Symi Greece - Chorio to Stravos Polemou Walk.

This is a really nice Chorio - Stravros Polemou - Chorio circular walk on Symi Island which visits several churches and monasteries on the route.

Starting off from Chorio's square (by the cafe) head up passing the bars (there is a kiosk is on your right) soon passing shops and the old pharmacy. At a takeaway selling rotisserie chicken take the steps on the right next to a supermarket (which usually has its produce stacked up all over the place on these steps). Continue along the alley, passing a small boutique on the right then shortly when the alley splits go right up the steps - now the way is marked with blue and red dots.
Symi walks and photosStravos PolemouJust follow these marks until you come to an open area which has 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 which take you to the start of 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 just by a telegraph pole.
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Turn right on the main road and stay on it (ignoring the road going off on the right to Taxiarchis Michali Roukouniotis) - when you reach a very sharp left hand bend look out for the old Symi 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 continue going slightly uphill and as the road starts to bend to the left take a concrete road going off to the right. Ahead and below is what appears to be a stone wall but this is in fact a re-established Moni-path - take this path but note it is very hard to walk on, the best place to walk is on the large stones on the sides but take care since already there are bits missing.
Around here if you look up you can see the monastery at Stravos Polemou way above you perched on rocks. Follow the path to rejoin the main road, turn right and after a short distance look out for and follow a path which goes round the right hand side of an orchard below and then again re-joins the main road. Turn right on the road and soon come to an open area - ignore a track on the right to Ag. Nikolaos but just beyond this climb up the bank to pick up a marked path (blue crosses with red centres). This really nice path (there are meant to be tortoises around to be seen but we didn't see them..) goes through the forest and eventually arrives at peculiar concrete section which you climb over - then a little further on the path arrives at the church of Panaidi.
Continue on from the front of the church going alongside a wall on your left then when you come to some huge boulders climb up via these (this is all well marked)
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Just keep climbing up as the path winds via woods and huge boulders to arrive at the monastery of Stravos Polemou - this is the highest monastery/chapel on the island at around 500 metres. This is a great place to sit and have a drink - there are good views of the island including a distant view of Panormitis. Opposite the church there is a small wooden door which is the entrance to the monasteries kitchen - there is a fireplace for cooking, table and chairs plus a well in here. Return back down the path towards the church of Panaidi but when you finally climb down to the path from the boulders turn left. Follow the path through the woods and pick up a path on the right going down through woods - this eventually arrives at a large open area with a fence on your left. The way on from here is not too obvious - go over to the fence and then follow it round (fence on your left and there is old rusty fridges and junk all over the place too) - the path swings to the right - lookout for a large tree with a sign marked "to Ag. Nikolaos".
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You should see on your left a large field surrounded by a stone wall and probably containing goats. Pass to the right of the tree on a stony path which goes slightly right and slowly descends into some fir trees - after the woods the path comes out on a more open area and then goes for some distance going easily along the side of a gully.
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Eventually the path zig zags down, crosses the gully and turns back along the other side of the hill - now climbing - there are excellent views round here. Simply stay on this path - eventually the small church of Panagia Stylou comes into view ahead so when the path splits go right and walk up to the church. From the church continue on a concrete road and go left at the next junction - this will take you back to the monastery of Aghia Ekaterini. From here retrace your steps back down the Moni path, road and the donkey path to Chora.
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