Walking up to Vigla Mountain on Symi Greece.
This walk takes you up to the top of Vigla Mountain then wanders around in the hills visiting quite a few old Symi Monasteries including Moni Kokkimidis.
From the village square by the cafe go on up past the bars (the kiosk is on your right) and keep going - passing the grocers, the bakers and the old pharmacy - when you come to a shop
on the left (a takeaway place selling rotisserie chicken (thanks Glen for the update)) take the
steps on the right next to a supermarket (you cannot miss it since the supermarket has its produce stacked up all over the place on these steps).
Continue along the alley, passing a small
boutique on the right, and shortly afterwards where the alley splits go right up the steps - now the way is marked with blue and red dots.
Just follow these marks until you come to a more open area which has a lot of derelict buildings on the right, there are numerous red and blue markers on the walls around here
but carry straight on until you reach a T-junction, turn left and then keep to the right of a supermarket. Turn right at the next alley and now follow the
markers again until you reach an open area with a church slightly back to your left. Carry on in the same direction and then take the steps on the left - these will take you up to the donkey path.
Continue on up the path and just after a wire gate the path splits - take the left hand fork and now start climbing up on a fairly steep zig-zagging path. Just below the main road the path deteriorates - we found the best way up was to go slightly left and climb up by a telegraph pole.
Turn right on the main road and stay on it (ignoring the road going off on the right to Taxiarhis Michali Roukouniotis) - when you reach a very sharp left hand bend look out for the old moni-path leaving virtually straight ahead - go onto this path and
follow it between old stone walls until you come to the monastery Aghia Ekaterini - the path continues to the left side of the and comes out on a small road - carry on up the road to re-join the main road. Turn right and now follow the main road for about a kilometre to reach a concrete track
going off to the left - you can now see the aerials up above you. Follow this road and look out for a small church on your right (which is worth taking a quick detour to visit).
The route now just involves following the (now) track as it winds it's way up to the aerials at Vigla - good views from here but can be very windy. Return back to the main road and turn left and just at the top of the hill take a concrete road going off to the left.
This goes down through the valley passing the nice shady church of Ag. Ioannis Tsagrias - carry on until reaching a 4-way junction. Turn left to visit the church of Aghia Marina Potiou
where you get good views through the valley. Return to the 4-way junction and this time carry straight on - this will take you past Arhangelos Kailiotis and then the monastery of Panagia Kampiotissa (which was closed when we were there but you could look at the gardens) where the track ends.
Return back down to the bull-dozed area - go left and almost immediately climb down to the right and then keeping slightly right find markers on rocks which will take you down to a track by the 4-way junction. Turn right on the
track and follow it as it passes a farm on the left and continues on through forest - the path bears left as it goes through a saddle and
then emerges in an open area with lots of old broken walls and foundations from a derelict village.
Continue on the track to arrive at the Monastery of Panagia Hamon, pass this church on it's left side and pick up a path which comes out in a really open rocky
area. Look carefully on your left to see an old threshing circle - the path continues on the far side of this. The path is marked with red and blue
dots and now goes diagonally left and downwards with zig zags in places as it goes in and out of gullies - and heads on down passing several lone trees to
arrive at the just above the cemetery. You need to go on down to the right side of the cemetery but this area is very rough and the path seems to have been
destroyed so just make your way down to the road over the heavy rock and debris.
On reaching the road turn right and follow this road as it winds round the hillside - with views of Chorio and Pedi below you - to eventually reach the
peaceful monastery of Zoodohou Pigis Vrisi. This is a lovely spot - you could easily spend a fair time up here maybe eating your afternoon picnic or perhaps
just reading a book for a few hours and also as with most of the churches and monasteries there is water
available if you need it.
Return back down the road to now pass through the gate and over the bridge - passing the cemetery then on reaching the main road turn right and walk back down
into the Old Town. At the first bend, directly ahead of you there is a small path which goes through the trees and allows you to avoid the long looping bend
the road takes - on rejoining the road look out for the good views of the windmills on the ridge above. Just after passing the dis-used football pitch
below on the right look out for a road on the left with a no-entry sign - take this and then at the junction turn left and this will get you back to the Kali Strata and the Village Square.
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