This is a beautiful coastal walk leading to the steep hill that you can see to the East of Sougia. The walk is on a fairly good path with plenty of shade but it is quite long (4 hours) so going there and back in one day can be very tiring. An easier option is to find go by boat to Tripiti and return on foot to Sougia. Check with Captain George the day before you plan to go to see if you can arrange this.
We will describe the walk from Tripiti back to Sougia but you can follow it in reverse.
If you go by boat you may land in Tripiti in one of two places: if the sea is very still the boat will land you right at the entrance of the Tripiti gorge. If there are any waves, even small ones the boat will have to land a little further east. In this case make your way along the coast to the entrance of the gorge. You have to clamber a little on rocks but will see some markings that you can follow. It takes about 10 minutes to the entrance of the gorge of Tripiti.
You will see two houses, a small chapel and next to it a cistern. Walk past them and straight up the gorge for about 15-20 minutes. The path is marked with cairns. Keep an eye on the slope to your left (west) because at some stage you will have to turn left and walk up a fairly steep scree slope. The turn is marked (but not always visible to the untrained eye) and there is a small path leading up (it is also marked at irregular intervals with E4 poles). If you walk in the gorge for longer than half an hour, you have missed the ascent point and need to turn back and look for it. The zigzag ascent to the saddle is steep and quite tiring but when you reach the top you are rewarded with a beautiful view of the bay of Sougia and the coast stretching towards Agia Roumeli.
Walk past the ruined Venetian fort and head a little further up (south) on a small path. After about 10 minutes you will reach the ancient chapel of the Prophet Elias, 400 meters above the sea and can enjoy the superb view, one of the best on the south coast. There is a cistern by the chapel if you need water but beware, it is not spring water but collected rain water so it may not be that clean.
Return by the same path to the saddle and head down westward (right where the stone column is). The path is visible. You will notice remains of terraces: these are the remains of the ancient town of Pikilassos. Once you reach the shade of the trees the path becomes a little better. You soon get to an unusually large oleander bush. Note that right next to it is a tiny spring. Its output is so small that it may take you 15 minutes or more to fill your bottle but it is the only water until you reach Sougia so make use of it if you are running low. This spring may dry up in summer. Keep going down, trying to follow the path. Some large trees have fallen down in the last years so it is not always easy. Eventually the path levels off and takes a more definite westward direction. Follow it as it snakes along the contours of the mountain. The path never goes down to sea level but keeps going up and down. On the whole it is marked and quite easy to follow. Should you loose it, just retrace your steps and look more carefully.
After about 90 minutes to 2 hours from the saddle where the fort is located the path turns north into a small gorge for about 10 minutes then climbs up in zigzags on an old mule track. Once on top it levels off again and carries on up and down for a good hour. You will notice that there are more and more remnants of cultivation, old terraces and olive trees and eventually you reach a dirt road. You can follow this road all the way to Sougia or you can search for markings which indicate the old path which is more direct. Don’t worry if you miss the markings and need to follow the road, it will only extend your walk by about half an hour and you will eventually get into the river bed which runs east of Sougia and down to the sea.
For those who want to start from Sougia: do not try to find the start of the path along the coast, you would end up having to climb in some loose and dangerous cliffs. The path starts about 300 meters up the river bed and immediately to the left of the only house located on the east side of the river. Follow the markings carefully until you get to the dirt road then walk to the end of it and you will find the continuation of the path easily.
– Take plenty of water with you. On a hot day you might need to drink as much as 3 litres.
– Although there are generally some other walkers on this route, it might not be a bad idea to let someone know where you are going on the day should you hurt yourself or loose your way.
– You will return with the sun shining in your face so don’t forget suncream and sunglasses.