This is a walk of medium difficulty and high reward, in a forest area on the lower slopes of the Mount Parnitha range. The location is called Agios Merkourios, at Malakasa. Xenophon is leading this walk on Saturday 15 October. We start at 3:00 pm. The walk will take up about 2 ½ hours. The walk takes us on a gentle climb along a wide dirt road for the initial half hour. It then follows a path on rocky surface, which is well marked with red spots on the ground. The path climbs to a hill summit after another half hour. We then descend for 20 minutes; this is followed by another uphill section, to reach a second hill summit (after about 100 minutes from start). From there it is all downhill, for the final 40 minutes. The area has many pine trees and oak trees.
How to get to the walk start:
Leave the Athens – Lamia national road at Varibombi bridge and head (west) towards Varibombi. While you are on the bridge crossing the Athens – Lamia national road, you are invited to zero your odometer. You will encounter several consecutive sharp bends for the first 1 ½ km. The last sharp bend is where you see the (faded) sign “Option Press”. From here on, the road straightens out for the next 2 ½ km. Midway this straight road, you go over the rail line. Bus number 503 comes along this route, departing from Zirinio school in Kifissia and terminating in Varibombi. This 2 ½ km long straight road ends at a T junction. At the T junction, turn right. Then turn left at the second turn on the left, marked for ‘Leonidas’, ‘Thea’, ‘Tzoumerka’ tavernas. This turn is 700 meters from the T junction. Set your odometer again to zero here. After 11.5 km along this single lane tarmac road, you reach a junction where a road goes right, signposted ‘Korakovouni’ and ‘lake Beletsi’ (a green sign). Do not turn right. Immediately ahead there is a blue road sign ‘Malakasa’ and a house on your right hand side, with plenty of parking space in front. Park your car here. The walk starts on the left hand side of this road.
Coming from the Athens – Lamia national road, via Malakasa:
Get to the rail station ‘Sfendali’ in Malakasa. Follow the road towards Agios Merkourios – Katsimidi. No further directions available for this route.
Caution: You need to wear long sleeves and long trousers. There are parts along the trail where the path is quite narrow, due to bushes on either side.
Google Maps: Here is a map for those coming from the south along the Athens-Lamia National Road, which gets you to the Varibombi junction (point B), then to the T-junction (point D) and then to the left turn for the tavernas (point E). https://tinyurl.com/35nsy7r
Here is a map for those coming from the junction between Kifissias avenue and Charilaou Trikoupi street in Nea Erythrea, that gets you to the Varibombi junction (between points C and D), then to the T-junction (point E) and then to the left turn for the tavernas (point F). https://tinyurl.com/2wfgj64
The taverna: After the walk we will have a meal at the ‘Lambros’ taverna in Katsimidi (2106220226). You will find the taverna on your return from the walk finish, driving towards Tatoi. It is situated 3.3 km from the walk finish, so zero your odometer as you get back in your car. The taverna is on your left hand side, at a junction where a road turns left for ‘Ippokratios politeia’. Said differently, you will have passed the taverna as you were driving to the walk start via Tatoi. It is on your right, 8.3 km from the left turn where you zero’d.