This circular Route is kind of an introductory hiking activity included in ANTIPAROS ROUTES network and can be done as an afternoon walk as well. It is suitable for people of all ages regardless their physical condition. If you wish to enjoy the sunset, it is recommended to follow the reverse route from the one described below.
After passing the central paved road of Chorio, you will also pass the so-called “katastegi” (a wooden construction that connects two residences at the first-floor level) directing towards Sifneikos Gialos. Following a northward direction to reach Agriokastro point, the path evolves over the homonymous cape. Directing eastwards, you will encounter the sensitive cedar ecosystem and the King Cedar- a tree dated hundreds of years back. You will also come across the coastal dunes’ habitat, and the sand daffodils as well. The northern part of the island used to be full of cedars, hence Antiparos’ ancient name was “Oliaros”, a word of Phoenician origin probably meaning “woody place”.
Along the Route 2, you will come across two wetlands included in the National Catalogue of small, insular wetlands under protection. These wetlands are covered permanently or temporarily by shallow waters (fresh water, brackish or sea water), where the groundwater soil offers the opportunity for aquatic vegetation to thrive. The first wetland you will encounter is called “Pano Psaralyki”, where the sea water is vaporized due to the wind and the heat of the sun. The remaining sea salt can then be collected. The second wetland, named as “Palia Alyki Lagoon”, contains sea water as the flat and sandy beach, along with strong sea currents, offers a direct connection to the sea. February 2nd is the World Wetlands Day and it remind us of both their ecological value and their contribution in life preservation!
Sifneikos Gialos – Vourna Cape
By completing the first kilometer of this Route, you will have reached the northern cape of Antiparos called “Voreina” or “Vourna”, named after its point of direction. It constitutes an isolated shelter for the visitor looking to explore the island. It is recommended to reach the chapel of Stavros, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of Kato Fyra (Diplo) and Pano Fyra (Kavouras) islets. Standing at that point of view, you can perceive the shallow waters connecting them, offering a unique experience of hiking along the in-depth lagoon crossing from one islet to another. Reaching at the end of the Route, it would totally worth your while, as you will have the chance to dive into the crystal clear waters of a beautiful and secluded beach.
Sifneikos Gialos - Livadi
This Route follows the hill ridge where you can enjoy the panoramic view of Chorio and the two wetlands; Pano Psaralyki and Palia Alyki Lagoon. Farmhouses and crops, such as olive groves and vineyards, are standard features of this Route. These farmhouses are called “katoikies” by the local people and conform to vernacular insular architecture. They are made of stone and present characteristic complementary structures of farming lifestyle, such as oven and threshing floor. The island of Antiparos contributes to the rebuilding of viticulture in Cyclades through the preservation of indigenous winemaking vine varieties. During October and November, the production of “tsipouro” (the so-called “souma” by the local people) as well as the prominent “Kazanemata” are considered to be social events. It is important to raise and extend awareness of biodiversity protection towards the field of viticulture, as protection and enhancement of the rural agricultural heritage, constitute major factors of preserving both our natural and cultural heritage!
It is recommended to combine Route 5 with Routes 6 and 6B (overall route duration: 3hr & 15 min). Though it is considered as a trail of Intermediate difficulty level, this integrated route will offer you the unique experience of how people of Antiparos used to travel on foot or by animals!
Profitis Ilias, the highest peak of the island, is just 300m above sea level and exhibits a view of 15 islands. It is therefore considered as the "watchtower" (vigla) of Antiparos. The homonymous chapel was built in 1937 by the inhabitants of the island. Ioannis Patelis’ contribution to this chapel’s construction was really important; he was working at the mines of the region at that time. Being persistent and patient while enjoying the company of his donkey, he contributed to the building of the chapel by carrying materials up to the top.
Kakia Skala - Profitis Ilias
In 19th century, there has been an intense research for ores at the Monastiria area. “Kakia Skala” has been the major mining zone, where the French Company of Lavrion has deployed a systematic operating program for ore exploitation. The excavated ore was the so-called “kalamina”, a mineral ore of zinc (smithsonite). At the wider area of Monastiria-Bougiouka, the main extracted ore was lead. The remnants of the quarry process, such as extracted materials and various structures, prove the intense mining activity of the area. This Route can be considered as a “living laboratory” for mineralogy and petrology, as manganese oxides and iron oxides occur in the surface environment throughout the trail.
Megala Monastiria- Kakia Skala
The Route develops on a dirt road with rough and rocky segments along the trail. Depending on the direction you choose to follow, this route will direct you towards or away from the settlement of Agios Georgios. This settlement began to develop since 1975 by a building cooperative offering a general residential plan and having a vision to create an exemplar "insular" settlement. Across the bay of Agios Georgios, the islands of “Tsimintiri” and “Despotiko” are of significant archaeological importance and they can be reached by boat.
Kakia Skala - Agios Georgios
This Route develops in a pathway full of clusters of coniferous and maquis vegetation. The term “maquis vegetation” is used to describe evergreen broadleaf bushes, which constitute a typical Mediterranean ecosystem. These clusters are created at low and medium altitudes, mainly on a limestone bedrock. In particular, dense clusters of Pistacia Lentiscus (Skinos) and Juniperus phoenicea (Fida) are also encountered. This path was convenient when travelling by mules towards and from Agios Georgios’ settlement through the ridge of Kampia. It is part of the main axis connecting the southern with the northern part of the island, called “Pano Dromos, the mountainous one”.
Profitis Ilias - Agios Georgios (Kampia)
The Cave of Antiparos is closely linked to the history of the island since it was a significant attraction for many visitors since the Great Expeditions (18th - 19th century). During the years of piracy, it was used by the inhabitants as a refuge; hence it is called “katafygi” (refuge), I.e. shelter. All the engraved inscriptions found on the cave’s walls constitute an inexhaustible source of stories, legends and information for its famous – or not - visitors. The cave is well-known for the Europe's oldest stalagmite (45 million years old) as well as its rich lithomatic decoration.
Cave of Antiparos - Apantima
Remnants of the abandoned iron mine are considered to be the main features of this Route, a mine that operated between 1890 and 1910 at this area. The extracted iron ore consisted of hematite, goethite and limonite. Hematite is named after its red colored tinge. It is used as a semi-precious stone, and in industrial processes as well. Goethite is named after the German poet, author and philosopher Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, as Germany boasts an abundance of this mineral. The limonite has a distinctive yellow ocher color. Minerals embrace our everyday life and they are everywhere around us!
The Iron Mines
The southern part of Antiparos consists of volcanic rocks, thus creating extraordinary geological formations. In the bay of Faneromeni, typical forms of cellular disintegration of volcanic rocks, known as “tafoni”, can be founded. “Tafoni” are formed by intense wind and chemical weathering. The most possible mechanism leading to their creation is when water dissolved salts enter the micro cracks of the rock. Water evaporation forms salt crystals that fill the empty spaces and exert tension on the interior of the rocks and therefore a part of the rock is being detached. After years of this mechanism taking place, the formed cavities are getting even larger. Furthermore, this part of Antiparos belongs to Natura 2000 (Europe’s protected Areas Network) entitled "Paros Islets and Southern Antiparos" under code No GR 4220025 (Special Protection Area).