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“Great walking”
Review of Vyros Gorge

Vyros Gorge
Reviewed 15 September 2015

This gorge is surrounded by well waymarked walking routes. It's spectacular without being dangerous. There are some utterly fabulous views and interesting villages and churches. I would advise boots and possibly poles on some of the routes.

1  Thank StuartVine
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 6 October 2014

There's a huge scar runs through the landscape here, falling from high in the mountains, before peetering out on the outskirts of Kardamili. Today we made for Viros Gorge. It's so deep it takes 50 minutes to descend from one side down to a neat white monastery, which doesn't bode well for the the climb out the other side, nor the ascent to a small town higher in the mountains, and another traverse, over the course of 11 or 12 kilometres...

Pints are lost climbing out, following little painted markers, and hairpin turns revealing more upward travel. Breath is short and hot, steps are heavy as t-shirts plaster to chests. Any shade is eagerly anticipated, but never provides quite enough respite once it is reached. Water disappears fast form the pack as further altitude is gained. But all the while the beauty of the place is striking, and the improbability of the path itself and the locations of the small settlements rings out.

We begin by skirting Exo Chorio after leaving the car just outside, but we're quickly onto a narrow, stony path, overgrown to both sides, but all the more interesting for its wild nature. The hills above tower to jutting peaks, the highest a smidgen over 2,400m (Profitis Ilias or Mount Taygetus) looks like a manmade pyramid amongst nature's creation; while sloping steeply below is the gorge, with the bottom out of view, and no sign of a path, or even where you would put one, on the other side. Swallows and Martins taunt us overhead with their lightness of being, as more of the gorge opens up after passing a small, pointed outcrop with a small chapel precariously perched on top.

At the bottom there's a bone dry river bed, for once not just the product of the arid environment, but rather that the source has been diverted into pipes to service the settlements above and below. And here is the small Sotiros monastery, a little courtyard producing shade, and the opportunity to watch tiny lizards skipping about the walls. It would be an idyllic spot but for the steep sides hemming in almost claustrophobically, and storm or melt waters cascading down the gorge before the pipes had been laid must have lead to an increase in prayer meetings.

It's here that the path climbs steeply towards the village of Pedinon, with less shade than on the descent, the path remaining wild, but in a way that makes it feel like it's a stream run-off from the slopes rather than an actual path.

Pedinon and, further up on a mixture of rough asphalt roads and paths between olive groves, Tseria, are villages with commanding views, but always in a mountainous shadow. They are pretty, in the way all these villages are, slightly run down in places, but with perfectly maintained churches (the old Byzantine churches are always more fragile looking) and occasional brand new buildings. The streets are too narrow for most cars (though they always seem to manage somehow) and are cracked and precipitous. There's a peaceful charm to these almost identikit villages, and walking through the streets, following the little painted markers still, you feel your mere footsteps are disturbing the set order. A feeling accentuated whenever you stir up a barking dog from its slumber.

Here and there a pomegranate or fig tree has over-ripened its fruit, which lies scattered then crushed on the ground, drying out into blood-like stains that leave home Scots gardeners that we are, that pray for sun to ripen a greenhoused tomato crop, wondering at the ease and the waste of it here. Some gardens at this height are well-tended and irrigated, flowers blooming, and attracting beautiful yellow swallowtail butterflies.

The worst of the walk is over as we reach our personal summit, joining a restored and maintained kalderimi (an old mule track, which does these routes a disservice as they are remarkable stone constructions) which is described by our guide as the 'jewel in the crown'. The route to the floor of the gorge once more is this time a series of sharp, switchback turns, losing height rapidly and decisively. We're watched from the other side by, as we come closer they become recognisable, a couple of German walkers, part of a group of four we saw at the monastery who, it appears, have followed the valley floor upwards instead of climbing out. Their choice seems more sensible, but at the same time misses out on that journey back down. The pros and cons likely even out.

From here the climb back out of the gorge never hits the magnitude of the first ascent, giving more opportunity to appreciate the ten kilometres or so that you've covered. T-shirts will need to be rung out once we're back on our hotel terrace, but ultimately it has all been worth the effort.

9  Thank anthbike
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 May 2014

The hike offers exceptional views over the mountain, river and and sea.
You need sturdy shoes. The walk is medium difficult.
The tour begins in the mountain village of Tseria, from where you descend 800 m to the upper part of the Viros Gorge. From there you continue on the opposite, southern of the gorge to the villages of Chora and Exochori. Then you return to the gorge to a monastery.
From there, you continue westward, downward to Kardamili or return to the starting point through Pedino.

2  Thank Fane_Babanul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 August 2017 via mobile
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviewed 7 November 2016
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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