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Apano Kastro on Naxos, Tilos, Symi and Rhodes

Naxos – Apano Kastro

Our last day on Naxos we rented a car to go for an extra hike. We read about Apano Kastro in another website and were told it was more amazing hike than Mount Zeus. So we had to check it out.

We picked up the car and drove to the small village Ano Potamia. We parked the car outside a restaurant and a church and walked through the village. We saw later that we could have parked on the other side of the village. It would be closer to the trail.

the car park

The autumn is starting to make the leaves yellow

from green to yellow three, the autumn is here!

And also red. So much nice colours.

Astor is walking, red leaves on the street.

Ano Potamia. You can see the car park in the middle of the photo.

the village where we parked

The sign to Apana Kastro along the main road showed us the direction

the sign to Upper Castle Chalki

And it started pritty steep

Laila is walking up the hill


Astor is walking up the hill

But in a short while the ascend was over and we walked on a dirt and gravel road. This is not a long and difficult hike as you already can see the hill where you will find Apano Kastro. You can not see the castle from this side (maybe with good glases 🙂 )

Astor is walking up the hill

We met some goats on the road. They kept the distance!

We met some goats

Further on you will see this sign and then you can follow the trail along the stone wall.

Astor is walking on the trail

It is already an amazing view

the view from the trail

You will pass the Agios Andreas Byzantine Church in front of the hill

an old church

Google Maps told us that the church was closed, but it wasn`t. The church is from the 12th century.

the interior of the church

Some very old paintings on the wall inside

the interior of the church

I guess something is missing here…

the interior in the church


some pictures in the church

The trail goes around the hill on the left side annd you can also follow the red marks.

red marks along the trail

The view is spectacular!

the view from the trail


marks along the trail

Here we are on the other side of the hill

the view from the trail

Here we found this small church, St. Georges Church. You have to go through the gate.. This church was not open.

Laila is walking along the trail to an old church

At the gate you will also find this sign. So from here you will leave the trail and walk up the hill to Apano Kastro.

a sign to the castle

There is a trail but it is hard to see, so look for rock cairns, they will help you on the way.

we can see the top of the hill

The first ruin on Apano Kastro

some ruins

You can see me on the left side of the hill, I am thinking how I can walk up to the top…

Laila is wondering how she can climb up the hill to Apano Kastro

It is not a hike for everyone, you have to see where you are going, and sometimes you need to use your hands when climbing.

I also got an extra hand from Astor when I needed

the gate to the castle

Its quite rocky up there!

rocky mountain!

But take your time and you will find the way up

a lot of stones and rocks to pass by

And it is really worth it! From Apano Kastro it is an amazing view in all directions

on the top of the hill of Apano Kastro

I got company from a lizard

a lizard

Some beautiful spots on the top

Astor in an arch ruin

There were also some goats on the top.

One white goat on the top

Apano Kastro summit is at 420 masl. It`s not very high, but you will have an amazing view in all directions

two goats on the top of Apano Kastro


three goats on Apano kastro

Apano means “Upper” as this was the upper castle. The lower castle is found in Naxos City/Chora.

a ruin from an old church

The Venetians build this castle in 13th century

the view from Apano Castle


the view from Apano castle


to goats on the top and the view


old ruins


old ruins


old ruins at Apano Kastro


An old church at Apano Kastro


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the view from Apano Kastro

You can also read what Earthtrekkers is writing about the trail to Apano Kastro. They follow the trail back the same way, while we continue around the hill.

As that said, I will follow their recommendations next time. We also check out alltrails about this trail and they wrote it was possible to go around. IT IS NOT!

and old church down the hill

Many rock formations around Apano Kastro

a special rock formation

If you are going back the same way you will not see this rock formations

a special rock formation

Between the rock formations and the Agios Andreas Church you have to climb over three different stone walls. Most of the walls do also have rebar mesh on the top of the walls, so you have to find a place where it is destroid enough to go through/climb over. We took a chance, because if not it could happend that we had to turn around and go back the same way as we came…

agios Andreas Church

From the church we followed the trail back to the car. After we came down from Apano Kastro we drove to Filoti village to eat lunch. It was not much open, but we found Karra`s corner. And guess what?? They had Pita gyros!!

a lot of empty tables outside a restaurant in Filoti

Here is the main square in Filoti

the main square in Filoti

You will see cats everywhere, and we love them!

