Documented walks around the Greek island of Rhodes

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Archangelos to Haraki Coast Walk

stone arch

A 7.5 mile walk along the Rhodes coast from Archangelos to Haraki

A walk of discovery along the rocky coastline to Haraki. The spectacular views along this section can only be discovered by either walking or from a boat and include the magnificent rock arch that juts out into the sea. A large section of this route needs to be navigated by following cairns and red and blue markers that are painted in the rocks.

Archangelos to Haraki Walk - Essential Information

Walk Statistics:

Start point
Archangelos View in Google Map
End Point
Haraki View in Google Map
Total Walk distance
8.0 km (5 miles)
Walk difficulty
A lot of rocky terrain

Maps:

The following maps and services can assist in navigating this route. The links include published hard copy as well as online plots and downloadable GPX route data for importing into navigational software and apps.

Online OpenStreetMap Route
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Online Google Route
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ViewRanger App Route
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GPX data for route (download)

Transport:

Details of public transport that is required for the walk

Rhodes Public Transport - bus Service
Service Number
Pefkos to Rhodes Town - Rhodes Public bus service from Pefkos to Rhodes town. Stops at turns for Archangelos and Haraki
Timetable

Walk Data

Date of Walk
2015-10-05
Walk Time
10:30 to 15:30
Walkers
Griffmonster, Kat
Weather Conditions
Warm sunny day with clear blue skies

Walk Notes

As ever with Rhodes walks it is never a simple job to find routes and several occasions along the route a little doubt was instilled as to whether the correct path had been chosen. The guide book used as a reference was Walking on Rhodes which was published in 2011 and therefore the description of having to follow red painted markers gave a little apprehension about whether such markers would still be there. Despite such qualms the enticement of the rugged coastline was enough to encourage an exploration. After all, if things did not work out we could always retrace our steps back to Archangelos.

Archangelos is on the main bus route between Rhodes and the southern island towns of Lindos and Pefkos. There are plenty of buses, some of which pass through the town and others which pass along the main road on the western edge of town. It was one of these main road buses that was caught on this occasion and the driver was helpful enough to inform of the bus stop needed. The stop is by a series of shops with a road down the side which leads through to the town centre. This road emerges by the river bridge from where the main walk starts. There are plenty of tavernas and cafes in Archangelos and it is worth taking time out to grab a drink and bite to eat before setting off on such an adventure, and of course, making sure ones rucksack has enough bottles of water for the days exertions.

Once out of Archeangelos the track leads through some open country before heading down toward the coast. It was this initial stage that some doubts about the route surfaced. The dusty track heads across a pretty barren landscape. Scrub. Rocks. Olive trees. Not much else. Other tracks meander off but the main track heads onward. Wafts of scented herbs drift through the air. Intoxicating thyme. A mountain of a hill overshadows the views to the right and atop of this is crumbling ruins of the Castle of St John. Its inviting structures gave thoughts of another exploration on another day for another time. The track continues on and the Kompass map of Rhodes is never detailed enough to know exactly where one is. At the very least if this was the wrong route then we could probably get down to Stegna on the coast and return to try again another time.

A building appeared on the side of the road, in the middle of all this scrub and olive trees. The guide book did state that an encounter with a chapel would be made on route. A chapel? But this was no bigger then a garden shed. In fact my own garden shed is probably bigger. As with most buildings on Rhodes, its was whitewashed. A pitched tiled roof. A door that took up all of the buildings width. Not even an ornate door but a door that would suffice as a kitchen door to a council house in England. Above the door it states 'ΑΓΙΟΣ ΜΟΔΕΣΤΟΣ' which translates to 'SAINT MODESTOS', a Saint who was the Patriarch of Jerusalem in the 6th century. This humble building hides behind a locked metal gate. A small stone wall sits around it, topped with a tall metal fence. It had to be a chapel mentioned in the guide book. Maybe.

Confidence was fully restored further down the road when a second chapel presented itself. This was without a doubt a chapel, sitting proudly in the wilderness with whitewashed arches and a bell in the uppermost arch. Surrounding it was lush greenery, trees and bushes, making a contrast to the arid and dusty surroundings. A locked metal gate prevented access to its sacred ground but a whitewashed wall outside held a tap and a water trough for the humble traveller. A place where any passer by could dip their cap into the trough to retrieve a capful of water and place it on their head. Cool clear water on a hot and dusty day. And on the correct route to Haraki!

