The following walks on the Dodecanese islands of Symi and Nisyros have been on my aartworld.com website ‘Greek Island Walks’ for a while now. This new page on ‘Barry’s Ramblings’ hopefully makes them more readily available. Some are in need of revision and being on the blog makes that process easier. I plan to make changes over the summer months of 2015 as well as add more walks and hopefully more islands. If you find them useful or have feedback, let me know via the comments facility on the blog.
To open a PDF copy of the walking guide, click on the link below the description
Walk 1 – to Viewpoint above Horio
A walk from the top of the Kali Strata in Horio along the narrow alleys of the old village up to what is probably the best Viewpoint on the island … If not in Greece!! It is a short, easy walk with great payback for effort, ideal for the cool of the early morning or evening when the light is also best for photographing the truly gob-smacking views down into the harbour and over Horio to Pedi Bay and Asia Minor beyond. It is also the start for a number of other more strenuous walks.
IF YOU ONLY DO ONE WALK ON SYMI, THIS SHOULD BE IT!!!.
Navigation is a matter of negotiating the maze of narrow, labyrinthine, un-named alleys where GPS is of limited value, so photos of key points are used instead.
Symi walk 1- Viewpoint
Walk 2 – to Agios Vasilios and Lapathos Beach
A walk from the top of the Kali Strata in Horio up to what is probably the best Viewpoint on the island (Walk 1) and then on old kalderimia and footpaths across the island to the monastery of Agios Vasilios perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the secluded Lapathos Beach on Symi’s West Coast. It takes in some of the most spectacular landscapes on Symi including the Vasilios Gorge. The walk to Ag Vasilios is ‘moderate’ but the drop down to Lapathos beach is very steep, a mixture of rock scrambling and loose scree path. There is little shade. One option is to do the walk one-way having already arranged for the return to Yialos with the round-the-island boat trip which makes a BBQ stop at Lapathos Beach on some days (check first).
Symi walk 2 Ag Vasilios
Walk 3 – to Agios Emilianos
A walk from the top of the Kali Strata in Horio , up to what is probably the best Viewpoint on the island (Walk 1) continues on old kalderimia and footpaths across the island to the monastery of Agios Emilianos set on a tiny islet in Skoumisa Bay on Symi’s West Coast. It takes in very varied landscapes and, being partly in juniper woodland, it offers more shade than some. Walking both ways can be long and tiring, particularly in a Symi heat wave so one option is to do the walk one-way having previously arranged with one of the regular round-the-island boat trips which calls in at the monastery for the return to Yialos.
Symi walk 3 Ag Emilianos
Walk 4 – to Agios Stavros Polemou (to be completed)
A walk is from the top of the Kali Strata in Horio up to what is probably the best Viewpoint on the island (Walk 1) and then on kalderimia and footpaths up to the dramatically located mountain-top monastery of Agios Stavros Polemou, perched on the edge of cliff s with great views across much of the island. From here EITHER walk down through woodland to Nanou Bay with the option of a taxi boat back to the harbour OR take an alternative path back via an old kalderimi. An additional option is to include a walk to the impressively restored Byzantine stone wine presses.
Symi walk 4 Ag Stavros Polemou
Walk 1 – Emborios to Mandraki via lava bubble and Evangelistra
A walk from the spectacularly located village of Emborios, teetering on the rim of the caldera of the volcano, to the monastery of Evangelistra (Part 1) and then back down to Mandraki (Part 2). The top section can only be described as awe-inspiring. It traverses around the inside edge of the rim of the ‘Laki’ caldera and passes a massive lava bubble before rising to a col and crossing to skirt the rim of the ‘Kato Laki’ caldera and then dropping down to Evangelistra. The walk can be done in either direction but starting in Emborios it is almost entirely downhill, gives the most spectacular views, and is most convenient for catching the bus.
Nisyros walk 1
Walk 2 – Evangelistra to Mandraki
This is not generally regarded as a walk in itself but is the completion of a number of other walks to take you back down to Mandraki and is an attractive alternative to walking back down the road. The views are dramatic down to the harbour and across to Yiali and Kos. On an old kalderimi, it is very varied with sections reminiscent of ‘sunken ways’ in Britain but cut into high banks of pumice, and other sections meandering between ancient walls of terraced fields.
