Neos Marmaras - Parthenonas

This long walk visits the very old village of Parthenonas and the walker is given two alternative methods of ascent and descent, depending on one's abilities.

One can ascend by a beautiful but strenuous, route, which visits an old water  mill and dam and then climbs straight up a ridge, through olive groves and forest, to reach  high   forest  tracks leading to the village. Alternatively one can ascend  from  the  Taverna 'Drossiavia  easy  forest roads. The descent can be by route A on the map or by  a steeper, more picturesque route B. Parthenonas dates back to the days of the  pirates  when the inhabitants lived in the hills away   from   such danger.           The village stands at   a   height    of 300m  and  the  difficulty of living  there in modem times caused the whole population to abandon  it in 1970, and move down en-masse into Neo Marmaras, where the living was easier. However since then many of the houses have been renovated, as wealthier people have moved back for the fine views and solitude.

Option A: Strenuous.

Direct ascent, including the visit to an old water mill. The walk starts on the Neos Marmaras    bypass     directly opposite the southern access road into the village, the Porto Carras end. At the start look for the waymarker marking a farm access track directly opposite the southern access to Neos Marmaras. This track descends from the road and continues  in  a  northeasterly direction, for 600m or so, to arrive at a farm, with cattle and pigs. Further on beehives are passed. About  here  we  leave the farm track joining a smaller path to the right, which continues, towards the head of the valley. Soon  a streambed  is crossed and then crossed again as the route bears round towards the south. The path now  follows the left bank of the stream for 200m to arrive at the abandoned mill. Although it only dates back to the 1920's this building is worth investigating. A path to the left of the building leads up  and  behind  it  to  a  large water storage tank. A 160m long  stone  aqueduct,  which can be followed up the valley to the dam and reservoir, feeds this   tank.   To   continue   to Parthenonas   we  retrace  our steps from the mill  for 60m. Here turn right, at a large olive tree, onto a path which climbs the ridge on which the olive grove stands. The route continues upwards for   more   than   a kilometre, negotiating          the stepped levels of the olive grove. As  you  climb  take  time  to enjoy the view of Turtle Island to  the  rear,  the   fine   olive groves to the left and the deep gorge that drops away to your right.   Eventually the   olive grove  is  left  behind  and  the path passes through shrubland and meandering somewhat, but maintrlning its line up the ridge. At the top of aa fium is seen   ahead.   The   path   now swings due north to avoid the farm, and  turns  onto  a farm track. This track travels north­ east through open woodland and across a narrow ridge, with a gorge on both sides. As you cross the ridge  look  for  two large stones at the edge of the track. The path leaves the farm road   here   to   continue its journey to 1he head of the valley. The way now passes through a small canyon, beyond which is a flat piece of ground surrounded by large rocks; a fine place for a coffee break.

The next part of the route exits at the north end of the clearing, descending to the northeast, where a flat bed of rock marks the head of the valley (the bed of a stream in wet weather). Cross here and follow the path which  bears  left  and  rises  to the start of a grassy forest track Drop down onto this track, which follows the hillside round towards the northwest for  a kilometre or so, to arrive at an isolated house.  Soon Parthenonas  can  be  seen ahead as the last 600m of path leads us first down and then up to the  plateau on  which the village stands.


Option B: Easy.

The  start  for  this walk  is the Taverna  Drossia,  which  is on the left as you approach Neos Marmaras     from      the                 north, about 1.5 km from the village. Walk up behind  the  taverna onto a track which rises to the left, through  a small grove of olives,  to meet  another  track. Join this track which  climbs up,  behind   the   houses,   and passes  some   beehives.   Keep left at the junction as the track ascends. Continue on the main track, which meanders up in a northeasterly    direction; keeping to the left at the next two  intersections.  The terrain alternates             between                                 olive groves  and  mixed  woodlands and is particularly  beautiful in Autumn. At the next junction keep   left  through   the  olive grove and continue contouring round the side of a deep valley on  the  right,  to  arrive  at  the next fork  Here take the smaller track  to the  left and  continue on through an olilve grove on a broad, flat plateau  of land for 200m   or  so,  when   the  path begins  to climb  again. At the next junction follow the lower road to the right as the road to the left is just an access road for   a  small  church on  the hillside above. From here one gets  a  good  view  across  the valley  to Parthenonas and one can see how its position, high in the  hills, would dissuade pirates and other marauders from venturing up there. The track continues to ascend to the northeast, then turns right at the head of the valley to ford a stream and travel southeast into Parthenonas, past a row of houses. There are two tavenas in Parthenonas, one at each end of the village. Just over the road from the Village Hall, near a large tree, is a small distillery that (until recently) made Tsipouro the local Greek firewater.

Direct Descent: This steep but safe descent brings one out on the Neos Marmaras road near the start of the strenuous route, described earlier. From the southern end of Parthenonas (in front of  Paul 'sTaverna) follow  the Poseidon signs south, directly down through the olive groves to the stream bed. Here a goat track is followed parallel to the streambed for about 1 km, at which point the path crosses the stream into the woods on the other side, eventually meeting a forest track. The route now undulates on forest tracks through the woods (follow the markers) to arrive at a viewpoint  with   seats and  pagoda.  A narrow track now descends to an olive grove. Follow the path round the perimeter of the olives to eventually arrive at the main road beside the petrol station, only 300m north of the start point.


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