simple church of Agios Ioánnis Pródromos and a modest pantopolío. After 7 minutes you pass the church with the blue dome, you turn right, you take the street on the right and you thus walk back past the school – the teacher with her six pupils were still sitting outside.  
You descend the concrete slope underneath the church and next to the modern store you take the concrete road going down. The steep descent takes some 12-13 minutes and you pass the four blue domes of Potamós again. After 25 minutes all together you reach the crossing with the gravel road to Christós.

(2h02) You continue on the concrete road, so to the right, but some 100 metres later, when you get to a curve, you go straight ahead on the gravel road. You pass the chapel of Agios Geórgios and far away in front of you, you can distinguish Agia Iríni at Ríva. To the left, in the sea, you notice again the islands of Folégandros, Síkinos and (to the right) Ios.

(2h24) You thus arrive at the chapel that is situated a little lower. Over here you take a RIGHT and in this way you walk down, on the right of this chapel, until you get to the little harbour. (2h30).

View on Ia, taken from Ríva - the Blue Star passes and the Arsinóï arrives...

Also over here it is really peaceful – not even a café or a restaurant where you can wait for the boat - the Arsinóï will definitely be too late...

Panoramic view on Ia during the return trip to Firá.

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