Thursday, November 3, 2022

Platanias-Lafkos (circular)



Distance: 13,6 km

Time: 4 hours walking time, 5 hours with stops

Altitude: from 0 m. (Platanias) to 303 m. (Lafkos square) to 385 m. (max)

Total elevation gain/loss:  623 m.

Signing: red paint, round yellow signs

Drinking water on walk: Lafkos

Start/finish: Platanias beach

Last checked: 13/11/2022

Download GPS file: from Wikiloc

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>>       This circular route combines the two existing routes between the two villages, climbing from Platanias to Lafkos on the main kalderimi via Agios Nikolaos chapel and coming back by the western route, that passes by the Lafkos cemetery and the chapel of Epano (Upper) Ai Giannis. It is better to start from Platanias, in order to have most of the uphill sections at the beginning of the walk. At the tourist beach of Platanias, which is also served by bus service (www.ktelvolou.gr), and in Lafkos of course, there are restaurants and guest houses that operate all year round. 


        Starting from the seaside of Platanias, we first walk through the wide bed of Chalorema stream. At the basketball court we turn left and walk on a dirt road that goes uphill to the west, with a small stream on our left. Further up we reach an intersection, where we go right heading north.

        A little further on, the road makes an S and we pass by a stone hut. Just a few meters after the hut we go diagonally to the right, on a path that enters an olive grove. Observing the signs, we cross the olive grove, and continue on a path that soon descends to cross the small stream of Poros. The path shows sections of cobblestone (kalderimi) climbs with turns and then we join at an angle a dirt road, which climbs straight ahead to the small church of Agios Nikolaos. In this peaceful and shady place, we will definitely make a stop. 

Agios Nikolaos chapel

      After the chapel, we pass a house and then the road forks to the left. The path normally continued straight ahead through the olive grove, but it is unclear and we prefer to go uphill on the road. We reach an intersection, where we find again the path that goes up between the two roads. This part, like other parts of the route, was previously closed by vegetation and was cleared in the winter of 2011 thanks to the efforts of the Friends of the Kalderimi of South Pelion and the Volos Alpine Club.

       Further up we get back on the road to the left and after a hundred meters, paying attention to the red signs on the right, we find the path that goes up again. We pass by a water tank, which we leave on our right, and enter the asphalt road that comes from Mikro beach. A wide dirt road (going to be asphalted) leads to the right towards the monastery of Agios Spyridon.

     Here normally the path continued straight ahead northwest, on the left boundary of the estate in front of us. But it is blocked by vegetation and fenced, so we walk down on the road making a smooth curve around the estate. Further on, where the road turns left, we go straight uphill on the wide path. Soon we meet the road again and cross it at an angle, continuing northwest on a narrow kalderimi. Here is the highest point of our route (385 meters) and we can see in front of us the village of Lafkos and the sea of Pagasitic gulf.

Approaching Lafkos

        The kalderimi joins the main asphalt Lafkos-Promyri below the electricity substation, and we follow the asphalt until the intersection. Here we go straight uphill on a paved road for a few meters and immediately to the right. We are already inside the village of Lafkos and we follow the stone paved street that leads to the square. It took us about 2h 15' to get here (walking time 1.50') covering a distance of 6.2 kilometers. 

Lafkos square in winter

     After resting and having a coffee or refreshment in the picturesque square of Lafkos (next to the church there is the museum of paintings by the remarkable painter Thanasis Fabas, which is definitely worth a visit if it is open), we follow the central kalderimi back (to the south). At a signed V-junction we take the right branch. Further down we cross the asphalt and continue opposite, reaching the cemetery of Lafkos.

Going down from the Lafkos cemetery

    A dirt road continues to the right of the cemetery, and we follow it. As we descend, we enjoy wonderful views of Pagasitic sea, with the islet of Alatas in the foreground. If we pay attention, we will also see some remnants of cobblestone in the earth road. Further down, as the road makes a smooth left turn, we continue straight ahead downhill, finding the kalderimi. This brings us to the chapel of Agios Ioannis Theologos, called "Epano Ai Giannis" and nicknamed "Sti Sara", from the loose stones in the bed of the stream. Below the chapel passes the route that comes from Milina- Pighes on a dirt road (Milina-Platanias and Milina-Chondri Ammos-Valtoudi routes). 

Epano Ai Giannis chapel

       After a stop to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the landscape, we follow the dirt road now to the left (southeast), ignore another road that goes uphill and shortly we reach the bed of the stream called Koumani stream or Koumanorema (in previous editions of the Anavasi map it is referred wrongly as Ammorema), at a point where it is joined by a smaller stream on the left.

Walking next to Koumani stream

       Here, the road crosses the main stream to the right (heading to Chondri Ammos ). Another road, which we follow, goes uphill to the left. We keep following the earth road climbing constantly. At junctions we meet, we take the most steep climbing branch.  The section of the original path-kalderimi on the left of the road is blocked by stones fallen during the construction of the road. Climbing up, we pass by a grove with chestnut trees, and higher up we join at an angle another road. We go left (east) and after fifty meters we leave the road  to the right, seeing the signpost. Here we descend gently towards a small stream walking on a narrow goat path. 

Walking on goat tracks

         After crossing the stream, the path climbs smoothly on the opposite slope, makes a curve and crosses a second small stream in the same way. We climb smoothly again and on the ridge we meet a narrow abandoned farm road, which we follow uphill. Eventually, we come out onto the asphalt that leads to Mikro beach. We walk on the asphalt for fifty meters downhill and, as it turns right, we leave it and go straight ahead. In front of us is a small plateau with two concrete pillars on the right.

      We walk on the plateau straight ahead in an easterly direction and immediately, seeing the signpost, we find the path with the red marks, descending smoothly. A little further down, observing the signs, we turn right onto a narrow path and begin to descend diagonally down the slope towards a shallow ravine. After crossing it, we continue uphill walking in goat tracks and come to a dirt road, which runs parallel to the ravine. Here is an intersection with another dirt road that goes uphill, and we follow it through an olive grove. At another intersection a little further on we go straight ahead.

Seeing the Aegean sea

          On the ridge there is on our right an abandoned quarry and we now can see the Aegean sea in front of us. The road turns right, but we continue straight ahead downhill to the border of a grove and in thirty meters we find the continuity of the path on our left, descending between low scrubby vegetation. Lower down, we join the road again, which keeps descending making a right turn and we follow it for about a hundred meters.

      As we reach a small plateau that we see in front of us, we turn left and leave the road (attention to the signs) descending on a narrow path, which in a few meters comes at the upper limit of an olive grove. We descend into this olive grove with zig-zags (the path here is unclear), next to the vegetation that serves as a border of the neighboring grove. Alternatively, we may prefer to climb down less steeply, following a narrow  earth road that was recently constructed  in the adjacent grove.

Approaching Platanias

        Soon we come down on the same dirt road, on which we walked at the beginning of our route. We reach the intersection where we go left and go downhill with the stream next to us on the right. The road finally ends at the bed of the large stream (Chalorema), next to the basketball court. Following the stream, we soon reach the picturesque beach of Platanias.

At Platanias harbour


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