Hionovouni Mountain (south Parnonas)

From the beautiful seaside village of Kyparissi, it is hard to imagine that hidden amongst the surrounding cliffs lies a large fir forest on a mountainside offering a number of lovely hikes. The entirety of Mt. Hionovouni (south Parnonas) comprises a Natura habitat and was once filled with human activities, as evidenced by the many huts and goatfolds and terraced fields, most of them now abandoned. A series of paths, based on the original network, provide an opportunity to enjoy these traces of human endeavour and to enjoy the wonderful landscape. The main route forms part of national hiking path 33 that crosses Hionovouni from the village of Kremasti to Lambokambo. Most of these routes where discovered and established by famous Greek mountaineer Tasos Mitsios.

After careful planning, we established the round route we wanted to follow and with the help of a map, a GPS unit and the well signed paths we initiated our ascent to Mount Hionovouni.

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The first hour is an uphill and one side is the Hionovouni mountain and on the other side is the beautiful seaside. The view is wonderful and you can clearly see the Kyparissi village while you hike.

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Kyparissi Village from Above

Our first break took place in a beautiful half cave area. In order to reach that point we had to climb for a few meters. There we were protected from the sun and we were able to have our first snack and refreshment drinks. Following the route towards the Mpampala plateau, we came across some mules. Those mules are the “cargo” system of the area and they bring supplies to the shepherds that reside during the summer months on the Mpampala plateau.

On Mpampala plateau you can find the little church called Agios Ioannis and also some water dwells. The local shepherds drink this water, though we just used some of the cool water in order to refresh our heads from the heat.

On the Mpampala plateau, there are some interesting “megalithic” stones in various sizes and shapes.

After 4 hours hiking, we have started our descent from the north side of Hionovouni. There, the landscape is getting different. Wonderful pine trees, walnut trees cover the blue sky that is laying above us. The trail path is very well kept, very cleaned and well signed too.

On our way down to Kyparissi, we found a little church called Agia Varvara and there we had our last break. One hour lated on, we have reached the beach of Kyparissi village where we enjoyed the velvety aegean sea.

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Sunset in Kyparissi beach

GENERAL HIONOVOUNI ROUTES
Other routes branch off to villages in the foothills – the three settlements of Kyparissi and Harakas. All the paths can be combined as desired, beginning and ending at different points, depending on hikers’ interests and abilities. In detail there are the following routes/paths a hiker might choose. You can find more details by clicking here. You can also download a detailed map of the area by following this link.

X1 – Kremasti – Lambokambos

A really beautiful route on Mt. Hionovouni’s fir-covered slopes, a region that is part of the Natura network. Starting 4.5 km out of Kremasti on the road to Peleta, at first it follows an unsurfaced road heading southeast for two kilometres to a goatfold; From here a path leads uphill, winding through a forest of firs. After passing through a hollow divided into fields, it climbs a little more to an altitude of about 1,080 m. The path then descends a little; about 1,700 m from the end of the unsurfaced road it crosses the X2 path to Kyparissi by a well. Keep heading southeast as the path rises and falls through successive dips in the hills through old fields. Some 3,200 m later, in another hollow, it meets the X3 path (Harakas – Kyparissi).

Our route follows this for 660 m towards Harakas, then continues slightly to the right beside another goatfold.  Following the stream bed downhill, it crosses a larger streambed then continues uphill to another streambed to a ridge at an altitude of about 1,000m. The landscape here is bare of trees; The path begins to descend a gentle slope through a gorge, leaving an old windmill to the left (east). The path moves away from the gorge as it becomes gradually steeper, continuing to wind downhill with a view towards Xirokambos. It ends at a narrow unsurfaced road 4,050 m from the goatfold on X3. Head west on this road, turning onto a wider one towards the southeast, ignoring smaller roads at junctions, to reach the surfaced road from Lambokambos to Kremasti some 1,330 m later. Turn left for 100 m to the chapel of Aghios Konstantinos and Eleni at the junction of the roads to Harakas, Kremasti and Lambokambos.

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Χ2: KYPARISSI – KREMASTI

A well-known route often used by mountaineering and hiking clubs as well as individual trekkers, it follows the old path linkng the two villages. It starts at a point on the Vrysi – Paralia road (two of  Kyparissi’s three settlements, the third being Mitropolis) just below the Vrysi school next to a large oak tree. At first it follows an unsurfaced road for 1,700 m west to a goatfold, where the old path begins to wind uphill, going north at first then west. Some 2,500 later it reaches the chapel of Aghia Varvara, where it crosses the X5 path (Palaiohora – Aghia Varvara).

