Route 17 - Taxiarchis to Vrastama

History Note

The route follows an old smuggling and shepherds track through the Holomondas mountains. The starting point for the walk is the beautiful village square at Taxiarchis.
Here stands a marble monument to a war hero:
loannis Parliaris, Hero of Macedonia, (1903-1913).

Walking Info

This walk between the mountain villages of Taxiarchis and Vrastama starts at a height of 640m above sea level and finishes at 450m, so it is mainly downhill with a few ups and downs along the way.

This walk can be started from either end but the description here is from Porto Sani Village to Siviri. It will be necessary to organise transport for your return, unless you intend to retrace your steps (20km). The walk starts from the car park of Porto Sani Village, just behind the supermarket. Follow the road leading to the beach, past a taverna on your right, where the road turns right towards the marina.
Ignore this turn and carry straight on along the path lined with streetlamps until you reach the beach. Turn left and walk along the beach pass sunbed stations, bars and the water sport building until, after 500m or so, stone steps rise to the left. Climb the steps and walk up the road beyond which curves away to the left. Look for the large blue sign across the grass to your right. This indicates a path going into the woods.

Follow the Poseidon waymarkers. As you climb with a steep tree covered bank to your left, there are fine views down to the sea on your right. In 450m or so the path broadens to a wider track, which reaches a wide dirt road in a further 200m. Cross the road diagonally to find the continuation of the path. This is the start of a beautiful, easy to follow, path, which meanders through the woods, traverses a gorge and takes us along precipitous headlands. Because of the nature of the route caremust be taken, particularly with people, who may suffer from vertigo, very young children and dogs.

After 700m of fine walking and dramatic views the path reaches its highest point on a promontory overlooking the sea. Here there are two bench seats to rest your legs. The next part of the journey starts behind the second seat where a path descends gently in a northeasterly to cross a forest road in about 100m.
Continue straight on across the road as the path descends through woodland where goats, lizards and butterflies are frequently seen. The reason for the curving descent is apparent when you look down to your right into the massive, forested gorge that the path is circumnavigating. Another forest road is crossed and the descent continues until the neck of the gorge is reached. The foliage here is so dense it forms a complete canopy overhead and the atmosphere is cool and humid. The path now swings round through almost 180 degrees to climb up the other side of the gorge, to cross another forest road in 500m.

The route now turns to the southeast as it continues to climb, to reach the top of the hill. Another road is crossed and the path gently descends to the east. Houses can be seen through the open woodland above and to the left, as the path meanders up and down, for half a kilometre and then drops to a precipitous headland, overlooking the sea. The route now follows the cliffs, descending gradually and giving an occasional glimpse through the trees of the SaniCampingBeach ahead.Asmall gorge is skirted, a picnic place near the road is passed, and in 350m the beach is reached. Sani Camping, the half way stage of this route, is 200m along the beach. You now have the option to carry on, return the way you came, or book a taxi back to Sani Beach Holiday Resort.

Sani Camping to Siviri: Continue southwards to the end of the beach and take the track, which starts just beyond the Simantro Hotel (look for the Poseidon marker) and follows the clifftop, as it ascends through the trees. This narrow track gradually ascends in a southeasterly direction for about 500m, providing fine views through the trees of the Aegean Sea, with Mt. Olympus (2917m) visible on a clear day.

The path now turns to the south as it descends in 300m or so to the beach, where a shallow open valley reaches the sea. A 200m stroll along the beach takes us across the valley and into the woods again, where the path ascends the hillside, keeping close to the clifftops. 200m up the slope the main route leaves the clifftop path to descend the face of the cliff. Look for the Poseidon symbol that marks the descent point. This route takes one down into the previously inaccessible lower plateau of fields and woods and is highly recommended. Those walkers who dislike steep descents can continue on the upper path, which eventually joins the forest road. The two routes re-combine above Elani Beach Resort, a holiday centre (see the map).

Descend the cliff face using the steps provided. The path meanders down through virgin forest, giving occasional sea views through the trees, as it twists and turns its way southwards to emerge in a cornfield after 500m. Follow the farm track round the seaward edge of the field and into the wood, where it runs parallel to the beach on the right and the cornfield on the left.
In 500m the end of the cornfield is reached and the track continues through the forest for a further 200m to arrive at a grassy woodland track, leading to the beach. Turn left onto this track which leads eastwards for 100m and then becomes a dirt road as it climbs the hill to arrive at a track junction in a further 100m.

This is the point where the upper alternative route, mentioned earlier, meets the lower route. Turn right onto this track to descend, in 400m, to Elani Beach Resort. At the southern end of the beach is a wall, shaded by trees, ideal for a short rest. From Elani Beach Resort the route leads southwards, back into the woods, and meanders through the woods, following the coast to arrive, in 700m at an open grassy area on the clifftop. Fine views of the coast can be seen from this vantagepoint. In addition there is a stairway down the cliff giving access to the beach, for those who wish to rest a while, or go for a swim.

The path now continues southwards, initially skirting, then re-entering the woodland. The path meanders up and down changing direction frequently as it traverses the contours of this beautifulwoodland. There are many tracks so follow the markers to ensure you keep to the correct route.
After 500m or so the woodland is dotted with clumps of 'Prickly Pear' cactus as the outskirts of Siviri are approached. The track now leaves the woods to join an adjacent dirt road, which takes us the remaining 200m or so into the village.
Make for the seafront to take you past holiday accommodation and a Taverna, where you can slake your thirst. A taxi can be ordered from here back to Sani Beach Holiday Resort if required.