Distance: 3,1 km one way (6,2 km with return)
Duration: 1,5 h. 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 route: no
There are two main kalderimi (cobbled stone way) 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. Of course, one can walk one way and return by bus (see timetables at http://www.ktelvolou.gr) or taxi. It is advisable to wear long trousers and hiking shoes and also carry a garden cutter if available, because there are still some problems with vegetation (mainly in the Agios Georgios 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 (next to a signpost to ”Hλιαχτίδα”). 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 school of the national hero Rigas Velestinlis in late 18th century (there is a sign ”ΣΧΟΛΕΙΟ ΡΗΓΑ”).
|School of Rigas|
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 sections of cobbled stone into the road. A little further down, as the road takes a downhill right turn (attention) we go left to find the kalderimi that is half covered by soil and barely visible. We pass a small stream and walk on a narrow path following its left bank for a few meters also stepping over a water tube, then a section of kalderimi again, then earth road.
Reaching a junction with two other roads, we take a sharp right turn. Our road soon turns left and at this point (attention), just after the end of the turn, we climb down to the right, noticing the red marks on a concrete ditch. For a few meters the kalderimi is invisible, covered by soil, but then emerges again going downhill on a straight line. There is a wooden fence on the right and then the kalderimi gets completely blocked by brumble. We have to climb to the grove on the right side and walk parallel to the blocked section, just next to it into the grove. After about 40 m., it clears up and we can follow it again.
|Zagora agricultural cooperative site|
Soon our path reaches the site of the agricultural cooperative of Zagora (”Zagorin”). We have to climb down a steep slope to get to the earth road above the site. Here steps should be made to facilitate access to the road. At the corner of the concrete fence we go right, following its course 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 among dense vegetation for a few meters next to the fence to the entrance, 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 concrete road on the other side. As the 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 comfortably on kalderimi.
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 the fence. We finally reach the seaside road of Horefto. There is a parking lot on the left with a fountain and a kiosk 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.
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 cocncrete road next to Aegeus (AΙΓΕΥΣ) hotel, noticing a signpost to ”Zαγορά” (Zagora) at the corner. The road has a stone paved central lane. After five minutes the concrete covering ceases, revealing the kalderimi that was underneath.
We pass by an underground water tank on the left of the kalderimi, which keeps climbing until it joins an earth road at an angle. If we go left here, after 100 m. we shall meet an alternative path that joins the main route further up. Continuing on the main route though, we follow the earth road 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, the road turns right and 150 m.after the turn (attention), noticing the red marks, we go left to 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 just as we do (pay attention to slipping), and finally opens to an earth road next to a horse stable and a hiking 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, dating from 1168 (the oldest church in Zagora), after its total destruction by landslides and fire.
|Metamorphosis church (Sotira) at Zagora|
We enter the church yard, climb the stairs and welcome a fountain on the left, with plentiful cool water. After a few more steps, we join an uphill concrete road that features a centre lane of kalderimi (Voltou str.), that finally opens to the main asphalt of Zagora, at the corner of ”Anasa” hotel. If we walk to the left on the asphalt, in 10 minutes we will reach Agios Georgios square.