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Ithaki has many beautiful trails but there are ceritan things that hikers should look out for. On some of the paths the spporting walls have degraded and require caution when walking on or around them. Proper hiking attire is also reccomended as prickly bushes and loose stone can make traversing some parts of the paths difficult. Observing these few precautions will allow you to full enjoy hiking on Ithaki's many beautiful trails.
1. Kalamos - Exogi Length: 1.250 m Difficulty Level: Medium Suggested Time: Afternoon The old street which in the past connected the residents of Exogi with Kalamos fountain, their gardens and the sea. Face the Kalamos fountain. A very well defined track starts on the right-hand side of the fountain. At some points of this track the stone-wall has broken down and you have to be careful. Follow the red marks until you come to the first dirt road. Follow this dirt road to the left all the way to the outskirts of the village Kolieri. Turn to the right on a very well defined track and follow the red marks to another dirt road. Follow this road to the right until you come upon the Kalamos-Exogi track again to your left. Follow the red marks all the way to Exogi. After the first house of Exogi, you will find a fork. The right street goes to the Evangelistria’s church and than straight up to the center of the village, Saint Marina’s church. The left street goes at the point that the three old streets from Exogi start: to Kalamos-Perivoli beach, to Platrithias, and to Stavros.
2. Platrithias (Bridge) - Homer School - Exogi Length: 1.200 m Difficulty level: easy Proposed hours: afternoon The old street which connected Exogi with the Platrithias valley and the Frikes port. Turn your back to the bridge and start ascending the track at the left of the restaurant “Yefyri”. At the fork follow the left track marked with red paint. The cobbled street goes to Homeric place “Μελάνυθρος” (Melanithros) with the homonym fountain (Homer Odyssey υ 158: “αι μεν είκοσι βήσαν επί κρήνην μελάνυδρον”) and to Panaghia’s small church. Follow the track to the dirt road, cross the road, and on the right-hand side you will see the archaeological site of “Homer School - Aghios Athanasios”. The excavations there found an embattled complex of buildings from Mycenaean until Hellenistic period (12th-1st centuries b.C.). Continue on the track all the way to Exogi, to fork with the three streets.
3. Exogi - Roussano - Tris Langades - Polis Bay or Stavros Length: 4.500 m Difficulty level: medium Proposed hours: afternoon Going from Exogi to Stavros, before the first houses of the village a wide path (old street) begins at the left of the main street. Walk on it, after some footsteps you will find a fork. Take the right street, to Stavros. At the beginning the street is horizontal, after becomes a descent, and than becomes a cobblestone pavement which via a short gorge with trees goes to the asphalt road Stavros-Exogi. Walk on the asphalt road going right, and after three corners you will find the wooden sign with the letter “C”. This is a well-defined track which in the past enabled the residents of Exogi to reach their properties at Roussano Mountain. Follow the yellow marks and enjoy the view of the majestic Afales bay and the northern Ithacan valley. The path ends at the small plateau of Roussano. At your left hand you will see a vineyard. From there, the right hand track takes you directly to the western side of plateau, where you can enjoy the view of Cephalonia and the open sea. The left hand track takes you to the eastern side of plateau, to the rock where a castle (look-out tower) once stood. Going west, you walk around the Roussano, with beautiful view of Cephalonia. The path goes south, then takes a corner, and continues downhill, until to the old street from Kalivia Village to Polis Bay. This area is called Tris Langades. If you walk left, you will arrive to Stavros. Walk right, downhill, to the Polis Bay. At the area above the path, at 1930-1939 the British Archaeological School found a Mycenaean village (1400-1300 b.C.) and excavated three houses from this period. The old path ends at the bewitching bay of Polis. Before you arrive at the sea, walk right, and you will find the Polis Cave. Today, the roof of the cave has fallen down, and you will see only the wall of the cave. This cave, for 1.000 years, was a worship place to the gods for all Greece. Here, seamen from ships which went from Athens or Corinth to West Mediterranean Sea gave oblations to the gods. The excavations at 1930-1939 gave many finds: the Corinthian plate (800 b.C.) with the ancient symbols, Attic urns (500 b.C.), parts of 12 exceptional tripods (800 b.C.), and the famed EYXHN ODYCCEI (“Wish to Odysseus”), a fragment from terracotta from 300 b.C. You can see all them at the Archaeological Museum at Stavros. Alternately, from the eastern edge of Roussano plateau, you can take a path which goes directly to Kalivia Village. This path is shorter than the other, and at some parts slippery. At the outskirts of Kalivia you will find a fork. The left street goes to Stavros. The right street goes to Polis Bay.