The path is quite wide and in many places there are remnants of the old cobblestones. The view over the bay of Kyparissi is stunning. After Aghia Varvara the path enters a fir forest, still heading west. Some 1100 m further on, where it crosses a stream bed, the path meets the X4 route towards Babala. After crossing the stream bed, continue west along the path that keeps winding uphill.

Shortly afterwards is a small ridge (altitude 940 m), where the path turns soutwest to a hut and goat pen at Makria Lakka (after some 1,100). Continuing southwest, the path crosses another stream bed and another old hut and goat pen. Just 1,00 m from Makria Lakka it meets the 33 path next to a well. Follow this path west towards Kremasti, in the opposite direction from the route described for E33-X1. The path emerges on the Kremasti-Peleta road, 4.5 km east of Kremasti.

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Χ3: HARAKAS – KYPARISSI

Created by the local mountaineering club, EOSNAL, this route starts in the middle of the village of Harakas, following the asphalt road towards Lambokambos, then west on a cement-surfaced road next to the church in the village cemetery. Shortly after the school sports grounds it becomes an unsurfaced road, turning northwest. After passing two unsurfaced roads, one to the right and another to the left, 2,800 m later it reaches a goat pen where the road ends.

From here, still moving in a northwesterly direction, a path leads to a fir forest, going up a gentle slope alongside a narrow stream bed. At an altitude of 970 m, on a plateau of terraced fields, it meets the 33 route some 2,200 m from the beginning of the path. It follows the 33, still moving northwest, for about 660 m as far as a large hollow, where it leaves the 33 to turn east. From the edge of the hollow, the path begins a gradual descent, passing a goatherd’s hut and a well, continues alongside a stream bed and 3,150 m after the hollow, crosses an old, wide path leading west (left) to Babala.

The path leads east (right) to the remains of an old cobbled path, passing through a natural gateway between rocks, continues on to the base of tall cliffs.  Continuing to wind downhill, some 3,800 m later it meets the main road to Kyparissi, close to and just above the old mill and chapel of the Panayia just before the settlement of Vrysi. Just 600 m before the end of the route is a short cut on a sharp curve in the road.

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Χ4: BABALA

This route links the X2 (Kyparissi-Kremasti) and the X3 (Harakas Kyparissi), crossing the small plateau of Babala, at one time the site of a settlement that was the focus of  Kyparissi’s livestock and farming industries, comprising a large scattering of huts and the little church of Aghios Ioannis. An uphill path begins a short distance above the old mill and the chapel of the Panayia, near the settlement of Vrysi, following the X3 for some 3,800 m. An alternative starting point is 1,000 m higher up the road on a sharp bend. The route continues on to Babala on a relatively wide path, narrowing as it passes terraced fields up to an altitude of 950m. It then turns downhill past a goatherd’s hut. After a total distance of about 5,060 m it reaches route X2. On the left the path leads to Kremasti, on the right to  Kyparissi.

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Χ5: PALAIOHORA & AGIA VARVARA

A superb route along one of the two old paths leading to the historic site of Palaiohora, which served as a refuge for the residents of Kyparissi during difficult times. It begins on the initial stretches of routes X3 and X4. After a goatherd’s hut, quite close to the starting point, it continues northwest, passing the church of Profiits Ilias and close to the Babola cave. The path begins to climb gradually, in some places crossing flat rocks at the bottom of tall cliffs.

After passing a stream bed the path turns north. At a site known as Reikiona, named after the masses of heather growing there, it meets a path going downhill. This is the final stretch up to Palaiohora, and the ruins of old houses and churches that once formed part of this settlement. A little higher (altitude 940 m), the path then begins a descent through fir trees to the church of Aghia Varvara, where it meets route X2. Tot he left, a path leads to Kremasti, to the right towards Kyparissi.

Χ6: AGHIOS GEORGIOS

The route begins in the settlement of Paralia, heading east. After passing the little beach next to the wharf, it follows a rather wide path behind the village houses, initially heading through a pine forest and then follows the coast for some 1,720 m to the chapel of Aghios Georgios.

Χ7: PILIZA

This isolated route was marked out by the local mountaineering club EOSNAL. It begins on the path next to the chapel of Aghia Paraskevi in Harakas, below the ruined fortress of Palaiohora.  The beginning of the path is cobblestone, supported by well-constructed, high walls. It winds downhill, at first on a gentle slope then more steeply as it descends through a stream bed to the beach of Piliza, first passing through terraced fields. It is a difficult route (dropping 600 m from start to finish) but the lovely beach of Piliza is otherwise only accessible by sea.

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One thought on “Hionovouni Mountain (south Parnonas)

  1. Pingback: Summer Hike in Skiritida Forest, Arcadia – Olympus Mountaineering

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