A cat

Not much people to see

Astor is walking around in the village of Filoti

I liked this guy 🙂

a nice guy


a narrow street with steps in Filoti

After walking through Filoti we went back to Naxos to deliver the car. Had a short walk in the old town looking for bread…

street in Chora Naxos

Last week we hiked the highest mountain on Naxos, check out our last post!

street in Chora Naxos

The next morning we woke up early (that was the plan) and already at 6 o`clock we were ready to leave Naxos. It was a lot of wind, but it came from north and we should sail south so it was okay. Only the part from Naxos town to the canal between Naxos and Paros was bad. After that we had the wind in behind and that is perfect!

the sunrise

It is not very warm that early in the morning, before sunrise.

Laila in the sailboat, wearing extra clothes


Astor is sailing

After we passed the small islands south of Naxos, the waves was growing big.

blue ocean with big waves


Right before the sunset we arrived our goal – Astypalea

Astypalea, Chora

I had a wish to reach the sunset on the top of the hill, but when we started from the boat the sun was already gone from the bay.

the Chora and the castle of Astypalea

It is quite uphill from the bay, but it is easy to follow the road

our sailboat anchored in the bay

Astypalea is one of the villages you will find a lot of photos on Instagram

Chora and the castle in the sunset

Also pictures of the windmills will you find on Instagram. I hoped for better photos here, but the sun was going down…

Chora and the windmills

But we ran through the small, narrow streets, of course with a lot of steps…

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I like the new, but I am also fascinated about the old things, it is more history and soul

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And as you can see, we reached the castle before sunset!

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The castle was founded by Giovanni Querini in 1413. At that time the island had been desolated due to the consecutive pirate raids. The castle was built using local ferrous rocks at the position were the ancient acropolis of the island once stood.

The castle of Astypalea

The church of Saint George

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most of the houses inside the castle collapsed due to an earthquake that struck the island in 1956.

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Right before the sunset

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2000 people lived inside the castle, and it was habitable until the 20th century, but due to the great earthquake of 1956, the last inhabitants abandoned it.

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The castle has only one opening, to the southwest, and the gate is under the church Lady of the castle.

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After sunset we walked around in this beautiful village.

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Can you see the balcony on the wall of the castle?

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I felt like this was a private garden, but I had to take a photo of it – amazing!!

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8 windmills are on the topp of the hill, along white houses and churches. They are build in 18th or 19th century.

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When we walked back to the boat we had the town behind us, but luckily Astor had a necessary errend and I had to wait for him. Then I turned around and saw the full moon hanging over the castle of Astypalea. Amazing!

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Our plan was to reach Rhodes in a couple of days (we checked the weather forcast) and here it is a big distance between the islands so also next morning we had to woke up early. And the best thing that early in the morning, is the sunrise!

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We anchored in Livadi bay, even if it was windy it was very nice to stay there. And I have to tell you; the evening before we were looking after bread and went to one of the small supermarkets here. We couldn`t see anything and I guess we looked a little bit “lost”. A young girl with kids stopped us and asked if she could help us. Then she asked the woman in the shop in greek, and yes! they had bread! So nice to come to theese small places in the low season. I guess the locals are much more open to speak to you.

And do you see the moon on the top of the mountain??

Livadi bay on Astypalea

The sunrise a little bit later, with the chora on the top of the hill

sunrise from the boat

We had a nice downwind sail with 20 knots of wind.


Half way the wind decreased and the gennaker were hoisted.

sailing with the gennaker

Just reached Tilos before sunset.

the sunset


We arrived at Tilos in the evening, and a guy came to the harbour to help us with the lines. He said he had many friends from Sweden. We have been on Tilos before, in 2018. We had this stop because it was necessesary between Naxos and Rhodes.

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Tilos is a small village, and now everything is closed, like other small places. Only some supermarkets and a bakery was open.

Some houses in Tilos

It was no other sailboats in the harbour so we could stay longside.

Felizia in Tilos marina

We needed a bread in the morning so we went ashore to the bakery.

ashore on Tilos

Cozy, quiet place. Of course, it is still early in the morning.

Laila wandering around ashore on Tilos

An amazing bouganvilla outside the bakery.

a bouganvilla outside the bakery

The beautiful church Santa Claus. It was open but we realised we didn`t had time to visit it. Next time!

Santa Claus church


Santa Claus Church  on Tils

Me on a small bridge on the way back to the boat

Laila standing on a small bridge ashore

The marina. Very quiet at this time of the year. A perfect place for a stopover if the wind direction is right.

The marina on Tilos

We sailed further on. In the beginning it was good wind so we had a plan to reach Rhodes. But almost half way the wind dropped, and we decided to go to Symi instead. We have been on Symi also before, in 2018, and the town is one of the most beautiful in Greece.