The track now descends with coastal views and a junction at the bottom. To the left it appears to descend down toward the coastal village of Stegna and to the right it heads into the rocky coastline. The route is uncertain again. To take the main track or the sandy and gravelly tracks that meander to the side. In this instance we needed to head on a gravelly old track which twisted downward eventually meeting a big boulder as mentioned in the guide book, where a caption painted in white states 'AVIOS AVTOVIOS' which is probably Greek, at a guess it being 'ΑΓΙΟΣ ΑνΤΟνΙΟΣ' which is another Saint and fits into the fact that this leads to another chapel. SAINT ANTONIOS? No matter where one goes on Rhodes, no matter how remote, no matter how inaccessible there always lurks a chapel. This one marked the end of the track. Beyond this we were on our own. This is where we needed some navigational guidance and the first stone cairn was something of a reassurance that the route ahead would be marked. It is a duty of a walker to place another stone on top so that they do not decay and are there for the next confused walker. Keep the cairn alive. A blue dot was painted on a lower stone of the cairn. Maybe the red paint had ran out.

The going became more challenging, climbing over boulders and negotiating a way around rocky outcrops but all the time there was another cairn ahead to follow, another blue dot of paint and even some old faded red dots of paint. And the views were stunning. The effort, the exertions were all the worthwhile for the beauty of this coast. The crowning glory was the rocky stone arch that jutted out into the azure depths. A thousand photos capture this sight in guidebooks and web pages but nothing captures the true glory of seeing it for real. This is something to stand and admire.

The path becomes easier as it heads away from the coastline and onto toward a track. The cairns disappear and it appears to be obvious that the route follows the dusty track that veers through an olive grove and onto a tarmaced road. But it soon became apparent that the direction of the tarmaced road was incorrect and necessitated a meander across the scrub back onto a sandy track heading in the direction of Agathi beach. Having since looked at google maps of the area it appears that the track was completely incorrect and we should have proceeded in the opposite direction beyond this track, over the hill. What ever. The mistake was corrected. If in doubt, head toward the beach.

The next cairn encountered was on the track down down to the beach. This was behind a black metal fence, barring vehicular access to the track but there was enough room at either side for a walker to pass by. It was with some amount of glorious achievement that we set off down this track that zig-zagged to the beach where beach bars beconed with a long cold pint of beer. However, after trekking down to the bottom of the track, another metal fence is sealed up to the cliff face making it near impossible to get onto the beach. The fences appear to be a recent addition but it is unknown why they have been installed. The beach was but a yard away but without rock climbing skills, it could have been a million miles away. After some thought, it was decided to retrace our steps to the top of the cliff, then follow the cliff around toward the dunes that are behind the beach. A fence looks as if it bars the way along the cliff edge but this has been broken down and is easy to pass through and allows access to the steep dunes where it is possible to slide down the sand onto the beach. That long cold beet was a suitable reward for the efforts.

The final stage is a short walk around from Agathi beach to Haraki. This is an easy amble following the road out of the beach and then a path through some pine trees and across the scrub into Haraki with all its sea front bars and shops. There are plenty of places for another drink and some lunch but it is worth going a further few yards around to Tommy's Taverna which is less crowded and the owners and locals have the time and inclination to chat with their customers. Food. Beer Conversation. That is what it is all about.

In conclusion this is a cracking walk. It offers challenges but gives back so much to those who dare to pursue it. Definitely marked as one of my favourites.

Agathi beach
Agathi beach

Directions

The route follows tracks to the coast from where navigational cairns need to be used to continue to Agathi beach. There road and tracks to Haraki and then a back road out to the main east coast highway.

Take the road down the side of the shop on the main road on the western edge of Archangelos. Keep following this until it emerges at the centre of town by the river bridge. Continue along the road signposted for Stegna, beside the river. The road soon diverges in a y-junction. Take the right junction up the hill. This curves around to the right and then straightens with a junction at the end. Turn left and follow this track out of town. Keep to the main track and ignore all other tracks, keeping to the main way ahead. At one point there is a side track that veers off on the left and the main track curves down to the right, keep to the right. The landscape is arid with olive groves and scrub and a backdrop of rocky hills to the right. A small chapel is passed on the left which is no bigger than a garden shed. Soon the coast comes into view and a larger chapel is seen ahead which the track curves around to the left of the building.

