This walk which tackles the highest mountain on Rhodes starts at Embona; a village that is a focal point of this wine making area of Rhodes, also an ideal place for the beginning and end of our walk. We are over on the western side of the island, spreading out from the village there are vineyards, and beyond, large expanses of pine forest.
By getting an early start, it is possible to ascend most of the way on the shady side of the mountain, so by the time the sun catches up with us it is welcome as the height gain gives a coolness to the air.
Leaving the vineyards behind we clamber over an antique style and get on the mountain proper. There’s not much of a path, most of the walking is quite rough underfoot and we follow a blunt ridge feature, gaining height quickly. Short sections of straightforward scrambling and a false summit lead to the top, where we find a mix of old and new. A large, golf ball, radio transceiver side by side with an ancient temple! This temple was built for Zeus by Mycenaean settlers. Legend has it that Althimenes, Minoan founder of the town of Kamiros, used to climb here to view his beloved Crete, which is visible on a clear day. If the sky is clear – which it usually is – you too can enjoy these spectacular views. You can see the other mountains of the island, perhaps getting an insight into the following days walk and see a great expanse of coastline. We have our pack lunch sat amongst the temple stones before continuing.
The initial part of the descent is on an old donkey track, possibly originating as access to the temple, this takes us down to a col. Skirting round the hillside from the col the views are continuous, you can also get a good appreciation for the geology of the mountain. Due to the lack of vegetation, the bands of sedimentary rock that make up the mountain are clear to see. Further on, we pass another mix of old new, admiring the graceful rotation of wind turbines as we pass among scattered remnants of long abandoned dwellings.
Descending along a ridge line we begin to encounter pine trees, initially stunted and twisted, leaving behind the more open vistas of the high mountain area. Picking our way through the pine forest is a lovely change from the rockiness of the mountain and also keeps us out of the sun. A pleasant and steady rate of descent through the trees brings us out on the road. The stomp along this passes quickly as minds turn towards the cold drink that waits at the end.
This is a hard walk, ascending the mountain will take approx 2.5 – 3 hrs depending on individuals walking pace within the group, descending is easier and more rewarding. We plan the walk so the major uphill section takes place on the shady side of the mountain in the morning. Some areas of the route are off the path but this brings you closer to the mountain.
This is a mountain walk and you will require walking boots and walking socks for support and comfort while walking. It is advisable to wear light long sleeve shirts and light trousers in addition to sun hat, sun cream and sun glasses as the sun will be as strong on the mountain as in the valleys but the cool air disguises its effect . You should bring a rucksack, as it will be necessary to carry your lunch, personal items and at least two liters of water; there are no shops on route to buy food and water. A pair of walking poles can be helpful and we have these available to hire or buy if you feel you need them.
There will be two meal stops on this route. Although the route will only take 7 hours, it is relatively strenuous and therefore important to bring sufficient food to keep you going for the day. The best rule of thumb is always to come away from a walk with some food spare.
There will be numerous stops along this route, if you like scenic pictures of Greek Islands surrounded by the blue Mediterranean sea then this route will give you picture opportunities you only see from a plane. There are two breaks, one will be on top of Attaviros and the second will be during our descent, these will be taken on suitable rocks to sit on, there are no seating areas on this route. Our walking leaders know the route well and can usually find good stops with shade and/or good views.