Gentle walk through the trees below Syvros to an ancient temple that has been converted into a Christian monastery. A perfect evening walk – or take a picnic and spend the whole day. You can still see stones and columns of the ancient Doric temple of >Dimitra, the goddess of agriculture and fertility. It was converted to a monastery in about 1650. It is still believed to be a good place for a couple wanting a child to visit and pray. Nice too, even if not currently desiring such a happy event. The lush valley is an ideal spot for a temple to agriculture and fertility.
The path is marked to “Agios Ioannis” along much of the route. The last part is a little indistinct and we recommend downloading the GPX file of the route and following it on your phone or GPS device.
Start from the pretty town square in the middle of Syvros. There are two or three tavernas to take refreshment. With your back to the square facing the old schoolhouse go left down the road. Immediately after the first corner take the track/narrow road going left, followed immediately by a second left turn.
Follow the track generally straight ahead until forking left on a path. There are red streamers tied to branches along some of the route, but it is best to follow these turns on a map or GPS. The path goes through trees and olive groves and climbs up to meet a road. Go right and then take the first track off right again (signposted “Springs Pathway”. Drop down a short slope and then turn left towards the Kanali spring. You pass the path marker to “Agios Ioannis”.
Keep half-right past the spring and take the track as it starts to descend down the side of the valley through the trees.
After 2.5km you reach a narrow road – turn right and then immediately right along another track. The track goes around a low hill through olive groves. After about 500m a path goes off right straight up the hill (following with a map or GPS phone really helps here). Take the path as it climbs between trees and bushes to the top of the hill.
At the top of the hill is a clearing with the monastery grounds and a small parking area. Take a wander around the site. You will see the round columns of the ancient temple, and also see stones in the wall of the church that were once part of the old temple. It is also a good place to sit and picnic. The tradition is that couples praying inside the church may hear footsteps outside indicating that a child is due.
Retrace your steps back to Syvros, or arrange for a taxi or friend to pick you up. An alternative is to walk down the quiet road to Kondarena and the main Vasiliki-Nidri road where there are buses.
A huge thanks to the Antelikos Sivros Cultural Club, especially Vasilis Deftereos who inspired this trail. They marked this trail and regularly take groups on it giving a fascinating description of the temple, wildlife and fauna. Take a look in their small museum too if you get the chance (in the old schoolhouse at the start of this trail). You can also learn Greek dancing at their weekly evening session.