Yialós to Horió via the Kalí Stráta, then on to the Akrópolis
A straightforward route from the harbour to Horió square in a brisk 8-15 minutes or longer on steps nearly all the way; then by narrow streets to the old akrópolis, the highest point of Horió in a further 10-15 minutes. Walk Ib provides an altemative route to the Horió sauare
The Kali Stráta steps start from behind the Pizzaria Bella Napoli, on the southem side of Yialós harbour. Estimates of the number of steps vary between 350 and 600! - but there are cafés at the top. Initially at right-angles to the harbour, the steps go up past a tourist office on the right, then at a T-junction go left. A further right and left get you on the right course - a much broader stairway. Head upwards, to pass a large pine tree on the left.
A broad sweep to the right- by a house with large trees - and then further steps reach a leftward curve, where a level, tree-shaded street comes in from the right. At the following sharp right, by a junction with a cardphone ahead, the Kalí Stráta continues uphill.
The street heading downhill to the left of the cardphone is a less-stepped alternative to the Kali Stráta, for going down to the Yialós waterfront from Horió. For this descent, follow the downhill street, to a large, triangular open area. Stay to the left, and a series of zigzag loops will bring you out onto the waterfront road, by the Symi Visitor office, with the Dimítris ouzeri- taverna on your right, and the little bus-terminal square on your left.
Continuing uphillI, on the Kalf Stráta, a wide final section brings you past, both on your left, the street to the Fiona and Horió ("Village") hotels, and the Geórgios taverna, then into the central square. Here, under a shady Virginia creeper canopy, is the Leftéris café, the starting point for the Horió walks.
For the reverse of this route, you should find the Geórgios taverna in Horió, and then follow une main downhill steps, making an obvious sharp left turn by the cardphone. Yialós to Panagía Elemonítria to Horió
Follow Walk la instructions, as far as the first pine tree (left), but take the next set of stone steps leading up to the right. These are well used, but steep in places. Continue upwards, past some level turnings off to the right and across a cross-paths. The path zigzags up to a T-junction with a level path, where you should go right. This then makes a couple of loops up to the left. Go right again on the ancient kalderími up towards the large-domed Panagla Elemonítria church, emerging just below the entrance door (locked). The large entrance drive is off to the left, but continue upward near the church wall to join the comiche road above. Go left for the square.
Yialós to Ágios Fanouris area/the 'Western Road'
Walks 3a/3b. These short routes, from Yialós, and Walks 4a/4b from Horió, are given separately as they are the beginning section of several walks. Both climb the ridge behind Yialós, where they join the asphalt road to Taxiárhis Mihail Roukouniótis monastery. By turning left onto the asphalt at the end of Walks 3a, 3b and 4b, then walking for about 5-8 minutes, you will reach the end of Walk 4a, and vice versa. Walks 3a and 3b are almost identical, except that the latter includes the Ágios Fanoúris monastery.
Yialós to the 'Western Road' near Ágios Fanoúris
This route goes mostly uphill and takes about 30-35 minutes. It joins the asphalt Western Road to Taxiárhis Mihail Roukouniótis, and is the start of Walks 9 and 10. Anyone starting from Tiaics could use it as an altemate start to Walks II and 12, rather than going via Horio.
From the kiosk, at the south end of the pedestrian bridge in Yialós, cross the bridge and then head left and inland, around the right-hand (north) side of the square. Pass the brightly coloured Dimarkhío (town junction at the head of the square and follow this road. and then the Nautical Museum. After the museum, turn right at the
Reach a junction, where a concrete road goes steeply up and onwards, to the right of centre. Turn into a road to the left and then go diagonally right, off this road and up a narrow, ascending street. Follow the steps of this street as it swings right, then left, then back right again. Enter open, rocky countryside. Pass by a ruined house and through a gate about 5 minutes from the kiosk.
The path splits just after emerging from between two walls, with a shortcut waymarked uphill alongside the water pipe, but stay with the main kalderími. The pipe rejoins the kalderími, about 10 minutes after the gate. Later, a non-kalderími path off to the right - with the water pipe - leads to the monastery of Agios Fanoúris (Walk 3b), but stay to the left. After a further 10 minutes, pass a shady oak tree. Shortly afterwards, your route merges with another (rough) kalderími (Walk 4b) coming in from the left. Join the asphalt road. Go right for Taxiárhis Mihail Roukouniótis or Ágios Dimítrios, left for Mihail Perivliótis.
