Troulos to Panaghia Kounistra Monastery Circular Walk.
Skiathos has some lovely monasteries and churches scattered all over the island and rather than drive to them you could walk instead.
Panaghia Kounistra Monastery fairly long walk on Skiathos Greece. This is an 18km Skiathos circular walk starting from outside Troulos to the monastery - then some coastal track meandering before walking back across Skiathos
Island to Troulos.
There are some steep climbs on this walk which soon become quite wearing when/if the weather is particularly hot - in fact on the first part of this walk you start at sea level and never really stop climbing until you reach around 300 metres.
the main road junction at Troulos (bus stop 18) walk uphill towards Skiathos Town - around 300 metres from the junction take a track on the left
which hooks back off the main road - this track winds very steeply up. The track goes across a ridge - ignore a track on the right - stay on the main track to
reach a t-junction. Here turn right and continue climbing up this track right into the hills - eventually the track drops a little to another track junction (it's great losing height after all the effort)
Go left and then enjoy a really steep
climb up - you however soon reach another track junction - you need to take the middle track
the small rough track on the right goes up to the fireman's lookout post - this small diversion is worth doing just for the views
and of course you can have a chat with the on-duty fireman too).
Continuing on the walk
- pass a shrine on the right and then arrive at what appears to be a huge plastic sheet covered area and varous conrete
buildings on the left (not sure what this is for but seems to be some sort of re-cycling set-up...??). Carry on along the track trying to ignore this mess and
then arrive at some steps on the right - takes these to walk onto a metal road where you go right to shortly arrive at Panaghia Kounistra Monastery.
ake the steps up to the courtyard of this small but very interesting monastery - there is a covered seating area under the trees but there is no refreshments available
that we could see - just a tap with spring water (there was no sign to say it was drinkable). Back on the tarmac road turn right - this soon reverts to dirt track - follow it
along now getting close to the coast. You get some good views of Meghalos Aselinos beach on the left and a little further on you can walk down to Mikros
Aselinos on a path - this beach has a taverna (at least in July it had..). The track now swings inland - eventually the track descends a little and just after passing a stream and a huge plane tree the track bends sharply left.
There is a marked path right on the bend which will take you up to Aghios Ioannis Krifos - this is a fairly steep climb on a rocky and sometimes stepped path but really worth while - the church is excellent.
Return back to the track and turn right - continue climbing for a while and then the track at last starts to descend and you get views of Kechrias Bay. Cross over another stream bed where there is another huge tree which has a cross on it and a track junction - the dusty
track to Lighares beach leaves on the left. Just by the junction and on the right there is a path (which is marked by a small cairn) - take this as it follows the stream inland - the path continually criss-crosses the stream and for a while the going is fairly reasonable underfoot. However the path eventually gets really
narrow and sometimes becomes indistinct - you find you are walking through and between quite high ferns.
Simply fight your way through basically trying to stay in the
same direction to eventually come out by a gate on the left. The path now becomes a grassy track and winds it's way up to reach a main dirt road - there
is a fir tree in the middle of the junction. Go straight across and continue on the main track and then after about 1km you
start to find houses and civilisation again. There are several tracks around here so keep ahead to reach a 4-way junction (there is a huge plane tree in the middle acting as a roundabout).
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