The Donousa Magic Island Hiking Trip
by xkorov · Published · Updated
Our exciting Donousa hiking trips, with ferry departures from/to Paros (3h) or Peireaus, comprising two or three-day tour combos, with accommodation in double rooms or tents. Unique walking adventures, superb landscapes and amazing waters… Experience pure Donousa magic! (Click on day description below)
Description We arrive around midnight in Donousa and either go to our rooms in the village or walk to Kerdos beach (20 min) to pitch tents to spend the night.
In the morning, after a good breakfast and packing some light lunch, we start out from Stavros village, going past the church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, after which the little capital took its name. Leaving the whitewashed, cube-like village houses behind, we start on an uphill unmarked trail which takes us to the heights of Kapsala hill after approx. 3 km. The path here goes over cliffs and is very craggy in places, so careful footing is required. The terrain difficulty however, is offset by the impression of the rocky, arid but strangely appealing landscape, with only a few juniper and lentisc (mastic) shrubs to obstruct the majestic views to the coastline and the beaches down south and southwest. Especially on top of Vardia hill (386 m), the panoramic views over the cliffs to the N-NE to Kalotaritissa bay and Skoulonisi island and the open sea beyond, are breathtaking.
After the downhill but equally rocky footpath, we find ourselves in Mersini, a small hillside settlement, and continue to the secluded chapel of Aghia Sophia, pausing for a minute to take in the great sea views and the stark beauty of the landscape. Near the chapel, a surprise awaits: A shady, terraced spring under a huge centrury-old plane tree (or sycamore to the Americans), surrounded by green hillside fields and orchards with fig trees, almond trees, plum trees, pear trees, apricot trees and peach trees, as well as peppermint, vines, honeysuckle and rose bushes. After a bite and a break there or at a nearby taverna, we start on the downhill, rocky footpath to Fikio beach below, with its iridescent, turquoise-blue waters that seem to beckon us as we approach.
The wide embrace of Livadhi bay, the next golden-sanded beach we encounter moving coast-to-coast, certainly deserves a pause to marvel at, or swim in, if the weather permits. We continue on a westbound route up on the hill and then down again, to Vathi Limenari cape for a rambling exploration of the ‘out-of-this-world’ rocky landscape where Neolithic settlement remains were discovered. Our next stop is the stone relic of the age-old Lower Windmill (‘Kato Mylos’), with superb views to the open sea below. Continuing on narrow, rugged trail along the rocky coast overlooking small bays and inlets, we find ourselves walking above Kedros, the biggest sandy beach on the island. The turquoise-blue waters and the beach, as well as the tropical-style, low-key beach bar there, definitely merit a short or longer stop.
Depending on our accommodation location and the time of the year, we can either lounge at Kedros and spend the night, or go to Stavros to lounge and enjoy the sunset and come back, or (if we have rooms in Stavros) go to the village for showers and some relaxing before going out to dine in the village.
See route map here. Questions or more info? Ask us!
In a nutshell [The beauty of Donousa southern coast] Countryside/traditional village/sea views, moderate, distance 16km, elevation ±385m, duration 6-7h (walking time).
Description Starting out from Stavros early in the morning, we take a mild uphill course to find ourselves walking on the northern side of Kapsala hill among vineyards and sparse olive trees. As we continue walking E- NE gaining elevation, we see the rocky cape of Aspros Kavos (‘White Cape’) and the flat NE coast unfolding below, as well as sweeping sea views to the N-NW.
Passing by the old stone mines, we make a west detour to go uphill, until we reach the peak of Mt. Papas (385 m), the highest point on the island together with neighboring Vardia hill. There, we take a break to admire the marvelous panoramic views all over the island and over the sea, to Ikaria, Samos and the rest of the Cyclades islands. Then, it is all the way downhill, on a rough shepherd’s footpath at the ridge between Vardia and Papas hills, with beautiful views of the bay below east, until we find ourselves just above the water at Roussa bay, walking towards Kalotaritissa village, surrounded by the stark beauty of the rocky coastal landscapes of the cape and Skoulonissi islet. In summertime, a dip in the emerald waters is more than refreshing!
At Kalotaritissa village, we continue along the coastline to the N-NE, making a round tour of Cape Kalotaritissa for more great views of cliffs and sea, with an optional stop for a dip at sandy Trypiti beach. Back to the village, we stop for a necessary lunch-and-refreshments longer break at Mitsos’s taverna and gather our strength for the return hike of 1.5-2 hours.
Reluctantly at first, we start again on an uphill, rough path, but as we gain elevation, we are spirited by the great cliff views to the north as we walk on the ridge of the hill. After the half-hour hill climb, we encounter a dirt-road which smoothly takes us back to Stavros village just in time for sunset. We lounge at Stavros for a coffee and then go back to our rooms to rest and prepare for an optional bite and drink outing at the village. For Kedros campers, it’s another 20 minutes on paved road to the bay and their tent or the Kedros beach bar.
In a nutshell [Island peaks & the wild west coast] Countryside/traditional village/hill climbing/sea views, demanding, distance 17km, elevation ±385m, duration 6.5-7h (walking time).
Description We begin with coffee & breakfast at the seafront or Kedros and a morning tour of Stavros village with a visit to the church of the Holy Cross. We then have two options for the day: either have another hiking and swimming day visiting the Aspros Kavos area in the northwest and Kedros or Livadhi beach later to enjoy a relaxed swim; or get aboard the ‘Donousa Magissa’ caique for a full-day sea trip around the island (cost not included), to explore a different perspective and island sights accessible only by sea (i.e the cave of ‘Fokospilia’ with its extraordinary landscape and turquoise waters).
Those who opt for an easy hiking adventure, start walking through the village to the northwest until we find ourselves on another shepherd’s trail with views over Cape Aspros Kavos and the mountains. The footpath ends at Ammoudi beach, a small northern beach (swimming option depending on wind direction). With some scrambling on the rocky hillside, we reach the dirt road to Xylobatis on the eastern side of Aspros Kavos. The track becomes a faint trail, which we follow all the way above the Tichou (‘Wall’) cave and the cliffs to the north. We then go on a rocky scramble on the flat, narrow rocky tongue that makes Aspros Kavos (lit. ‘White Cape’ because of the white marble rocks there). We pause for a few minutes at the tip of the cape to take in the wild, beautiful sea views.
On our way back along the western coast, we go along a faint rocky trail, just above sea level. We go by small beaches and wild, rocky coves until we connect with the Stavros village road network. After another break at Stavros for refreshments or replenishing of supplies, we continue on the footpath to Kedros or Livadhi, to experience the landscape views as they unfold in the west-east direction, and enjoy swimming in the amazing turquoise blue water or lounge in the golden sandy beaches. We return in early evening to rest in our rooms or tents and prepare for our departure early on the following day.
In a nutshell [A relaxed day to savor more of Donousa magic] Sea views/traditional village/swimming, easy, distance 10-13km, elevation ±50m, duration 4-5h (walking time).