Yialós to Ágios Fanoúris
Similar to 3a, except for the last third, which goes via the Agios Fanoúris monastery. About 35-40 minutes uphill walking.
Follow Walk 3a until the side path to the right - and water pipe - leave the kalderími, about 25 minutes from the kiosk. Go right here towards Agios Fanoúris. The path climbs to a house then joins a dirt track up to the monastery (closed), going around to the right of the latter to join an access road in about 10 minutes from the junction. Go left, alongside the upper wall of the monastery bring you to the asphalt road. Turn right for Taxiárhis Mihail Roukouniótis or Ágios Dimítrios, left for Mihail Perivliótis.
Yialós to Emborió to Ágios Nikólaos Stenoú to Haráni to Yialós
Emborió is an expanding settlement, spread in several clusters along the south and southwest side of the island's huge northeastern bay. Locally it is often called Nimborió. The taverna and main beach are about 30-40 minutes from Yialós by the outward route, 45-60 minutes by the inward. Add a further 40+ minutes, from Emborió on to Ågios Nikólaos Stenoú, and back.
From the Yialós kiosk, at the south end of the pedestrian bridge, head inland along the straight road. As the road bends, go right, then diagonally left at the multiple junction at the head of the square. Follow the road past a holiday accommodation complex on the left, then to a junction. Head uphill on the steep, broad concrete road, towards the Elikónis cemetery, reached in about 3 minutes from the bottom.
Near the cemetery, ignore a concrete road off to the right, and continue. At the next junction, shortly afterwards, go onto the left-hand concrete road (Walk 8a goes right). Stay on the concrete road to the end of the cemetery wall and beyond, After a short while, it goes between walls. About I5 minutes from the start, come to a junction, with the better route uphill on the left and a path swinging off to the right. Continue left to reach the monastery of Agios Geórgios rakoundiótis, with its attractive arched courtyard - from where the elongated settlement of Emborió comes into view. A stony path continues downhill, but soon rejoins the end of a substantial, zigzag kalderími. About five minutes below the monastery, join the concrete road, and go left for Emborió.
Follow the road along, beyond the first cluster of houses and down to sea-level, where it swings right and up into the next cluster of houses. Follow it through a left turn, with a courtyarded church, Ágios Spyrídon, on your right. It then divides, with steps going up left and a smaller concrete path going down right, then onwards. Follow this concrete path along the coast and to the small beach, where there are sunbeds, a short jetty, and Maria's (Metapontís) café- taverna. There are frequent water-taxis between here and Yialós, in season.
Behind the beach, at the far end, a path goes up left to three little churches, but you stay down at the waters' edge to the right, and go along the foreshore. Turn inland at the first wide entrance - a stony river-bed track. Pass a small church on the right. Continue a little further and there are some white-edged steps which will lead you up a winding route on the left towards a pair of churches. In the churchyard, to the right of the two churches is a roofed ironwork enclosure of Byzantine mosaic remnants. Late in the year there is a fine patch of autumn crocuses in the fenced field beyond the mosaics.
Left of the churches, above and outside the courtyard, a faint path zigzags uphill through an open gateway. Follow this up and then to the left to a bare, flattish bit of hillside overlooking the beach, and a few minutes from the yard. Do not go on through a second gateway. There are some underground catacombs here, known as the Dódeka Spilia (Twelve Caves) – with one obvious opening and some less obvious ones at the side of the hill.
Retum by the same route to the church, riverbed track and foreshore. Tum left, passing the green-shuttered house and a long, concreted wall. Go through the gate at the end of the beach From here, there is a choice.
Detour to Ágios Geórgios Kylindriótis, the nearest of the Kokkinóhoma headland monasteries- although the gate to the monastery courtyard was locked in October 2005. Through the gate, turn left and pass an unfinished building. Beyond the building, the path climbs, levels, then zigzags up beside a large isolated carob tree. The path then heads left (inland) and forks. The right fork goes up in a few minutes to Agios Geórgios Kylindriótis; left goes onward to join the end of the dirt track coming in from Ågios Dimítrios or Taxiárhis Mihail Roukouniótis (Walk 9 in reverse).