You can check out my previous blog lailasturblogg if you like to see more photos from the sailing trip in 2018. Unfortunately that blog is in Norwegian.

we are sailing with gennaker


On the westcoast there is a beautiful bay, and it started to get late so we stopped there. An old windmill met us at the inlet to the bay. We thought immediately that could be a nice sunset spot.

and old windwmill at Symi

Sacred Monastery of Saint Archangel Michael the Panormitis

the monastery on Symi

We anchored on the left side of the bay, really beautiful place, clear water and so quiet (until the church started the mess in the morning, with speakers outside)

the bay where we anchored, the monastery and some local small boats

It is a nice path from the monastery, around the bay, to the windmill

an old windmill on Symi

We used the drone to take some photos

an old windmill on Symi

Unfortunately we didn`t get the sunset, the sun went down behind the hill

the sunset from the old windmill where we anchored

But we enjoyed it with a bottle of wine!

Astor and me drinking wine in the sunset

The monastery in the night with all the lights

The monastery in Symi

In the morning we took the dinghy over to the monastery. I hoped that the sun would shine on the monastery, (for better photos) but it was not like that now in the winter.

the clock tower at the monastery in Symi

I think this is the monastery we have visited with most buildings. They have started to renovate a part of it.

The monastery on Symi

It is a mess in the morning so we waited until that was finished before we visited the church.

the interior of the monastery on Symi

It was still some people around so we didn`t took much photos here

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The backyard, outside the church

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The clock tower seen from the other side.

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After visiting the monastery we hoisted the anchor and set sail for Rhodes. It was not much wind but we could use the gennaker for a while

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The eastern part of Rhodes town

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Rhodes town is located on the north end of the island, with beaches all the way around the peninsula

Rhodes town seen from the sea


Rhodes Town seen from the sea

We anchored in Zaphyros beach, 20 minutes walk to the old town. Wednesday and Saturday it is farmers market here, and I love farmers market! A lot of fruits and vegetables, and fresh fish.

Farmers market in Rhodes selling fish

We bought some eggplants for moussaka!

Farmers market in Rhodes selling fruits and vegetables

We had to go first one tour to see what they had, before we started shopping

Farmers market in Rhodes

It is this time of the year – clementines!

Farmers market in Rhodes selling clementines

All of this, and a bit more… So now we have fruits and vegetable for the next week

Fruits and vegetable we bought, tomato, apples, clementines, grapes, peppers, banana, carrot

In the afternoon we went to the old town, it was cruiseship in town so we expected a lot of people. We went through a park on the way and found this cat shelter.

a cat shelter in Rhodes town

A lot of cats wanted som cuddle, but this one was first, and he was so cute. It is so sad we have to leave all this cats… When I google it I found the name Lefteris B&B, there is a guy who feed them and taking care of them.

on of the kitten in the shelter

Astor was popular

Astor with seven kitten from the shelter

We went further on into the old town. We have been here before and we think it is a beautiful town with a lot of history

bouganvilla outside the castle of old town Rhodes

Church of the Virgin Mary of the Burgh

The church of virgin Mary

this late Gothic bulding from the 14th century was badly damaged in World War II bombing. Only the church`s three apses remain standing today.

a part of the church of Virgin Mary

We sat down for an icecream, but pritty soon we realised that the shops were closing. People were on the way back to the cruiseship and the old town get empty. On days without cruiseships everything is closed in the old town.

the old town Rhodes restaurants and shops

We ran through old town to see if we could find something (didn`t)

Shoppingstreet in Rhodes old town

On the way out of the old town someone asked us where we come from. One of them was from Finland (the other one was greek) and she was spoken swedish. She could tell us that on monday everything would be closed in Rhodes town, because of a public holiday. Not in the island, only in the town.

We continue walking out of the old town to check out if something was open in the new town. We found many shops and we had dinner (yup, Pita gyros!) before we took a taxi back to the boat (not far to walk but after sunset the temperature is falling)

Rhodes old town

A beautiful sunrise next morning and we decided to sail south to Lindos

seiling in sunrise

We used the whole day sailing south. We anchored in the St.Pauls Bay, it is totally cheltered for all type of winds. In the evening we took the dinghy ashore and took a walk around the old town. We found 1 restaurant which was open, Arhontiko, and stopped there for dinner. We were the only guests but after a while a group of five people arrived and sat next to us. They came from Australia, Irland, Germany, Austria and Greece, and we had a chat around the tables.

a restaurant in Lindos

Next week we continue our stay at Rhodes and exploring the island with a car. See you!

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