Dear friend

Swap miserable weather and cold temps for sunshine, blue skies and a balmy breeze!

To most, October doesn’t exactly shout ‘holiday time!’. However, this month can be prime time for visiting various destinations where the cold, rain and darkness are swapped for lovely temps, blue skies and a balmy breeze. Head to Greece and enjoy temps between 15 and 25 degrees, providing a sanctuary away from the approaching winter. And as a bonus, they’re less crowded! 

While Travelling out of season you gain a hands-on experience of typical Greek daily life and a feel for the “magic” and “spirit” of our country, its people and its amazing culture.

We recommend two walking holidays this October for those seeking a last minute autumn escape; one in the Peloponnese and one around the islands of the Cyclades… 

Hike the 75km Menalon trail

Ranked among the Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe

The Menalon Trail is a long-distance hiking route which runs from between Stemnitsa and Lagadia, two picturesque mountain villages in Arcadia, on the Peloponnese peninsula. It’s a route which is a lot more off-the-beaten track than a lot of hiking in Greece, and the 75km route is not only mountainous but also full of valleys, canyons, huge natural plateaus and bare peaks. 

Just check out photos from the picturesque villages, lovely stone bridges, monasteries built on cliffs and other sites you will encounter…

You’ll pass the rivers Landos and Lousios, and a high percentage of fir forests and high shrub forests. Keep your eyes on watch for foxes, weasels, hedgehogs, terrapins, bats, shrews and even jackals and wild boars. 

Read the comments of David who joined our self-guided tour of Mainalon last October…

“Despite or maybe because of the rain the hiking in the Peloponnese was really special. I did not have a good sense for what the topography and richly forested landscapes would be like. They were profoundly beautiful and really quite diverse. The deep verdant forests with all sorts of fungi, mosses smells and the beautiful vistas in gorge on the trail to Dimitsana were so rich.

I also liked the villages we visited and stayed. They were each unique and special in their own ways – but all were extraordinarily beautiful. Our hosts and almost all the folks we met along the way could not have been more friendly and helpful. Overall, it was a wonderful trip – better than I imagined it would be and I would certainly recommend it and Nofootprint to friends and family…” David, US, 16 Oct

Ranked among the Leading Quality Trails – Best of Europe, the Menalon Trail, it is one of 14 trails certified by the ERA – the European Ramblers Association. The certification process considers environmental protection and careful maintenance. 

Menalon Trail is not only a path to discover nature, but also a path to the Arcadian history and geography. In each of the sections, Menalon Trail offers you the opportunity to revive your knowledge on history and geography, providing an alternative path to understand the untold human-scale topography. Prepare yourself for unique cultural monuments, scattered ancient fragments, castles, bridges, and sacred monasteries…

An epic experience for those who commit to the full 75 kilometers

The trail is divided into sections of varying difficulty, the Stemnitsa–Dimitsana leg being the most popular. You have the option to participate in a guided 7 day holidayor hike at your own pace by choosing a self-guided option…

Day 1: Arrive in Lagadia and hike 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 hours.
Alternative option: Easy, 10km, actual walking time: 4-5 hrs walking.

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 some great 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 walking (allow 10hrs).
Alternative hike: Easy to Medium, option for 5.6km or 16 km, 2 or 6 hrs walking.

Day 4: 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 hours 

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 hours

Day 5: Rest day at Stemnitsa

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… compose one of the most beautiful villages of Arcadia. Stemnitsa is one of the most beautiful and historical of Arcadia and the Peloponnese, built amphitheatrically on the western slopes of Mainalo, at an altitude of 1100m. It will charm you with its traditional architecture, its archeological Byzantine churches, and its picturesque cobbled streets.

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 leads down into the Lousios valley; on reaching the Church of Metamorfosi Sotiros the path turns in to the wooded Lousios Gorge, and shortly reaches your first, astounding Prodromos monastery clinging impossibly to the cliff face. Enter, and be welcomed by the priests. Onward, over the river, and up to your second monastery, the New Filosofou (after a glance at the Old), quite an oasis after the gorge. The final path leads back down to the river and over, before climbing up towards your destination, hilltop Dimitsana. 

Hike: Easy to moderate, 12 km, 4 hrs walking, actual walking time 5-7 hours.

Day 7: Explore Dimitsana in the morning. Afternoon transfer to Athens.

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!

When to Hike the Menalon Trail

Fall and Spring are the ideal seasons for taking in this wonderful hike. In the fall, the intense sun of summer has given way to moderate temperatures of bracing mornings and sweet afternoons. And the fall leaves glow in shades of gold and red. In the spring, nature in Greece is in full flourish, with bountiful wildflowers and trees in glorious bloom.

Contact us at info@nofootprint.gr or ask to speak to one of our guides so that you can ask any questions you may have…

Trip: Mainalon trail
When: 21-27 October
How long: 6 nights/7 days
February offer for solo travellers: 
 114€
How much: €790 inc single supp instead of 904€

Trip: Mainalon trail
When: 21-27 October
How long: 6 nights/7 days
February offer for solo travellers: 
 114€
How much: €790 inc single supp instead of 904€ 

If you wish to discuss the above or any other matter please don’t hesitate to contact us either by phone at +30 6976 761492 or email at info@nofootprint.gr

We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Nofootprint team

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