An Anaxos to Vafios to Petra Walk on Lesbos, Greece.
Leaving from Anaxos the walk goes through Petri, visits some Water Mills, Vafios and then back to Petra. This long Lesbos circular walk goes via really nice tracks and lovely paths and visits the watermills - also involves a steep and fairly difficult walk up a very rocky stream bed
sometimes via thick foliage. We have started the walk in Anaxos but this can obviously be started at Petra but you need to get to the by-pass road and the road going to Petri.
From Anaxos with the sea on your left walk to almost the end of the beach and take the dirt track (this may be concreted or tarmac'd by now though) on the right by a taverna. After a short distance take a concrete road on the left which soon goes very steeply up towards holiday apartments and houses. At the top go
slightly right and then down a wide dirt path to the beach. Turn right and follow the shoreline towards Petra - on joining the main road turn right and walk slightly uphill and then take a concrete road on the left. This quiet road passes a small church and then houses and gardens, keep
straight on at a cross junction and after crossing the river (where there are tortoises) the road splits, go right and then next left and then right again. This small road takes you to the by-pass road.
Cross the road and then take the road opposite which is marked to Petri. When the road bends to the right take a track almost straight ahead of you, shortly
after this the track goes off to the left towards farm buildings but stay right up a trail here - this area is extremely rough and it appears as if it is a dead
end, however climb down on the right and walk up the stream bed. This is heavily overgrown and rocky but soon improves as it widens and becomes flatter underfoot and goes between stone walls.
It then winds right and then up left to comes out on a much more open area with ruins of a deserted village. Look half left and you can see a dirt
track - make for this (possibly passing a wrecked orange van on the left) - go left up the track and at the junction turn right. After a short while reach a crossing track, turn right to walk downhill to the main road.
Turn left uphill on the main road and quite soon take a concrete track going off on the left - this winds up past a house on the left.
Just past the house the path seems to go straight on but don't go this way, instead above and to the left you can see a wall - walk up to it and pick up an old cobbled trail with the wall on your right.
This path winds uphill - ignore a gate on the left and just continue zig-zagging up - the path ends by some new buildings, go left between them and this will bring you to a white arch doorway and church on the left. Continue on round the path to arrive at the gate
leading into the church. With the gate behind you go half right steeply up rock steps to a viewpoint, the path then goes left and comes out by the taverna.
Carry straight on from the taverna and then left at the junction - follow this small road which goes above the village - once out of the village the road becomes a track - follow this as it winds through the hills - good views from up here of course. The track actually winds right round the valley to double back (do not take a track on the right by a trough at the sharp bend) and drops down
steeply to the crossing track used earlier. Go straight on keeping to this track as it winds round to the left of the hill passing farm buildings and with Petri and the coast visible to the left. The track descends to a t-junction with an old stone-built farm building opposite, turn right onto
a cobbled path and take this to eventually reach Ag.. Fotini in an open grassy area.
Go behind the church and pick up a grassy path with a fence on the right - follow this and it soon becomes a concrete track with gates - go on through and continue along the track heading deeper into the valley. The track becomes grassy and
soon the first of the water mills appears on the right - a little way further on reach the second mill on the left, immediately past this second mill go left steeply up a very narrow path - this is marked with blue paint but can be quite difficult to see since it's very
overgrown. The narrow path winds up and becomes very rocky but is easier to follow and walk - just keep going eventually passing more mills - until the path comes to an end by a huge rock with "peculiar" markings on it. Now the fun really starts - the path becomes very
overgrown with ferns and thorns and eventually you have to walk onto the rocky river bed.
Now simply make your way up via the sometimes heavy rocks and thick foliage in the river bed - sometimes it is possible to divert out of the river to pass particularly bad sections - you just have to use your eyes. Eventually you reach a brushwood barrier - pick your spot and climb over this
with care and then continue along the streambed for just a short distance until you come to an open area with a wall on the right. Go left here to cross a stream bed and then walk up to reach a large gate, go through this and turn left now on a dirt track - continue on this track to walk the several kilometres into the top of Vafios.
Continue into Vafios and immediately before reaching a small taverna go left down the cobbled main street which brings
you to the main road.
Turn left soon passing the Vafios Taverna and then another taverna - the road has a sharp hair-pin which you can cut off by going across the open ground. Back on the road look for blue markings on the left which indicate the path to Petra. Go quite steeply down the few metres onto a track, cross this and go down just a few more metres to reach yet another track, turn left and cross the stream and then continue up the track. After about half
a kilometre from the stream the track levels out a little - on the left look for a blue arrow on a tree pointing down, opposite this just off the track on the right is where the path to Petra continues. This path can be quite difficult to spot because of the quite tall grass and undergrowth (especially in April/May) but
there are blue markings to be found on several rocks showing it's presence.
This was one of our favourite paths so much so that we worked out a different walk whilst on Lesvos just so we could walk up it
again. Follow the path as it wanders down sometimes over rocks to reach a gate, go through and turn right and now simply enjoy the flowers, grasses, trees, bushes, rock outcrops, butterflies, birds, lizards and perhaps the occasional snake as you continue down always
staying on the main path to eventually reach a track. Turn left soon passing a concrete culvert - Petra is now clearly visible below and to the right as is the long long road running straight towards the coast. At the track junction turn right onto another
quite slippery and steep track which bends down to another track junction, turn right and now simply follow this long road back to the Petra by-pass. Cross the by-pass and take the road opposite to walk back into Petra.
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