Symi Island Greece Monastery and Church Walk in the hills.
This walk goes down Symi's Kali Strata then climbs back out of the Harbour, visits several monasteries and churches before returning back to the start.
From the Old Village Square head down Symi's famous Kali Strata to the harbour - turn left,
go along the harbour front and then over the bridge, now turn left round the edge of the square until you reach a road going off to the right (this road goes to the cemetery). Go up this road - it soon becomes very steep as it climbs out of the harbour - but levels
out by the Elikonis cemetery which is on the left. Carry on alongside the cemetery wall on the concrete road - the road then becomes a footpath and then a kalderimi between walls. Stay on the kalderimi until you arrive at the monastery of Ag. Georgios Drakoundiotis - from here there are very good views of Emborio.
A quite rough footpath heads down from here to rejoin the kalderimi - sadly this kalderimi is not in too good condition but it is ok to walk as it zig zags on down the hillside to reach a
road. Turn left and follow the road along the coastline and when it ends carry on along the beach. Emborio beach is stoney but does have a taverna (in fact the
cheapest for drinks etc. that we found on the island) - you can also hire sunshades/chairs from the taverna if you wish. Further along from the taverna there are some steps on
the left which go up to a small church - there are also meant to be caves here somewhere but we did not find them - maybe because the path had been "disappeared" for some reason.
Continuing the walk - go on across the stoney beach to the far end - go up the steps in front of you and just before you reach a gate turn left to pick up the path heading inland round the hill.
This path is marked but is in quite a poor condition in places and does require scrambling at times and quite a lot of care too at times.
As you head up hill look to your left at the ruins of what must have been a really grand building. About halfway up the hill the church of Ag.
Georgios Kylindriotis - a small path diverts up to this church - however we found the gates locked but it is worth the effort even so. From the
church return back down to the path and then continue on along the path as it goes more or less straight on into the hills. Eventually the area opens
out and flattens and you arrive by a fence - go round to the right of this fence and then left crossing an area which is heavily bulldozed - then turn right and aim for an obvious track a little way up above you.
On reaching this track turn left and now continue on - the track soon changes from a rough dirt surface to concrete and winds on passed several churches
(Ag. Dimitrios and Panagia Katholiki) and then eventually comes out at the monastery of Taxiarhis Mihail Roukouniotis.
Outside of the monastery gates
is a really great place to sit and have a cool down - but remember to keep the gates closed because of the goats. You can also go into the monastery
and have a walk round but again ensure the gates are securely closed. Also this is a military area - with a large army camp down below the monastery on the right so remember the "no photo" rules.
Continue along the main road, ignore a concrete road on the left, to eventually arrive at the monastery of Mihail Perivliotis - this is located right on the bend of the road just after a road comes in from the right.
Opposite the monastery (i.e. on the left of the road) is a fenced area with a gate, take the donkey path which starts to the right of this gate - initially
this is a very well restored paved path (although already the goats are doing their best to destroy the walls which line both sides). Follow the path as it
goes through trees and then winds down to arrive at a small church - Ag Paraskevi - a good spot for another cool down under the trees. From here the path is not restored at all and is quite difficult to walk in places but it is ok.
As you walk down you start getting really good views of Yialos, Chorio and Pedi Bay way below, and also the Akropolis above the Old Town comes into view.
The path eventually arrives at a wire gate, this should be closed to keep the goats out of course. Carry on down the steps and on reaching the houses you will start to see red and blue markers on the walls, simply follow these - when you arrive at a flat paved area with a church in front of you take the steps down on the left
- this then winds you on down via narrow alleys - simply keep following the markers. After you pass a small supermarket on the right carry straight on and
at the next junction turn right and after a few yards turn left - follow the markers to take you up to the Akropolis with it's several churches and really good views.
Return back down by following the markers which will take you to the village square.
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