I’ve visited Mount Parnitha countless times before but usually from the Athenian side. This time we decided to take the train to Avlona and walk to the little church of Agia Marina in the more remote part of the mountain. The train to Avlona leaves from the Larissa Station every two hours and the return ticket cost 6.40. It takes about an hour to get to Avlona with a train change in Afidnes.
From Avlona we followed the asphalt road up the hill towards Agia Trianda church. There are signposts along the road for the different churches and monasteries in the area and the path to Agia Marina is marked quite well by red paint. However, I would still recommend to buy the Terrain map of Mt.Parnitha to navigate easily. The views from the road across Avlona and towards the island of Evia bathing in the morning sunshine were amazing.
On the top of the hill there is a goat farm with a weird and slightly disturbing decorations. Think big teddy bears hanging from the trees, doll heads impaled on a fence and all accompanied by a strong smell of the animals. According to the homemade sign at the entrance the place belongs to someone called Dimitris. Quite frankly, I’m very glad we didn’t get the chance to meet the guy.
After a while the asphalt road turned to a dirt road and continued through the meadows and fields covered with flowers even in the middle of January. For me, this was one of the most beautiful and most green parts of the Parnitha mountain range, with wooded hills, river beds lined by trees and lush meadows. There were few other farms along the way protected by very angry-looking Shepard dogs, so watch out.
After passing the church of Profitis Ilias there is a small path going to the right leading to the church of Agia Marina. It’s easy to find and marked well by red paint. The views in to the valley are beautiful and after a while you can see the little church glued to the cliff.
Agia Marina is one of the most beautiful little churches in Attiki partly carved to the rock. The path leads to the top of the cliff from which a narrow stone stairs descends to the balcony of the church. After exploring the two little rooms of the church we sat on the balcony fora a lunch enjoying the views and the surprisingly warm january sun.
To get back to Avlona we climbed up the stairs from the church and took the path going to the left. It descends down to the valley and continues along the riverbed to the dirt road. It passes another Profitis Ilias Church, the Monastery Stoudhiou and joins the asphalt road at the weird farm we passed at the beginning of our hike.