Trekking and Trails in Skyros
Skyros is called the island of contrasts as the northwestern part of the island is a quiet, relatively flat and fertile area with rich vegetation and full of pine forests. There lies the second highest peak of the island, "Olympiani" (363 m altitude). On the contrary, the southeastern part of the island is mountainous, rugged and barren with the highest peak being Kohylas (altitude 792 meters). There lives the renowned Skyrian horses. (an ancient tribe of small bodied horses).
Friends and lovers of the mountain, will discover in Skyros a unique natural treasure. Wonderful natural monuments, spectacular landscapes, archaeological sites, chapels, remote settlements, beaches, coves, wetlands, unique fauna and flora, old pastoral paths. Its mild climate offers unique experiences close to nature. Here you can choose from simple walks in idyllic places to gentle climbing.
Climbing to the peaks of Kohylas and Olympian is one of the most exciting experiences one can experience on vacation.
In the framework of the LIFE Skyros Program (LIFE09 NAT / GR / 000323) implemented by the Municipality of Skyros in the period 2010-2015, with the financial support of the European Commission, eight (8) routes with interesting nature elements were marked and mapped. with the aim of highlighting the wealth of the island.
Download the Skyros topoguide app (http://www.topoguide.gr/islands/northern_aegeo/advs_skyros/skyros_hiking.php) for more details.
There are wooden signs at all routes informing you of your route and destination.
Route length: 6 km. Walking hours: 4
Today there are frequent herds of pure and semi-Skyrian horses that drink water form Loutria, a dirt pit with rainwater. The route crosses Daphne Hill, perpendicular to the Ari Plate, continuing uphill to the top of Vouva to reach Maruliko Plate, a well-protected wind grazing area for sheep and goats.
The stony slopes of the route form the habitat of the Podarcis gaigae lizard, endemic to the Skyros archipelago. Route 1 is within the Natura 2000 Network Area "COHYLAS MOUNTAIN" (GR2420006).
Route Lenght: 14 km . Walking Hours: 5 hours and 30 minutes
Small chapels that stand in places of rare beauty are of interest throughout the course. One of them, the Panagia Lympiani, is carved in a cave and founded in marble of an ancient temple dating back to 1798. Their historical, folklore and social value are great.
A parallel trail with a brook at its beginning, when going uphill, passes through pine forests alternating with farms and pastures. A large number of free-range sheep and goats live in this area, and small and scattered sheep are found everywhere.
Legends, traditions and fairy tales refer to areas along this route (springs, Kalikantzaros cave). Noteworthy are the historical monuments we find along our way, such as the old aqueduct "Palioslina" and the frescoed churches.
Route Length: 11 km. Walking Hours: 6 hours and 30 minutes
Kohylas is the habitat of important species, e.g. of Mavropetritis, Smyrnichichlon, Skourovlachos and Skyrian Horse, symbol of the island. In Kohylas are some of the very important biodiversity endemic endangered plants on the Red List of Threatened Species and need special attention from visitors, eg. Aethionema retsina, Campanula merxmuelleri, Scorzonera scyria and Aubrieta scyria.
The vegetation in Kohylas is sparse, low and shrubby (phrygana & low macaque), due to overgrazing, with the dominant species being the wild olive, thyme, sturgeon and lace. Of particular interest is the tree-lined vegetation in the interior of the mountain, in the numerous gorges and creeks, with the most typical species being maples, grasses and foliage.
Route Length: 2 km. Walking Hours: 1 hour and 30 minutes
Ai Ilias (the tall one), as the Skyrians call him to distinguish him from the other homonymous chapels, is located in the central part of the island in the lowland area of Kallikri at an altitude of 294 meters. The site reveals the contrast between the dense pine forest on the north side and the rocky bulk of Kohylas, the "Mountain" as the Skyrians call it. The route starts from Achilli and is very uphill.
The feast of Prophet Elias is on July 20th.
Route Length: 6 km. Walking Hours: 2 hours and 40 minutes
The starting point is Achilles Bay, from where, according to mythology, Achilles left for the Trojan War. The route begins on a steep dirt road with phrygana and ravines full of oleander and wicker. It continues on a hiking trail that runs vertically through the narrow Gaidourorema and ends at the chapel. The rock is covered by a centuries-old and huge ivy and among its branches sprouts the 'Carnation of Saint-Artemius', a small clove with few leaves and a grayish color. Next to the church there is an underground opening with drinking water, the "well" as it is called in Skyros.
Saint Artemios is celebrated on the 20th of October. The most demanding hikers can continue to the summit of Kohylas (788m high) and meet Route 3 that ends in the bay of Kalamitsa.
