A stone’s throw from Nea Ionia, just 3 km northwest is located the village Fytoko. From Fytoko we descend into the formed by the stream Kaliakouda gorge, where in its deepest point there is a picturesque arched stone bridge. We keep walking to the north for 6.5 km, where we find the church of Panagia Lestianis. Keep in mind that just before the church, on the right there is a path that leads within 10 minutes to a three-arched stone bridge. In 3.5 km we find the monastery of Sourvia, which during the Ottoman Empire, along with the monastery of Flamouri, were the biggest ones in the area. The monastery was build during the first half of 16th century by Saint Dionysios of Olympus and was renovated in 18th century by Saint Gerasimos. It is of fortress architecture, has remarcable frescoes and has been used as a base during the Greek Revolution. And this is where our little adventure ends, to follow the same route back.
First, to go to Ano Kerassia, you drive northwest of Volos towards the village of Glafira, and then you move on northeast towards Ano Kerassia. From Ano Kerassia onwards there is a 30km route of great beauty. It is worth mentioning that both villages are of historical importance, since they were burnt down by the Germans in 1944. We start moving northeast towards the Flamourio monastery and when, after 2km, we come to a crossroads we turn right to Pouri (the road to the left leads to the Flamourio monastery). In case you decide to go out of your way to visit the monastery, it is good to know that it was founded in 1593, that women visitors are not allowed and that the dirt road does not go as far as the monastery, therefore you will need to park your car at a walking distance of 40 minutes from it. So turning right at the crossroads towards Pouri, we continue east through the heart of the forest towards Kokinogia (8km from Kerassia). We pass Kokinogia on the right and continue east towards Rachi Palavoyanni, then down to the Ovriou seaside, passing the roads leading to various chapels (Prophet Elias, Agios Georgis). This part of the route offers a splendid view to the Agean. Driving along the Ovriou seaside, in about the middle of it, great attention is needed when we go over the Lagonikas stream as there is usually too much water at the end of the winter and in the spring. Leaving the place we go up 5km southeast to Pouri, after crossing the dirt road. The road becomes concrete just before Pouri and is flanked by beautiful chestnuts and apple trees. Pouri was probably named so after the so-called “puria”, the limestone found in the area.
It has been said that “Life is not measured by the breaths you take, but by the moments that take your breath away”. This wonderful route will often take your breath away, since the terrain is particularly rough. Especially after rain it becomes very muddy and makes a lot or work for the road workers. The starting point is of course in the village of Zagora. Passing through apple orchands we move on to Ai Lia (St. Elias) church, then up to Schizopetra and past it on our right. We continue to Psili Petra and then farther south towards Machera. The vegetation here is very dense, with beeches, chestnuts and many streams. The part farther up from Machera is quite dangerous as the route is very steep at places and needs the driver’s close attention. When you arrive at Chania -the last crossroads of the trip- you have two choices: if you head right, the terrain is extremely rough for 350m. (you will need four-wheel motion) and the road will take you to Chania, whereas if you head left, the 2km route is smoother and will take you to a little short of the crossroads for the winter sports center.