Length: 3.000 m
We are at the gate of the Kathara Monastery. We walk about 250 meters on the asphalt road and on our left hand a red mark on the rock marks the beginning of the path. Following the red marks we walk on the Niritos Mountain, the highest mountain of Ithaca. It is the old street which in the past connected the south part of the island to the north. The track is almost horizontal and offers magnificent views of the island and the sea to the east. From a point and after, the path unfolds around the middle between the asphalt road and the top of Niritos Mountain. The path finishes to the asphalt road at the first houses of Anoghi village. At the village square we will admire the Basilica of the Assumption of the 12th century, with wonderful frescoes and imposing Venetian bell tower (17th century). Beside the church is an old cafe offering refreshments, coffee, or eating.
5. Anoghi - Vigla - Rachi (Kioni) Length: 4.800 m Difficulty level: medium Proposed hours: early morning, or afternoon From Anoghi, follow the asphalt main road to Stavros, and after about 1 km you will see a cement road to the right, which goes to the little church of Aghia Paraskevi. Before the church, at the right, you will see the red signs. Follow the signs walking on a goat-track at the ridge of Vigla Mountain, until to arrive at the little church of Aghios Nikolaos. In the track, the view of Exogi Mountain, of Stavros, and of the round seas is beautiful. At some points you can see Kioni from above, like in an aerial photograph. After Aghios Nikolaos church the goat-track becomes a small street, which goes down to the Rachi village. You will arrive at a dirt road. Turn on the left to go to the asphalt road, very close to the only little shop of Rachi.
6. Anemodouri - Arethousa Fountain Length: 2.350 m Difficulty level: medium Proposed hours: afternoon Follow the asphalt road south of Vathi, which goes to the Matathia plateau. At a place called Anemodouri there is, on the right, a large blue and white sign pointing to the Arethousa Fountain track, directly on the other side of the road. Follow the red signs to the Homeric Arethousa Fountain. The scenery at the fountain is breath taking. Little metres before the fountain, the left track takes you to the sea, to the beautiful Pera Pigadi beach.
7. Perachori - Paleochora - Nymphs Cave Length: 3.000 m Difficulty level: medium Proposed hours: afternoon Starting-point for this track is the old Panaghia’s church, above the cemetery, at the top of Perachori village. After the church, at the corner of the main street, the old street goes right to Paleochora. Paleochora was the capital (“chora”) of Ithaca Island at the mediaeval years (about 1500). At the first fork, at the entry of a farm, go left (the right path goes to a small church). After about 10 minutes walking, the Aghios Ioannis (Saint John the Theologian) church with the stone bell tower and the beautiful murals welcomes you. The old street is easy and horizontal, but at some points the stone-wall has broken down and you have to be careful. You are at the first bend of Paleochora and the view of Perachori, Vathi, the coves round, also up to the Petaliatiko Mountain, is wonderful. Following the track, you will walk past old houses and ruins. When you reach the second bend of the path in Paleochora, you will see the amazing view of Dexa Cove. You are now in the centre of the mediaeval city. You can see a very old stone threshing-floor and a ruined house. The house is a double storey building and it is large. Perhaps it was the headquarters in Paleochora (the house of the commander). Following the path little downhill, you leave Paleochora. After some minutes you will see a low sheep-pen and a second (newer) threshing-floor. After that, go right and walk on the gentle slope ridge to two small churches (Aghios Andreas and Aghios Nikolaos). Then you arrive at Nymphs Cave (Marmarospilia). A stone path takes you from the Cave to the asphalt road.
This information and photo is from the Cultural and Enviromental Society of North Ithaca "Active Citizens"
"Active Citizens" is a non-profit N.G.O., founded in 2007 in Frikes, North Ithaca. Their purpose is to make known and promote the walking trails of Ithaca, to allow residents and visitors to discover little known areas of the island and its history.
Visit their website for more information about ithaca trails.
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