Nisyros walk 2
Walk 3 – Nikia to Mandraki via the caldera and Evangelistra
A walk from the spectacularly located village of Nikia on the rim of the volcano, down a restored kalderimi to the floor of the ‘Laki’ caldera with an option to visit the craters before following a mountain path to a small deserted settlement in a col and then dropping down to the floor of the dormant ‘Kato Laki’ caldera with a short climb to the monastery of Evangelistra (Part 1) and then finally back down to Mandraki (Part 2). There is a further option of walking up to the deserted settlement of Nifios dating back to Mycean times. (Walk option 1)
Nisyros walk 3
Walk 4 – Emborios to Mandraki via the caldera and Evangelistra
A walk from the spectacularly located village of Emborios, teetering on the rim of the caldera of the volcano, down a recently restored stone-paved kalderimi to the floor of the ‘Laki’ caldera, then up a mountain path to a small deserted settlement in a col before dropping down to the floor of the dormant Kato Laki caldera with a short climb to the monastery of Evangelistra (Part 1) and then finally back down to Mandraki (Part 2). There is an option of walking up to the deserted settlement of Nifios dating back to Mycean times. (Walk option 1)
Nisyros walk 4
Walk 6 – Nikia to Mandraki via the caldera rim and Stavros
A walk from the spectacularly located village of Nikia, through abandoned ancient settlements and around the inside of the western rim of the volcano with dramatic views of the craters more than 1000 feet below. After skirting around the caldera at a high level on footpaths, a paved kalderimi drops down to a low point in the caldera rim before rising up again to the monastery of Stavros. The next section of the route is less interesting but offers the opportunity to visit the ancient, long-deserted monastic settlement of Siones with its church decorated with frescoes renovated in 1733 (Walk option 3). The final section is on the remains of a 15th Century stone-paved kalderimi and on paths through fields and terraces leading to the Paleocastro and back to Mandraki.
Nisyros walk 6
Walk option 1 – to Nyfios
An optional addition to walks to Mandraki from Embrios or Nikia via the Laki caldera and Evangelistra(Walks 3 and 4). Starting from close to the high point of main path to Evangelistra a path climbs steeply up to the ancient settlement of Nyfios, considered to date back to the Minoans about 1500 BC. At the entrance to the high-level valley are rock-carved horns, thought to indicate an ancient Cretan sanctuary, and a complex of dwellings and a church built into the rocks. Within the valley is a large rock with beam ends cut out, a cave-church with carved rock pillar, and at the far end, views into the craters far below. Allow at least an hour for the additional walk and exploration.
Nisyros walk option 1
Walk option 2 – to Oros Diavatis
An optional addition to the walks from Nikia and Emborios to Mandraki via Evangelistra (Walks 1, 3 & 4). Oros (Mount) Diavatis is the highest mountain on Nisyros and forms part of the rim of the caldera of the volcano. Close to the top is the small monastery of Diavatis and right on the top is the small, well kept, simple church dedicated to the Prophet Elijah. Because these are traditionally places of pilgrimage there is an exceptionally good path up the mountain, much of it stone-paved. The ascent from Evangelistra is 433 metres, but if you start on the caldera floor the total ascent on the walk is 660 metres. The walk is therefore strenuous and you need to be well provisioned. But it is very much worth the effort
Nisyros walk option 2
Walk option 3 – to Siones
An optional addition to the walk to Mandraki from Nikia via the caldera rim and Stavros monastery. Starting from just beyond the high point in the col after leaving Stavros, the path goes into a small valley with the deserted ancient monastery complex of Siones. Clustered around a traditional inner courtyard or ‘avli’ is a compact group of buildings displaying various stages of agricultural and religious occupation including original cave dwellings, a one room family house with open hearth and sleeping platform, and a church adorned with frescoes renovation in 1733 but now deteriorating due to water ingress in winter. The easy path takes about 20 minutes each way. Allow at least an hour for the additional walk and exploration.
Nisyros walk option 3