Agios Georgios – Elias Bridge – Agios Georgios
Date Last Walked: November 2015
Distance: Approx 17 miles (27 kms)
Duration: 6 hours 45 minutes
Difficulty: Moderate. Although there is a big difference in elevation between Elias Bridge (approx 450m) to Agios Georgios (approx 1000m) most of the ascent is fairly gentle. Plenty of shade on this walk as it winds through forests on deserted tracks. I love this walk. The scenery is beautiful and for most of the walk you will feel like you are the only people for miles around. The distance allows for a challenge without some of the really tough climbs and scrambles encountered on some other walks. Drinking water is available at around 1 hour 45 minutes at the side of the F804, but not after that.
Park the car next to the shrine to Agios Georgios, about 6 km past Foini on the F804 towards Prodromos.
Start the walk here by continuing along the road toward Prodromos, passing the church of Agios Georgios on the right. About 50m along the road, just past the church you will see a track clearly signed up as the E4 and marked ‘Platres 15km’. There are also signposts to ‘Prodromos 10km Trooditissa 6km’.
Ignore any tracks off to the right and left and follow the main, wide earth road which is the E4.
After 30 minutes gentle ascent you will reach a three-way junction with signposts to ‘Prodromos 8km, Trooditissa 5km, Agios Dimitrios 5km’. You leave the E4 at this point and follow the track towards Trooditissa.
Keep to the main track, ignoring any paths or tracks off to the side. Look behind you for views of Platres, with the deserted Berengeria hotel above the village and soon, to your right, views down to Foini. After 55 minutes you will reach another three-way junction. There are signposts (‘Agios Dimitrios 7km’ and ‘Trooditissa 2km’) and a bench. Follow the track towards ‘Foini 4km’.
You will see some small blue signs along this track marking it as a cycle route.
At 1 hour the main route, and cycle route, curves to the left and down. Your path leaves the main walking/cycling route here and dog-legs to the right.
Follow this track as it winds downhill. At 1 hour 12 minutes your track turns sharp left and goes downhill at a hairpin bend – ignore the slightly overgrown track which goes straight on here.
Just a few minutes further on at 1 hour 16 minutes you will pass a sign to another shrine dedicated to Saint George. Stay on the main track as it continues downhill.
At 1 hour 40 minutes you will arrive at the F804.
Turn right onto the F804 towards Prodromos and Agios Dimitrios. Walk along the road for about 15 minutes. You will pass a lay-by on the left where there is drinking water. You may want to pause at the left turn to Agios Anargyroi and enjoy a few moments rest under the enormous oak tree sheltering the roadside shrine. Just after this at 1 hour 55 minutes you leave the F804 to turn left onto the road signposted ‘Gefyri Elias 8km, Kaminaria 12km’.
You will follow this track all the way to Elias bridge. It is a lovely route which passes a number of smallholdings before leading into pine forest. There is plenty of shade through the forest as the track follows the path of the stream to reach the bridge. Look out for signs, especially along the first part of the route, pointing towards Elias (Olive Tree) bridge.
At 2 hours 20 minutes you will reach a junction where the asphalt road turns left towards a house with a wooden statue of a moufflon above its gateway (The moufflon has become increasingly hard to spot as the trees have grown around it!). Leave the asphalt road and follow the earth track to the right as it passes a corrugated metal shed.
Shortly after the track takes a U-turn to the left across a stream you will arrive at a shrine to Agios Zinonus at 2 hours 35 minutes. There is a shelter and a wooden bench – an ideal place to take a breather. Ignore the left hand turn towards Agia Marina and continue along the main track into a pine forest.
The track is easy to follow – ignore all side routes and at 3 hours 15 minutes you will pass a sign on your left to a spring. (Agiasma). The spring is 300m down the track then a further 10m after the end of the track. Walk down to have a look but there is not very much to see – a trickle of water coming from under some rocks and leading down to the stream.
Return to the main track and continue to follow it, still ignoring all side-tracks. At 3 hours 40 minutes you will see a small signpost with a green arrow pointing to the left of the main track. This is set back to the left of the track amongst the pines. Follow this as it leads you onto a footpath which zigzags downhill for 5 minutes, passing a wooden bench and emerging onto the road next to Elias Bridge at 3 hours 45 minutes. (Don’t worry if you miss this footpath. The track will bring you out onto the road near the bridge in a few minutes – just turn left on the road and walk downhill to the bridge)
The bridge is a good place to stop for lunch as long as you choose your spot carefully – we always sit upstream on the rocks to the left of the stream and we often see frogs and occasionally freshwater crabs.
When you are ready to continue, walk back up the road towards Kaminaria. This is, initially, an asphalt road but there is rarely any traffic. It’s a steady climb up towards the village with a steep ravine to your left.
At 4 hours 40 minutes (around half a kilometre before you reach Kaminaria) the E4 trail is clearly signposted up a concrete road to your right. This is your onward route.
Almost immediately you will see a footpath leaving the E4 to the left and indicated by a green arrow. Ignore this and continue along the track. You will follow the main track and the E4 signs all the way back to Agios Georgios. It climbs quite steeply for the first 25 – 30 minutes, but levels off to a more steady ascent after that.
At 5 hours 5 minutes you will arrive at a fork in the track. Take the right hand, lower track to stay on the E4. At the time of writing there was an E4 sign here, so look out for this.
At 5 hours 20 minutes you will reach a wooden bench to the right of the track. Pause to catch your breath, marvel at the ascent you have made and admire the views over the valley below.
At 5 hours 45 minutes you will have a glimpse of the Arminou Reservoir in the distance to your right.
At 6 hours 5 minutes your track will join a slightly wider one coming up from your right. Carry straight on as the two tracks join, continuing around the contours of the mountain. Don’t follow the route downhill that dog-legs to the right.
You will certainly have this lovely, uninhabited valley to yourself and when we walked it in October 2013 we saw a group of three moufflon: two males arguing over a single female. We managed to take this photograph of the winner.
At 6 hours 45 minutes, following the E4 all the way, you will arrive back at the shrine to St George, and your car.
Bird List – November 2015: Blackbird, Chaffinch, Chukar, Coal Tit, Hooded Crow, House Sparrow, Jay, Kestrel, Red-backed Shrike, Robin, Serin, Stonechat, Willow Warbler, Wood Pigeon.