From Stemnitsa we turned onto a road with countless hairpins, dropping into the valley of the Lousios river. At an old bridge over the river our hike into the gorge started. Beside of the fantastic landscape, the monasteries plastered to the walls of the gorge are the main attraction on this hike.
From this bridge our hike started along a historic path connecting the monasteries. Parking: (37.539521, 22.046433) Immediately we came past a tiny church but afterwards the gorge got narrow and we walked through a forest along the river, crossing it a couple of times.
Prodromou monastery dates probably to the 16th century and is considered the largest with over a dozen monks. It doubled as a hospital during the Greek War of Independence. In 1973 it was rebuilt over the remains of an old hermitage.
After descending to the river again, we climbed the other side to reach the monastery of the philosopher – Philosophou. It was first founded in 963 AD by Ioannis Lambardopoulos – philosopher at the court of Emperor Nicephorus Phocas. In the 17th century it moved from inside the gorge to a new location on top of the cliff. The old monastery can still be visited.
For the night, we stayed along the road into the valley, where we had great views and a fantastic sunset. The next day we didn’t leave until after lunch, using our outdoor kitchen the first time this year!
We will now leave the mountains and drive to the coast again – more on our next post!