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Walks from Panagia Hamon to ...

Panagía Hamón to Mikrós Sotíras Ligís/Panagía Vounariótissa to 4-Way Junction

This walk could be used as an alternative route for part of Walk 13, between Panagía Hamón and the 4-way junction. You could do this route and, from the cross-tracks, visit Kokkimídis monastery. Then, by reversing Walk 13, you could return, via Panagía Hamón and the Pédi south ridge, to Horió. Allow 2 to 2½ hours for this walk. An optional detour to views of Ágios Geórgios Dysálona is possible.

Ágios Geórgios Dysálona is an east-facing bay, and surrounded on three sides by very high cliffs that make it inaccessible except from the sea. There are the inevitable, eponymous monastery, and a beach serviced by water-taxis – though it does get shady (and cool) comparatively early in the afternoon. Near sea-level is the only known site for Sými's endemic marjoram, Origanum symes (the common Origanum onites is abundant over most of the rest of the island). All routes to access the top of the surrounding cliffs, require some, often extensive, overland scrambling. The route described below probably involves the least, but should be regarded as an optional detour. The somewhat roll-top contours of the cliff edges mean that the views down into the bay, though undoubtedly spectacular, always lack the absolute, heart-stopping, sheer verticality that one anticipates on approaching them.

Follow Walk 13 as far as Panagía Hamón, and then on the section of concrete road through to the following, well-wooded valley. As you enter this valley and the road swings right, look tor a walled path down to the left.

Head off down the stony path into the valley. It soon swings right along the line of the valley. reaching the streambed in about three minutes. It does fracture en route, but rejoins. From the shady streambed an initially more rocky path ascends the far side, heading back eastwards. About a minute from the streambed, a zigzag path, red-paint-marked and cairned, goes off to the right. This is the later path to Arhángelos Kailiótis, Panagía Kampiótissa and the 4-way junction of Walk 13.

Stay with the main, more level, path and, about 10 minutes from the start of the path, go through a gateway into the enclosure of the monastery and church of Mikrós Sotíras Ligis and

Panagía Vounariótissa, Go through a second gateway a couple of minutes later and cross a rocky enclosure. Stay to the right, but look for a little opening between walls to the left that will lead you up to the lower monastery. To the north of the monastery, a rocky path leads a small church on an outcrop, about 15 minutes from the start of the path.

Detour for Ágios Geórgios Dysálona views. Allow 40-60 minutes. East of (below) the Panagía Vounariótissa monastery is a series of open, gravel terraces now being invaded by cypress trees. If you take a path just to the right-hand side of them, this will take you down to the lowest visible terrace. Avoid a narrower path, further right and into denser woodland - the correct path is wider and just goes through the edge of the woodland. Continue to descend, through a grey gravel clearing. The path splits, one going into the woodland, but stay with the left option on the grey terraces.

Keep just to the right of an enclosure and then cross an open area. The path runs on purposefully, across a series of large, flat, ex-terraces with encroaching cypresses, to an enclosure with a water tank. Do not go through the obvious entrance gate but turn left and follow the left-hand boundary, to the far left external comer. From here you can make your way up and through the rocks, initially diagonally right of centre, then back left a bit. You should arrive at cliff edge views of Ágios Geórgios Dysálona bay very far below. Return by the same route.

Second detour for views of Nanoú bay. Allow 20 minutes. Returning to the eastern, lower end of the monastery enclosure, turn left (south) and follow the boundary fence clockwise. Near the highest point, a path goes off left. If you miss it, almost immediately afterwards nou will come to a door-sized opening in the wall. Go through this and head uphill slightly to the left. You should find the path, though it is faint. Sometimes narrow and clear, or faint and broad, it takes you up to the ridge overlooking Nanoú bay. It is possible to go right, staying within the rocky woodland and join up with the following path, but it is more straightforward to return to the monastery.

Retrace your steps to the path that originally lead to the monastery enclosure, and head back to that earlier zigzag path, off left, just before the wooded valley streambed. The zigzag path, though faint in places, will bring you back up to the ridge. At the ridge you turn right and the level, orange earth path becomes clearer. Follow it westwards to a circular threshing floor, where you turm left (south), again on a clear path.

Stay with the path, which gradually swings round to the right on the hillside and among encroaching cypresses. It is occasionally faint or a little overgrown, but you should emerge finally at a col with a view of a colourful small monastery, Arhángelos Mihail Kailiótis. Instead of joining the obvious concrete road ahead, the path swings left to a low ridge, then down to the Panagia Kampiotissa monastery. Here, you go right and now join the road back past Arhángelos Kailiótis - or turn off right on the dirt track up to Taxiárhis Mihail Kokkimídis monastery (Walk 13, in reverse) above the hilltop cliffs up to the right. From the 4-way junction of dirt tracks Jef co to the motorway, right back to Panagía Hamón. The paint-marked path down from Kokkimite comes in moments along to the right.


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