Route Length: 9 km. Walking Hours: 4 hours
The scenery is imposing with steep cliffs ending in turquoise waters. From April until October, companions on the route to the lighthouse are Mavropetrites, a threatened hawk nesting on steep cliffs. Skyros is home to its largest colony in the world.
The last part of the route is on a steep slope, where the old path is still in good condition and ends at Cape Lithari, where is the stone-built lighthouse called Lithari because it is built on the rocks.
It was built in 1894 and is the only lighthouse in Greece with a two-storey building built on the base of the tower. The old rotary system of its mirrors required "tuning" every fifty minutes. It is not currently monitored and it is equipped with an automatic machine. It has been operating with photovoltaic systems for twenty years.
The lighthouse in 2012 was designated by the Ministry of Tourism and Culture as a monument both for its architectural construction and for the original mechanism of the lighthouse because it is an important technical and scientific testimony to the lighting systems of the lighthouse at the end of the 19th century.
Characteristic vases in this case include a Cypriot-made flask, an Attic Geometric pyxis with ponies worked in the round on the lid and the zoomorphic rhyton (ritual vase) in the form of a horse.
Pottery of the early Helladic period (2.800-1.900 BC) from the city of Skyros, Palamari and elsewhere. The relief Cycladic lid from Papalagoudi, and the Trojan goblet from Palamari are of some importance. The case also contains paint-boxes and obsidian tools.
Pottery of Mycenaean period (1.600-1.100 BC) from various sites on the island: askoi, stirrup jars, alabastra, skyphoi, etc. Two vases, one with a scene of a ship and the other with fishes, are of special interest.
Pottery of the Protogeometric period (11th-9th c. BC) from the cemetery on the coast at Magazia. The skyphoi, pitchers, single-handled tall glasses, fine oinochoai, miniature trefoil pots, and the jewellery, such as the gold leaves and hair-rings, and faience necklaces, are typical of the wealth of this period.
Finds from the Protogeometric and Geometric periods (900-800 BC). The krater with the motif of the wheel (case 4) is of interest, as are the bronze bracelets (case 4), the local coarseware vases (case 5), and the Protogeometric plate no. 353 (case 5).
Protogeometric and Geometric pottery from Magazia and Themi. The annular vase with birds, and the pyxis of Attic-Cycladic type on the bottom shelf (no. 184) are of particular interest.
Mainly Protogeometric pottery from Agia Anna and Magazia: a flask, a gold hair ring and earrings, two puppets, bronze bracelets and a series of fine vases: jugs, wheel-made cups, a hydria etc.
Finds of the Geometric and Archaic periods from recent excavations: Euboean ?made Corinthian aryballoi, Geometric pictures with scenes of horses, superb, richly decorated skyphoi, an electrum (alloy of gold and silver) band, brooches and necklaces, and imported faience vases.
Vases and other objects from the Classical to the Roman period (5th - 1st c. BC): a female statuette of the classical period, a Hellenistic head and a statuette of a child, Hellenistic pottery, a plastic, zoomorphic vase, and the headlees statuette of Cybele.
The following sculptures are of interest: an archaic Kore, grave stele, which was recut on the back in Roman times, a fragment of a head of a core, and a statue, possible of Apollo. In the courtyard are displayed architectural members and the sculptures of various periods, and the Protogeometric and Geometric Sarcophagi. The museum houses the fine folklore collection of L. Kostiri, in memory of Mrs. Kostiris brother, the archaeologist I. Papadimitriou.
Compared to other horses, they have a big belly. Their legs are slim, strong and wiry, with strong joints. The tail is low set, tasseled and long. Often it reaches the hooves, which are small, hard, usually black in colour, and do not need shoeing. A particular characteristic are the hairs on the fetlocks, the so-called feathers. Colour is usually a brown-red or chestnut hue, sometimes white or grey-brown, rarely blond. Some individuals have a white mark on their face (star- or rebas-shaped). The Skyrian horse belongs to the species Equus Cabalusbut because of its small size it is considered a different race designated Equus Cabalus Skyros Ponior Equus Cabalus Skyriano.
You can take a horse ride, either with a Skyrian horse or a regular one, at Mouries Farm https://skyrianhorses.weebly.com/skyros-island.html) or at Appaloosa Horse Riding Club (https://www.facebook.com/appaloosahorseridingclub/) in Trahy. Both of these farms give you a unique experience by taking you for a horse riding to the beach.
The ancient quarry of the famous “stone chippings”, which was famous in the Roman era and of the famous Skyros limestone, occupies the whole Pouria beach of the area, "entering" and into the sea.