Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Zagora-Chorefto

Horefto

Distance: 3,1 km one way (6,2 km with return)
Duration: 1h.15´ total time one way (walking time 1 h one way)
Altitude: from 472 m. (Zagora) to sea level (Horefto)
Signed with red marks and metal signs
Drinking water on walk: no


Download GPS track:   from Wikiloc   from Everytrail

       There are two main kalderimi (cobbled stone path)  routes linking Zagora and Horefto, one starting from Agios Georgios square and another from Metamorphosis (or Sotira) church, so one can use both to make a circular walk. We can also walk one way and return by bus (see timetables at www.ktelvolou.gr) or taxi. It is advisable to wear long trousers and hiking shoes, because vegetation may be overgrown at certain spots, mostly in the southern route, despite efforts to keep the routes clean. 

        Starting from the lower corner of Agios Georgios square in Zagora, opposite to the church, we walk on the asphalt to the right, in a southerly direction. Reaching the post office after 50 m., we turn left downhill on kalderimi, passing next to a renovated mansion, then turn left downhill. The kalderimi opens to the main asphalt, where we turn right and walk for another 30 m. to find again the kalderimi on the left, noticing the red paint marks. Further down it gets covered by concrete and opens out to the asphalt going to Horefto, just above the old building that used to house the Ellinomouseion school where the national hero Rigas Velestinlis teached in late 18th century (there is a sign ''ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟ ΡΗΓΑ''). A little lower is the graveyard and a church.
The church next to Ellinomouseion School

       Walking on the asphalt for another 50 m., we find again the kalderimi on the left. Further down it becomes an earth road. Reaching a T-junction we head left, among apple tree groves.  We can see traces of cobbled stone into the road. At a V-junction we go downhill. A little further down, as the road takes a downhill right turn (attention) we leave it to the left, to find again the kalderimi that is half covered by soil and barely visible. We cross a small stream and walk on a narrow path following its left bank for a few meters (we step over a water tube), then a section of kalderimi again, then earth road.
         Reaching a junction, we take a sharp right turn. Our road soon turns left downhill and at that point (attention), just after the end of the turn, we climb down to the right, noticing the red marks on the bricks. For a few meters the kalderimi is not visible, covered by soil, but then emerges again going downhill on a straight line, between groves. A little further down, there is a wooden fence with a sign on the right. That section used to be completely blocked by brumble in the past, but at present (last checked summer 2014) it is clear again, thanks to the efforts of a few locals who care.
Zagora agricultural cooperative site
          Soon our path reaches the site of the agricultural cooperative of Zagora (''Zagorin''). We have to climb down a steep narrow path to get to the earth road above the site. Here steps should be constructed to facilitate access to the road. At the corner of the fence we go right, following it around the estate. Reaching a large metal door at the fence, we go left to find the kalderimi a few meters down below, heading east on a straight line.
        After a little while, there is a cottage with a stone fence in front of us. We walk down next to the fence, then follow the concrete road and cross the asphalt. There is yet another fence at the left. We cross the asphalt again and walk on a concrete road on the other side. As the concrete road turns left (attention), the course of the kalderimi continues straight ahead. At this point there is a sign ''XΟΡΕΥΤΟ'' and a small metallic side rail to help climbing down.  After a few meters of uneven surface, we walk again nicely on kalderimi. 
Approaching Horefto

        Reaching the asphalt again as it takes a right turn, we go left on a narrow road to find the kalderimi immediately on our right. It opens to a concrete road and then to the asphalt again. In a few meters we take a concrete road on the right leading to a private property entrance, only to find the kalderimi next to its fence. We finally reach the seaside road of Horefto. There is a parking lot on the left with a small drinking water fountain at the corner. On the other side is the fence of Aeolos hotel. Checking the watch, it took us about 1 h.15` to descend from Zagora.
Horefto beach

         Now it`s time to return. Walking on the road to the north (to the left) along the seashore, just before it takes the left turn going to Zagora, we go left next to a market shop and walk on concrete way between houses, thus avoiding the asphalt and cutting the corner. We cross the asphalt and continue climbing steadily on concrete road next to Aegeus (AΙΓΕΥΣ) hotel, noticing a signpost to ''Zαγορά'' (Zagora) at the corner. That road has a stone paved central lane. After five minutes the concrete ends, revealing the kalderimi that was underneath. 
        We pass next to an underground water tank on the left of the kalderimi, which keeps climbing until it joins an earth road at an angle (for information, if we go left here, after 100 m. we shall meet an alternative path that joins the main route further up). We keep on the main route, walk to the right, and in 50 m. go left uphill at a junction. If we look carefully at the road, we shall see some traces of kalderimi. The road keeps climbing with zigzags, then joins another road and we go right. In 50 m. we go left uphill at another junction. Again we see bits of kalderimi as the road passes by a grove on the right, then comes an uphill section of concrete and we reach an irrigation ditch. Here the alternate path joins in from the left. On the right, a wide and clear kalderimi appears and we follow it. Soon it becomes concrete road again, climbing steadily on a straight line. 
Old stone house on the way to Sotira

        We pass by an old derelict stone house, then the road turns right and 150 m. after the turn (attention), noticing the red marks, we go left on a narrow road and immediately right, to a path that soon joins the kalderimi. Further up, it opens out at an earth road on a bend, and continues to the right. Climbing in chestnut forest, the kalderimi suffers from landslides (attention), and finally opens to an earth road next to a horse stable and a hiker signpost. In a few meters we join a wider uphill road, that leads to the church of Metamorphosis, also called Sotira by locals. The present church was built in 1889 to replace the old one, dating from 1168 AD (the oldest church in Zagora), after its total destruction by landslides and fire.
Metamorphosis church  (Sotira) 

        We enter the church yard, climb the stairs and happily reach a drinking water fountain. After quenching our thirst, we climb a few more steps and join an uphill concrete road that features a centre lane of kalderimi, named Voltou street (ΒΟΛΤΟΥ). That finally opens to the main asphalt of Zagora, at the corner of hotel ''Anasa''. If we walk on the asphalt to the left, in 10 minutes we will be back to the main square of Agios Georgios.
Agios Georgios square at Zagora
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