To Agios Nikolaos Stenou - further, higher and steeper of access than Ágios Geórgios Kylindriótis, but with wonderful views - in 15-25 minutes from the end of the beach. Through the gate, steps climb more or less directly ahead (to a small building). Go up a short take a faint path to the right and out onto the headland. Follow it as it climbs way, behind a new house with a walled rear garden, then onwards to above the Ágios Merkoúrios monastery enclosure. Pass a donkey hut on the left and look for a split in the route, where you head upwards to the left on a partly-stepped path. This will lead you by zigzags up through the grey
limestone desert of the peninsula to the very isolated monastery of Ågios Nikólaos Stenoú. Its tamarisk and mulberry trees come into view shortly before you reach a small, level fork in the path, seven minutes from the previous junction, from where two minutes further to the left will bring you to the monastery.
Here at the monastery are shade and wonderful views out islands of Pláti and Hondrós, larger Nímos, and across the water to Turkey. An old illustration inside is of the sea-level monastery of Análypsis, further out on the headland and only practically accessible by sea. There is a water tank, but the contents were soup-like in October 2005. Return by the same route to the northern end of Emborió bay.
From the north end of Emborió bay, head back to the Emborió taverna, then follow your outward route on the coastal concrete path, then road. However, instead of going up kalderími to the Agios Geórgios monastery, stay with the concrete road along the coast. This rises, and gently sweeps along the north coast hillside, above scattered houses.
The road eventually swings right, above a small cove, with a side road to the right leading up to a cemetery and the large Evangelismós (Panagía tis Evangelismoú, Evangelístria) church overlooking Yialós bay. Continue on the lower, main route to pass the tiny N.O.S. beach and then swing right into the Haráni area of Yialós.
This is the main boatbuilding area of the island, and it is said that Jason's Argo was constructed here. Three Symiot ships, led by the warrior-king Nireus, took part in the Trojan War. Under the governance of the Knights of St. John, the island became famous for its light, fast boats, up to 500 being constructed per year. During the later Turkish occupation, these skills led to Sými providing the maritime transport for the imperial Ottoman post office. Work continues to this day, on the building of new craft, and the refurbishment of boats from Rhodes and elsewhere.
A further curve, around the back of the small bay, brings you past the Aliki, Dora and Nireus, some of the island's most upmarket hotels, in beautifully converted neoclassical mansions. Swing right just before the clocktower and onto the northern quayside of Yialós itself, by the police station, post office and port authority. Before reaching your start point at the head of the bay, pass the Restaurant Les Katarinettes at the site of the signature of the surrender of the German forces in the Dodecanese on 8 May 1945, then the war memorial and a cliff-face sculpture by Kóstas Palsímas.
Almost back at your starting point, you will pass the sponge shops, remnants of Symi's other great industry. Sponges provided direct employment for one eighth of the population, and by 1523 Sými had the sole rights for sponge-fishing throughout the Ottoman empire. Instead of attempting to resist Turkish occupation, as Rhodes had done, Sými had negotiated themselves a diplomatic surrender and accrued numerous privileges as a result. Today there is little left of the industry here, and most of the sponges on sale are imported. The pale blond sponges have been highly processed; the darker, dull brown ones are nearer to their natural state.
Yialós to Elikónis cemetery to new monastery to Yialós
A shorter route, just visiting the area of lower hillside behind Yialós, but with some good views Follow Walk 8 as far as the Elikónis cemetery, but go through the gates opposite the cemetery entrance (just before a concrete side road off right). The path leads down to a new monastery church. There is a second, smaller and older church behind the first. Exit via the back gates to the left (near the large prickly oak tree), and turn right onto the concrete side road. Follow this across the plateau towards the east, past a surfaced road (right) and the helicopter landing pad (left). A short distance further, as you approach the houses at the back of this part of town, fork right onto a second surfaced road and follow this to its end at a new building. Take the steps down to the left, and go right at the bottom of these. A concrete cliff-path takes you around with spectacular views out over the harbour. At a T-junction behind houses, go left and down, swinging right and staying on this route to a further T-junction. Here, you go down to the left, right and left successively. Continue down, to emerge at the corner of the main square, near the bridge.