Ymittos – Kessariani 29 Oct.

On Saturday 29th October, join the Athens Strollers exploring the lower slopes of Mount Ymittos. Carol and Joe are our walk leaders and the walk starts at 3.00 p.m. The duration of the walk with stops is approximately 2 ½ hours and the walk will go ahead even in light rain. If you need to contact Carol, call 6944240222.

This is a scenic walk rated easy to medium difficulty. We start on a wide forest track which meanders slowly down to Taxiarchon Hill, where we will stop and see the church of St. Marc (known as Francomonastiro) and a Christian Basilica. The path continues down to the Byzantine Monastery of Kessariani. From the monastery, we start our ascent stopping briefly to see the grave of Katy Argiropoulou and a small Byzantine church. The path takes us through a botanical garden before starting to climb back up to the forest track. 

How to get to the start of the walk

From the northern suburbs: get yourself to Messogeion Avenue. Follow Messogeion down, passing the Ministry of Defence (ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΑΜΥΝΑ).At this point, you will see Ethniki Amyna (ΕΘΝΙΚΗ ΑΜΥΝΑ) metro station. When you see the underpass ahead, get into the 2 inside lanes on your right- do not take the underpass. You will see a sign ‘ΘΕΑΤΡΟ Badminton 500 meters’ on your right hand side and then a sign ‘Alimos’ at the traffic lights. Turn left at the traffic lights and you are now on Katehaki avenue and you can see Mount Ymittos ahead. Pass 2 hospitals on the left hand side of the road, then a blue sign for ΘΕΑΤΡΟ Badminton, then the entrance to Attiki Odos (do not get into Attiki Odos). Ignore overhead sign ‘1.5 Km Kessariani’, drive slowly and take the first slip road after Attiki Odos, which is signposted for Kessariani. About 100 meters into the slip road, you reach a T-junction. Turn left here; this road goes under a bridge and takes you up Ymittos (ignore a no entry sign which applies to hours after dark). After about 1000 meters, you pass Kessariani Monastery on your right hand side. Continue for a further 100 meters, to reach a fork. Take the right fork in the road, climbing upwards,and drive on for about 2 km to reach the walk start. You will be passing a cafeteria (Kalopoula) on your left. Continue on the road till you see 2 shrines (προσκυνητάρι) on a bend; the one on the left is pale blue and the one on the right is black and marked Agios Nektarios (Άγιος Νεκτάριος). Just after the shrines, you will see a parking area on your right. We start our walk here. The distance from the Monastery to the walk start is 2.3 km.

From the centre of Athens: Get yourself to Messogeion Avenue. Pass Errikos Dynan (ΕΡΡΙΚΟΣ ΝΤΥΝΑΝ) Hospital, HSBC and Geniki (ΓΕΝΙΚΗ) Banks (all on your left hand side at Ambelokopi). Pass the Ministry of Justice and police school on your right hand side.  Get into the inside lane on your right and just after a BP garage turn right onto Katehaki avenue and you can see Mount Ymittos ahead. Pass 2 hospitals on the left hand side of the road, then a blue sign for ΘΕΑΤΡΟ Badminton, then the entrance to Attiki Odos (do not get into Attiki Odos). Ignore overhead sign ‘1.5 Km Kessariani’, drive slowly and take the first slip road, which is signposted for Kessariani. About 100 meters into the slip road, you reach a T-junction. Turn left here; this road goes under a bridge and takes you up Ymittos (ignore a no entry sign which applies to hours after dark). After about 1000 meters, you pass Kessariani Monastery on your right hand side. Continue for a further 100 meters, to reach a fork. Take the right fork in the road, climbing upwards, and drive on for about 2 km to reach the walk start. You will be passing a cafeteria (Kalopoula) on your left. Continue on the road till you see 2 shrines (προσκυνητάρι) on a bend; the one on the left is pale blue and the one on the right is black and marked Agios Nektarios (Άγιος Νεκτάριος). Just after the shrines, you will see a parking area on your right. We start our walk here. The distance from the Monastery to the walk start is 2.3 km.

From the southern suburbs: Get yourself onto the long Alimos/ Kareas/ Katehaki by pass road and follow it towards Messogeion avenue. Look out for a large green pedestrian bridge. There is a large sign on the bridge, ‘Dimos Byrona’ (ΔΗΜΟΣ ΒΥΡΩΝΑ). At the third set of traffic lights after the bridge turn left. This turn is signposted for Kessariani, Moni Kessarianis, Panepistimioupoli (ΚΑΙΣΣΑΡΙΑΝΗ, ΜΟΝΗ ΚΑΙΣΣΑΡΙΑΝΗΣ, ΠΑΝΕΠΙΣΤΗΜΙΟΥΠΟΛΗ). Go straight down the road until you see a sign to turn right for Kessariani Monastery. Turn right and follow the road up Ymittos (ignore a no entry sign which applies to hours after dark).  After passing Kessariani Monastery on your right hand side, take the right fork in the road 100 meters later, climbing upwards, and drive on for about 2 km to reach the walk start. You will be passing a cafeteria (Kalopoula) on your left. Continue on the road till you see 2 shrines (προσκυνητάρι) on a bend; the one on the left is pale blue and the one on the right is black and marked Agios Nektarios (Άγιος Νεκτάριος). Just after the shines, you will see a parking area on your right. We start our walk here. The distance from the Monastery to the walk start is 2.3 km.

Taverna:  After our walk we will have dinner at ‘Palia Laterna’ Taverna in Holargos (address: ano terma Holargou and No 1 Doiranis street). Leaving the car park area you drive forward, in the opposite direction to Kessariani; follow the road for a few hundred meters and take first left. Follow the road round and down for approximately 2 km, when you come to a Y Junction. Take the left fork heading downwards, shortly passing the exit and entrance to the Attiki Odos (do not get into Attiki Odos). After Attiki Odos, follow to the bottom where you take the second right which is signposted for Agia Paraskevi and Holargos. Follow the road with Ymittos mountain on your right hand side and blocks of flats on your left. Follow to the right at the sign for the airport, still with Ymittos on the right. Pass through 1 set of pedestrian lights and 1 traffic lights. Just after the traffic lights, before the road turns to the right, turn left onto Karaoli and Dimitriou street (Καραολή και Δημητρίου). Follow this street and go straight over at the 3rd stop sign. On the left hand side at the end of this road, you will find the taverna on the corner.

If you prefer, stay close to the walk leaders, and ask to drive along in a convoy, from the walk finish.