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The area of Limiko at Western Parnitha is a popular destination to multiple hiking trails, combining beautiful scenery with interesting historical sights. This time, we decided to hike to the tower of Limiko from Paliochori while exploring the wooded valleys around Lakka Zireli and Mavrorema and the old shepherds’ settlement at Drasiza.
The trails we followed were not as frequented as those around Flampouri and Mpafi refuges or the canyon of Goura making this hike an exercise in navigation and trail finding. It was not a stroll I would recommend to a beginner hiker but would be perfect for someone looking for a new adventure far away from the crowds (like us!).
Getting to Paliochori from Athens
To get to the beginning of this trail in Paliochori, you’ll need a car. At first, we drove in the direction of Acharnai / Parnitha and later followed signs for the cable car of Mont Parnon casino. We passed the bottom station of the cable car and continued towards the top of the mountain through series of sharp turns with breathtaking views across Athens.
Once at the top, we continued towards Agia Triada, a crossroads with an eponymous church and ruins of the once charming Kyklamina chalet. We turned left here and drove the final couple hundred meters to Paliochori.
Our original plan was to drive all the way to Diaselo Panos but this was not possible, unfortunately. The road is closed at Paliochori so we parked near an abandoned-looking tree nursery and continued on foot. You can see the exact directions from Omonia to Paliochori on Google Maps HERE.
Signposting, maps & difficulty
At almost 20 kilometers, this hike was VERY long but that wasn’t the only challenge! Even though almost the whole length of the trail was marked by red signs, the paint was old and faded and very difficult to spot.
What’s more, some parts of the trail were blocked by thick vegetation and fallen trees, making our progress slow and strenuous. It took us more than seven hours to complete the hike with only one short break at Limiko.
We used our map of Mount Parnitha from Anavasi frequently during this hike to make sure we are on the right path and there were times when we were wishing for a GPS as well. You can see the recording from our hike on Wikiloc HERE.
Paliochori – Diaselo Panos
From Paliochori we followed an old, neglected asphalt road for about one and half kilometers through barren countryside damaged by the devastating forest fires of 2007. To be honest, it didn’t look like the most inviting place for hiking at this point but stick with it, it will get better!
Soon after we passed a spring and a small picnic area called Viliani we spotted a wooden pole with sign pointing to the left towards Diaselo Panos. We left the asphalt road here and followed a faint path running down the rocky slope. It was marked by red paint and took us safely to the bottom of the valley.
We crossed a small stream, the first of many that we encountered during this hike. Most of them are seasonal and may be dry during the warmer months. But in April we were treated to many lovely little creeks running across the trail, especially around Lakka Zireli and Limiko.
Once we crossed the stream we entered a narrow gorge that took us all the way to Diaselo Panos. With its steep, rocky walls covered by nothing but old, dead tree trunks and bright yellow wildflowers, it was both dramatically beautiful and spooky!
Diaselo Panos – Lakka Zireli – Limiko
At Diaselo Panos we crossed a dirt road and started our descend towards Lakka Zireli. This section of the trail was the hardest to find and the foggy weather on the day of our visit didn’t help the situation either. The path was almost nonexistent and our red signs faded and far apart.
Half way through the confusing descend, we started imagining our skeletons being discovered in a couple of years, sitting in the middle of the shrubby slopes still desperately clutching our beaten-up Anavasi map in our bony claws.
Fortunately, after a while the clouds lifted and we managed to get our bearings right. We found our path once again and followed it until Laka Zireli without any complications.
I would like to provide some words of wisdom here about navigating through difficult terrain but the truth is, I have none. Our strategy of trying every goat path we could see paid off this time but it is scary to imagine being in the same situation in some of the wilder mountains of Greece.
At Laka Zireli, our trail disappeared into the forest near a beautiful spot with stream running between mossy boulders and gnarled, ivy-covered trees. For the next 3 kilometers, the path runs mostly horizontally across the forested slopes until the meadows of Limiko.
This section of the trail looked like it has been cleared recently and was much easier to follow. About halfway through, we met another creek with cristal clear water bubbling across the path, possibly even prettier than the last one. And it was spots like this that made all the suffering of this long and tiring hike totally worth it!
At Limiko our path turned into a dirt road winding through the meadows towards a small chapel called Agios Georgios. We passed a charming old stone wall on the left side of the road and shortly after arrived at a crossroad with another path coming from Mola.
We turned left on the crossroad and followed another dirt road climbing to the top of a low hill called Pireza. It took us all the way to the tower of Limiko sitting at an altitude of 814 meters.
The 3.5 meters tall stone tower is well hidden among the trees and we didn’t see it until the last minute. However, the views from the top across the surrounding mountains are breathtaking!
The tower of Limiko was build in the 4th century BC and is a pretty impressive sight, even if small. I didn’t find much information online but you can read at least a little bit about it HERE.
Limiko – Mavrorema – Drasiza
After a short lunch break at the tower, we returned back past the well of Limiko until we spotted a wooden sign pointing to the right towards Drasiza. From here, we followed a narrow path marked by red signs once again.
At first, the trail wandered through waterlogged meadows, giving way to trees, bushes, and small streams. But after we crossed the dry riverbed of Mavrorema and a sign towards Boresi spring pointing to the right, our path turned uphill.
What followed was probably the most challenging part of this hike. The steep, rocky path was blocked by fallen trees in many places and it wasn’t easy to find a way around them while keeping the correct course.
But once we reached a small saddle about halfway through the climb the trail become clearer and our ascent easier. When we finally reached the plateau of Drasiza we lost the markings altogether but navigating across the grassy fields was easy.
At the upper part of the field, we passed few charming ruins of old, stone build shepherds huts and soon after we met a dirt road. We turn left here and followed the road leading towards Diaselo Panos some 2.5 kilometers away.
There are trails running along the road, first on the left side and later on the right, with the beginning marked by a wooden pole. We took the first one as it was a shortcut but ignored the second in order to relive our already overworked legs at least a little bit. From Diaselo Panos, we returned back to our car the same way as we come.
This hike was quite the challenge and we arrived at our car after 7 hours of nonstop hiking completely exhausted. But it was so much fun to explore these rather forgotten trails and to discover beautiful hidden spots along the way!