Mainalon Trail guided walking holiday

"Hike the 75km Menalon trail ranked among the Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe"



DAY 1: Hike Lagadia to Valtesiniko
Transfer from Athens to Lagadia early in the morning. Your lovely hike starts from Lagadia, widely known as the village of the stone builders. The trail starts from the main square and follows a paved path towards the impressive Rapi Watermills. It continues offering lovely views till the lush valley of Grilas, before descending through light pine woodland.

The second half starts off in a great fir forest, ascends to the open ridge of the byzantine fortress Kastro Valtesinikou, before descending to your final destination, the “stone” village of Valtesiniko.

Hike: Moderate, 15 km, 5 hrs, actual walking time: 7 hrs.
Alternative option: Easy, 10km, actual walking time: 4-5 hrs.
DAY 2: Hike Valtesiniko to Vytina
From Valtesiniko you follow a trail in the forest till you approach the village of Magouliana. After Magouliana you will be rewarded with stunning views towards Vytina before plunging into a fir forest, and the spring of St. Spirida. Out into the open again you reach the Monastery (actually a nunnery) of Panagia Kernitsa nestled on an impressive rock, which is well worth a visit. At the pretty village of Nymfasia you can opt to continue or end your hike and call a taxi to bustling Vytina, with its array of restaurants, attesting to its former glory as a health resort.

Hike: Moderate to difficult because of the distance, 22½ km, 8½ hrs, actual walking time: 10hrs.
Alternative option: Easy to Medium, option for 5.6km or 16 km, actual walking time: 2 or 6 hrs.
DAY 3: Hike Vytina to Elati
A shorter day but with lots of interest. Leaving the main square of tranquil Vytina, the path quickly reaches the Barba stream, crossing it on a wooden bridge, before joining the main Mylaon river, with three consecutive abandoned water mills. Passing the ancient acropolis-topped hill of Methidrion at Elinika, the path wends its way along the stream before climbing to the village of Elati.

Hike: Easy, 8½ km, 3 hrs, actual walking time: 4-5 hrs .
DAY 4: Hike Elati to Zygovitsi
This is the day you cross the massif of the Western Mainalon. From Elati the path leads back down to the river for a gentle warmup, before climbing up through the forest to the plateau of Vlachika. On the way you’ll pass Zoodochos Pigi chapel and Paleochori fountain. After a final steep climb to the col below Pliovouni (1,643m) a gentle descent to the little town of Stemnitsa.

Hike: Moderate, 16 km, 5 hrs, actual walking time: 6-7 hrs.
DAY 5: Rest day at Stemnitsa
Stemnitsa is one of the most beautiful and historical villages of Arcadia and the Peloponnese, built amphitheatrically on the western slopes of Mainalo, at an altitude of 1,100m. It will charm you with its traditional architecture, impressive tower-houses with arched lintels, stone cobbled streets reminiscent of Byzantine “passages”, walnut and cherry tree landscapes, fountains under the shade of old plane trees, a lively square full of cafes and taverns…

The village was an important center of goldsmithing and silversmithing, and “Stemnitsiotes” were famous for their performance in metallurgy, specifically for making the bells of some of the most known churches in the Danube countries. The art of silversmithing is still taught today at the homonymous Technical High School of silversmithing, a tradition that is continued by the silversmith shops and workshops that operate in the town. This promises to be a rewarding day!
DAY 6: Hike Stemnitsa to Dimitsana
Your final day and in many ways the best. This is the most attractive section of the Menalon trail. A majestic path from Stemnitsa zigzags down into the Lousios valley. Upon reaching the Church of Metamorfosi Sotiros the path turns into the wooded Lousios Gorge, and shortly reaches the astounding Prodromos monastery clinging impossibly to the cliff face. Enter and be welcomed by the priests.

Continue along the path that traverses the gorge. Ascend to the Old Philosophou Monastery (dating back to 963) before continuing to the ‘New’ Philosophou Monastery (1691), which resembles quite an oasis after the gorge. The final trail leads you back down to the river and over via the Tzani bridge and reaches the interesting Open-Air Waterpower Museum. Nearby you will find the watermills and gun powder mills that established the fame and wealth of Dimitsana, your final destination.

Hike: Easy to moderate, 12 km, 4 hrs, actual walking time 5-6 hrs.
DAY 7: Explore Dimitsana & departure
Dimitsana is built on the west slopes of Mt. Mainalon, at an altitude of 1,000m, over the Lousios river Gorge. Surrounded by verdant hillsides, Dimitsana dazzles visitors with its stone houses and cobbled narrow streets, the scenic churches and the Open-Air Water Power Museum, but also with its bridges, springs, mills and the natural beauty of River Lousios that flows nearby. Dimitsana flourished from the 17th until the beginning of the 20th century. The main professions of the residents were trade and metallurgy. Its economic prosperity led to its intellectual prosperity with the establishment of the famous Greek School.

Take your time to explore this interesting village before departing for home or your next adventure!


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