The path now descends down and meets a junction of tracks at the bottom. Turn right and after 200 yards take the sandy track on the left. Do not continue along the main track. The sandy track zig-zags and then continues down with a series of hairpin bends. At one hairpin is a large boulder marked with large white painted lettering 'AVIOS AVTOVIOS' with an arrow above and below it. Take the path straight ahead around the boulder which then leads down to a house and a chapel. Pass by these buildings and the track deteriorates down to a path which leads onto the rocky boulder strewn cliff sides. From here cairns mark the way with blue and red dots marked on other stones and boulders. This is a case of picking these navigation aids out then moving onto the next one. On the left there is the cliff face down to the sea. On the right cliffs rise upward and the path continues on the broad ledge between. At the point where the path comes close to the cliff edge, keep to the markers on the right hand side which lead over a rocky outcrop and keeps one away from any danger of the cliff edge.

At one point there is a boulder on the cliff side with a white cross standing atop of it. Further on there is a stone arch standing out into the sea which is only visible by looking back. The path then passes what looks like an area where quarrying once took place with the stone distinctively different to the surrounding cliffs and boulders. From here the path heads up and over a rocky outcrop.

Eventually the path meets up with a track. It was a little uncertain as to the route here. The path taken on this occasion went to the right, and curved around through an olive grove and then keeping to the sandy tracks on the left. In retrospect it is thought a route can also be found by keeping straight ahead and following a path across the hill which meets up with the track around the hill.

Eventually the route meets with a track that zig-zags down the beach. A black metal fence bars the way but a gap at its end allows walkers through. Ignore this, even though a cairn is placed the other side of the fence. This appears to have been a recent development to block the path up and although access can be gained at the top, there is no access to the beach at the bottom, where the track is sealed up against the cliff face. Therefore continue around the cliff top toward the dunes behind the beach. There is a fence that ends at the cliff top but this is easy to pass through due its bad state of repair and this allows access to the dunes and the beach. The other alternative is to take the track away from this path and around the beach area. This is also indicated on the guide book updates page.

Beyond Agathi beach continue on the road on the far side and follow this as it curves around the rocky hill that Feraklos fortress sits atop. The road then curves around to the left where there is a copse of pine trees on the left and amid this a path leads down and across the scrub to Haraki village. Turn right at the adjoining road and follow the buildings around until there is a pedestrianised area which leads onto the beach-front around the cove. Continue around the cove and then out beyond. The road then junctions in front of Tommy's Taverna. Take the left and follow this road for a few hundred yards alongside the beach. It turns a sharp right between a couple of old buildings, then winds its way to the main road. The junction with the main road is a roundabout with a bus stops on the left on either side of the road.

Feraklos Castletommys Taverna
On the left Feraklos Castle; On the right tommys Taverna

Tavernas

Bottoms Up, Agathi Beach View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
Bottoms Up, Agathi Beach

Beach bar on Agathi Beach

Review

A long cold satisfying beer, a perfect reward for a good walk

Tommy's Taverna, Haraki View in Google Map

Image of pub
Address
Tommy's Taverna, Haraki

Small Taverna on the southern edge of Haraki offering traditional Greek cuisine and drinks.

Review

Always a pleasant welcome at Tommy's Taverna and far from the maddening crowds

St Georges Chapel
St Georges Chapel

Features

Feraklos CastleView in Google Map

Sitting atop a monolithic rocky hill are the ruins of Feraklos Castle. The sight has an imposing feel about it, dominating the surrounding area but unfortunately the ruins are in a bad state of repair, being no more than the perimeter walls and overgrown with weeds and scrub.

This was originally a fortification used by Arab pirates until the 1300's when the Knights of St John established a stronghold, adding to the fortifications and converting many of its rooms into prison cells which were used to house prisoners of war as well as those caught for illicit business practices on the island.

The fort repressed attacks from the Ottoman Turks until 1523 when a concerted effort by Suleiman the Magnificent resulted in the castle being seized and its residents hanged. From this point the castle became unoccupied and has been left to decay to the elements ever since.

There is access to the castle but the steps that lead to the top are slippery and dangerous and certainly not for the feint-hearted.

Boulder with a cross
Boulder with a cross

Gallery

Below are a selection of images taken from from the photo album for this walk. Feel free to browse through these or click on an image to view a larger version in the Gallery.

Summary of Document Changes

Last Updated: 2017-12-02

Location: Archangelos 851 02, Greece

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